Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

2:00 PM on 05.19.2010 // Nick Chester

Ubisoft's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time stands as one my favorite games. At the time of its release, the game's re-imagined beauty and control was like nothing we had seen. Go back and play it today and it still holds up, a magical journey with crafty platforming and puzzles that set a new bar for the genre.

In 2008, Ubisoft completely turned the series on its head with a new game in the series, simply called Prince of Persia. With this new approach came a completely new Prince, a remarkable visual style, and a fresh adventure. It wasn't The Sands of Time, and it wasn't what I expected. But I loved it.

Not everyone agrees with me, longing for a return-to-form and a more familiar Prince. The Forgotten Sands is Ubisoft's answer, taking a more classic approach to the series, and returning with the familiar Prince for an all new tale. But does the publisher hit the mark, or is this simply rushed fan-service hoping the cash-in on the buzz surrounding the upcoming Hollywood film?

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed], Windows PC)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Released: May 18th, 2010
MSRP: $59.99

Instead of continuing where it left off with its The Sands of Time trilogy, Ubisoft takes The Forgotten Sands as an opportunity to fill in narrative gaps in the series. Set between the events of the original The Sands of Time and its follow up The Warrior Within, the title finds the Prince traveling to meet with his older brother, Prince Malik. A formidable commander and leader, Malik has taken command of a contested territory on the outskirts of their father's land. When the Prince arrives, he finds that his brother's army is already engaged in a heated, overwhelming battle. With his back to a wall, Malik unleashes the fabled army of King Solomon as a last resort. Thing don't quite go as planned when the army turns on him , leaving the Prince responsible for helping defeat said army.

In many ways The Forgotten Sands feels like an apology for 2008's Prince of a Persia, a "back to the roots" title that borrows heavily from the original The Sands of Time in a number of ways that will most certainly please fans. The first and most welcome return is in the game's pure platforming and movement controls. Ubisoft doesn't play with that original formula much, adopting nearly all of the Prince's skills here, from wall running to swinging on poles to tearing into a banner with a blade for a sound descent. It all feels both familiar and tight, with Ubisoft providing some remarkably calculated and enjoyable environments to hop, jump, and shimmy around.



One of the Prince's familiar powers also returns -- the ability to turn back (but not stop) time. In this chapter the capability doesn't come from a dagger found in The Sands of Time, but from a Djinn who bestows upon the Prince various powers throughout his journey. While the hook in The Sands of Time unsurprisingly revolved round time manipulation, some of the new abilities in The Forgotten Sands actually trump powers in terms of how they affect the title's core gameplay situations.

The "Power of Flow" allows the Prince to solidify water for a short period of time, which leads to some extremely clever platforming and puzzle opportunities. Waterfalls can be turned into walls to run across, or a fountain can be turned into a pole to climb. Another power, the "Power of Memory" allows the Prince to "recall" certain areas in the environment from the past, to use for platforming and puzzles, but only one piece at any given time. Using these powers (sometimes in tandem) and the environment, Ubisoft crafts sensational platform and puzzle situations, some of the best seen in the series to date.

The "back to basics" approach to combat is also taken here, with a one button timing-based system system similar to that found in The Sands of Time. In The Forgotten Sands, the Prince can now use a kick to push back (or knock over) enemies and create some breathing room to launch into larger combos, taking out sizable crowds of enemies. Combined with acrobatic attacks and context sensitive "finishing moves" (an enemy gets toss off a ledge, or pummeled against a wall), the game's fighting system is relatively uncomplicated yet gratifying. A host of other offensive and defensive powers, like the Whirlwind attack and the Stone Armor, can be thrown into the mix to spice things up a bit, as well.



For all of the key gameplay mechanics that are nailed, unfortunately The Forgotten Sands is visually uneven. I'm not talking from a technical standpoint, as the game's engine is more than competent, particularly apparent when looking at some of the title’s striking lighting effects. And some of the game's environments are staggeringly designed and realized; the game's closing action sequence, for instance, looks as magnificent as it plays. On the other hand, the same thing can't be said about the titular Prince. The design of the young warrior may be the most offensive thing in the game -- on the unsettling-face spectrum, the character falls somewhere between a Neanderthal and a Cabbage Patch Kid.

The Forgotten Sands also falls short in the narrative department, the main problem being that it's not particularly notable. Whereas The Sands of Time had you chasing around a mysterious female (and later, interacting with her and building a memorable relationship), The Forgotten Sands has you running around after your older brother to clean us his mess. The whole thing feels a bit empty, more of a "going through the motions" tale that lacks the character and sense of wonder found in the original trilogy.

