Alex reviews Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Post by Alex Lamoureux in

1 comment

Alex's review applies to the Xbox 360, PS3, and Windows version

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands has many surprising moments. Within the first hour, the Prince dodges hails of arrows, climbs walls, rolls under falling doors like Indiana Jones, and frequently ignores the player controlling him to leap into pits. When the controls are working properly, The Forgotten Sands is an excellent game. When the controls malfunction, as they frequently do, it’s a frustrating experience.

These highs and lows go hand-in-hand with the game’s linear nature. Whenever the Prince does something impressive, it’s usually because that happens to be the only path to the next area. Attempting to go off the beaten path is strictly punished; sometimes, an easier solution to a jumping puzzle is evident, but the Prince refuses to make those jumps. If it is possible to make a jump across a pit, the controls cause the Prince to leap to his death instead.

The jumping puzzles incorporate some new ideas, and many clichés that went out of style in 1995. Worse, the level design gives the impression that the game was designed in 2 dimensions, and reluctantly given 3. Most of the levels would have worked as straight lines, but occasionally make 90-degree turns. At these turns, the bad controls are more hazardous than enemies. This detracts significantly from the platforming, though other elements of gameplay work well.

When engaged in swordfights, the controls finally give the player freedom. Fighting mobs of enemies, or large individuals, allows the player to choose their own tactics and methods of dealing with the battle. There are several different attacks to use, combos, and there’s usually the option of walking away from the battle. Other battles, however, give the same impression of an overly linear game. Many areas lock the Prince in a room with a certain number of foes, and move the plot forward the moment the last monster falls. Even so, the freedom of a battle is relieving after the restricted platforming segments.

The puzzles are also restrictive, but this feels more natural than linear navigation. Many puzzles have multiple solutions, and they feel satisfying and logical when solved. However, there is a problem with padded puzzle length. Some puzzles are literally symmetrical, and the player must perform the same task twice in order to open a single door. This serves to pad the very short length of the game – a new player could complete the game in 10 hours, and there isn’t much reason to play through the game again. There is a challenge mode, but it consists of nothing but fighting 8 waves of enemies. As the game is very linear, there is little reason to replay it. Interested consumers are advised to rent this game rather than purchasing it.

Despite its flaws, The Forgotten Sands feels like a good game hidden under a pile of bad controls. After learning to handle the bad controls, the game becomes a great deal more fun. Unfortunately, becoming accustomed to the controls will take the first half of this short game to sort out. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands has many fine moments, but reaching these moments requires more effort than it ought to.

Rating: 6.5/10

The Good:

  • Impressive action gameplay
  • Well-designed puzzles
  • Amazing final boss fight

The Bad:

  • Cliché-filled gameplay
  • Frustrating control problems
  • Camera control issues
  • Short length

- post by Alex Lamoureux

1 Comment

Being a fan of the original Prince of Persia I'm interested... I think I will take up your advice and rent this one.

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