The final hour gives you a glimpse of what could have been.
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review
Playing this Prince of Persia was one of the most relaxing gaming experiences I’ve ever had. Which is a great thing but at the same time disappointing, this game has moments where it comes close to capturing the great formula of the previous games in the series. However, every time it brushes up against this mark, it seems to run away from it and return to playing a very safe, run of the mill experience.
This is a very different game than the Prince of Persia game released in 2008. This game takes place after the Sands of Time and before Warrior Within, the platforming isn’t as mechanical (only slightly) and combat is very group focused. This would be a significant improvement if the combat system itself wasn’t stripped down so much, you only have a handful of attacks in The Forgotten Sands and the deep combo system that was in the 2008 Prince of Persia is nowhere to be seen. There was an opportunity here to create an extremely fun fighting system and it comes across as almost lazy that the combo system wasn’t included to maximise the larger scale encounters.
The biggest problem this game has are its controls. They are very unresponsive and this becomes annoying when doing lengthy platforming sequences. The time rewinding is taken straight from The Sands of Time and you also get a few new tricks with regards to platforming. You have the ability to freeze water and make older objects reappear at the touch of a button. These are great additions but they’re never used to any great effect. All they really do is act as a “continue game” mechanic, there are sections where you need to use more than one in a platforming sequence. These are easily the best parts of the game, but the game seems afraid to take full advantage of it. Every time you best one of these sections the game returns to just giving you just one obstacle at a time, the platforming is also very linear, there is no room for custom routes and (unfortunately) no opportunities to explore the environments using these abilities.
The Forgotten Sands feels like a next gen upgrade of The Sands of Time, adding high numbers of enemies to encounters and more visually impressive abilities. However, there is an underlying feeling of half effort in every aspect of the game. The controls work, but are very unresponsive, the abilities are creative, but never used passed their mandatory requirements and the platforming feels very sluggish.
Overall, The Forgotten Sands seems afraid to take full advantage of what it has (maybe due to it being rushed out for the film but hey). The platforming and boss battles towards the end of the game really capture the essence of what a Prince of Persia game should be. However, it is impossible to ignore the lackluster design and the abundance of run of the mill sections that you must play though in order to get the final act where the game really picks up. If you’re looking for a better looking version of (but with less substance) the Sands of Time, this game is worth a look. However, if you’re looking for anything more than a brief trip down memory lane, you should probably pass on this entry in the Prince of Persia series.