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)
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.
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.]
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