Even with those flaws in mind, The Forgotten Sands is a solid action-platforming title that comes rather close to re-capturing the feel of 2003’s The Sands of Time. While it misses the mark of nailing the same sense of magic and wonder of the original trilogy, fans who had missed this style and approach in 2008's Prince of Persia offering should welcome this new-yet-familiar adventure with open arms.

Score: 8.5 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

[Note: My experience with The Forgotten Sands was almost entirely free of noticeable bugs or glitches, with one exception that I'd be remiss in ignoring. The title features an auto-save system with one game save per profile; there's no way to manually save your progress. Late in the game, I had missed a jump and fallen to my death... at which point the game decided to auto-save. When the game re-loaded, I found myself caught in an earlier area, and the game wouldn't trigger doors I would need to progress. I was trapped.

Unfortunately, this happened late in the game and I had feared all of my progress was lost. Not quite the case -- I discovered that The Forgotten Sands makes a "back up auto-save" that can only be accessed if your primary save is corrupt or deleted. Once deleted, the game successfully loaded the back-up, which only found me losing a few hours of progress. 

I mention this to fully disclose my experience, but note that I feel it was an isolated incident that I couldn't repeat had I tried.]



Nick Chester, Former Editor-in-Chief (2011)
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
Editor-in-Chief @ Destructoid.com nick at destructoid.com  more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I'm still playing Tearaway Unfolded - 75% of the way to 100%. I'm gonna platnium this sucka and get my first platnium since Sly 2 back in 2012. I wrote a whole cBlog about platnium trophies and stuff a while back. 2 lazy to link it tho
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I've reluctantly sauntered back to Hyperdimensia Neptunia: Rebirth 2 after a lengthy hiatus. I'm really not feeling Broccoli nor Red. Maybe Red a little more since she's a waifu protector.
Virtua Kazama avatarVirtua Kazama
What? We aren't gonna see KaneBlueRiver vs. Filipino Champ in a First to 15 for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 at Winter Brawl X? KBR ducking Champ? Say it ain't so!
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
I can't choose simply one waifu for myself, so I've been obsessed with looking up netorare hentai. That way, I know every trick to steal all of your waifus away and keep them all to myself. It's the perfect plan! The only problem: I only have one dick. :(
Parismio avatarParismio
Aw shit, just 100 left to go til the big 9!
lewness avatarlewness
I am so late for the party. Where the hell do I get Fire Emblem Fates Special Edition
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
There you go, my season 2 vehicle. You happy Mr. Destructoid?
siddartha85 avatarsiddartha85
Just started Gravity Rush. I'm finally playing this.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Well friends, its almost time for my blog to exit the large intestine of page one into the cold, dark bowl of page two, to be flushed and forgotten. Why not throw a fap on there to ease the journey, and give it one last look before its gone?
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
Do not believe Chris' lies. Cyber Sleuth is nothing like Persona. It's all lies, I tell you!
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
They put season 2 of Young Justice on Netflix finally. Apparently, if lots of people watch it they'll consider a 3rd season. So do it now! [url]http://comicbook.com/2016/02/03/greg-weisman-teases-hope-for-young-justice-season-3/[/url]
bigboss0110 avatarbigboss0110
I heard from a little birdie that a store near my house will be getting Street Fighter V a day early. Will I get banned from PSN if I play it online that day?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
I try to hold myself to just one waifu, but games like Persona 4 and Overwatch make it so very hard.
Parismio avatarParismio
Woot! I hit 8888 comments!
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
FEAR and Resident Evil 4 were great action/horror games. It's a shame that nowadays such ideas either go one way or another. I would like to see a resurgence of that style where it's a scary/tense experience but the player has power and control.
ThrillDyl avatarThrillDyl
Hey, Dyltheman here, just telling that it is just me who changed their username. That is all, go about your day.
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
I just got into a beta (the email didn't mention NDA) for a moba on xbox one. I know what I'm doing tonight.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I just took the Pewdiepie Undertale Playthrough Challenge - I managed to get through 2mins 29sec before getting a migraine and escaping the page. Where is my trophy or Vicodin reward oddammit???
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
[img]http://i.imgur.com/5Yz281M.gif[/img]
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Also I can't even see the comments anymore, anyone else having this issue...not that I will be able to see...I'M LOCKED INSIDE A BOX OF MY OWN THOUGHTS WITH NO ROCKET LEAGUE!
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -