Synyster Graves

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

by on Jul.11, 2012, under Xbox 360

Prince of Persia was never really a series I got into back on the 16-bit consoles. Sure it was a huge title but I never really got hooked on it, even after playing it on a friend’s console. Fast forward many years later to 2003 and when I had to re-purchase a PS2 as the disk drive broke on my original one, the new slimline PS2 came with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. This was a fantastic game, and had me hooked from start to finish. I saw this version of Prince of Persia pop up on Games on Demand for £4, and didn’t think I had anything to lose.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is a third person action game set after the events of Sands of Time. It begins with The Prince visiting his brother Malik to learn about leadership only to find his brother’s kingdom under attack from an opposing army. Malik retreats to the inner sanctums of the Palace to use a mystic seal to unleash King Solomon’s mythical army to fend off the attack. Despite the attempts from the Prince to dissuade his brother, Malik unleashes the hordes of the army which go on a killing rampage, turning everyone except Malik and the Prince to stone, as they are protected by the halves of the seal which they each possess. The Prince then meets a Djinn called Razia, who tells him to unite the seal to trap the army before they spread across the desert and destroy humanity.

As with all Prince of Persia games, wall running is an essential

As you would expect from a Prince of Persia game, there is a lot of free running and acrobatics, of which to its credit, is very good. The layout of the levels is excellent and well thought out and the objective ledge at the end of each massive room is very satisfying once you’ve reached it. The actual traversal of movement across the room does require some thought, as it is a combination of vertical and horizontal wall runs, vaults and grabbing onto ledges which at first don’t seem stable enough. This can also provide a certain level of annoyance because most of the time it’s really NOT OBVIOUS what you’re supposed to do. Coupled with the various abilities you acquire throughout the story mode just as solidifying water, or rebuilding solid ledges from a memory, there’s all these insane passages to get through while remembering to activate the memory AND water augments, and you will require you main ability, which is rewinding back time. This is one of the most useful perks I think I’ve played with the exception of bullet time, because when you screw up, and unless you’re some kind of gaming god you will, rewinding back your mistakes is the most useful perk I’ve seen since bullet time. Added to the fact that if you go for a ledge, the Prince will actually make a concerted attempt to grab the ledge, not faceplant and slide down like Lara Croft.

Sand skeletons aren’t too much trouble on their own, but in large groups they can cause a problem

The combat however strips this away from you. Your time rewinding skill is displayed on the HUD as blue orbs, which are also consumed by the skills . The skills are good, but really are only effective once you have killed enough enemies to get the XP to spend on it. So not only does this game have the free running and combat like Assassin’s Creed, it also has you levelling up skills like an RPG, except the enemies don’t constantly spawn, you can’t farm areas just to get decent skills. You can kick, slash with your falchion and jump on enemies so you walk on their heads. You also get the annoying enemies which have shields, so you can only hurt them once you’ve kicked them to make them lower their shields. Enemies will attack you en mass and you have to use your skills to fight them off, usually with a large Goliath boss monster in the middle, yet throughout the game, this never killed me. It’s the traps which kill me every time.

Ah. He’s a bit big…

Oh yes the traps. They’re everywhere, and they’re merciless, and worst of all, ridiculous. You have spinning saw blades, swinging axes, spiked logs and needles coming out floors. Add to that enemies throwing fireballs and you need a degree in geometry just to work out where the hell you have to go! The hazards are silly though, I mean you wouldn’t get a series of moving saw blades halfway up a wall now would you? I appreciate it gives you a challenge, but the traps are complete overkill in this game.

So in summation, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands proves to be a good challenge of a game transpires into fluid and fulfilling combat, but the puzzling traversal of insanely large rooms filled with ridiculously over the top traps isn’t even enough to dampen the spirits of a well designed and throughout game which lets you rewind time every time you make a stupid error. Some people may accuse it of being a bit of a palette swap with Assassin’s Creed, but for me this game is a good play in it’s own right. Considering you can download this for £4 off Games on Demand, this is a pretty good game to sink your teeth into.

 

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