I don’t know what it is about the Prince of Persia series. I think I’ve always liked them more as a concept and via watching the cool trailers than actually playing. Eventually, all the wall running and jumping along with the bad camera angles gets a bit tiring after awhile. The Sands of Time remain the high watermark of the series, last year’s game was just ridiculous, they took away most of the combat and you every time you missed a jump your partner was there to save you. That I didn’t mind as much because I hate starting over a lot.
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands takes the game back to its roots, the combat has returned and you actually have to make all your jumps now. The story takes places sometime after the Sands of Time but before last year’s game. It’s an odd duck, because it’s not a tie in to the movie, just timed to release along side it, but there are some elements early on, like adding a back story to the Prince and the inclusion of his brother into the story. His brother foolishly unleashes an Army whose goal is to topple their Kingdom and rule the world.
The Prince is armed with his trademark wall running and jumping, his trusty sword and this time around he gets magic powers like the ability to control water by freezing enemies and creating objects out of ice to help him traverse the environment. I’m about 5 hours into the game and am enjoying my playtime but it is getting to be a bit of a slog and it drags in some spots. The other problem is the camera isn’t as locked down as I would like and controlling it manually with my right analogue stick makes me dizzy so I have to stop playing for awhile.
The combat works well, but I haven’t quite figured out how to do moves so that they are fluid and chained together and there’s no blocking so you have to do some nifty fighting to get out from swarms of enemies and you can rewind time. There is an experience system so as you go through the game you can upgrade your powers, fighting abilities and weapons. I’m not a big fan of this because I end up spending all my time trying to figure out the best combination and upgrades and it usually ends up not being worth the effort when just dodging, kicking and slicing got me out of most situations. The voice acting and dialogue is atrocious.
UbiSoft has added some game play elements that I’ve been advocating more games have – if you reach a difficult spot you have the option of lowering your difficulty – the problem is, once you do, the game won’t let you raise it back. It also let’s you skip the cut scenes. A nice touch is I can actually play the game on my PSP. They have this weird online beta mode called Uplay that grants you access to special DLC, but as of this writing I didn’t see anything and the it’s a horribly designed interface that doesn’t really tell the user what they are getting for taking the time to register.
Sometimes in order to move forward you have to take a step back and reassess what worked and what didn’t. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands does a good job at this and is a worthy backward step for the franchise. The game is from UbiSoft and available on PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii.
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Originally posted 06.20.2010