Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (Non-Bias Review)
Game: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
The Prince of Persia series has been one of my all time favorite story lines since the first release back in 1989, and continues to keep my gaming interest. With the release of The Sands of Time back in November 2003, Ubisoft managed to capture and reinvent the mutli-puzzles and complex strategies that gamers like myself found entertaining, and yet at times frustrating. With this latest installment, The Forgotten Sands is no different.
The story alone is one that will peak your interest, (not giving any of it away due to spoilers), basically because as soon as the opening cut scene ends you’re immediately immersed into combat with a large number of enemies as you search your way through your brother’s war-torn and ravaged kingdom. As to be expected with Prince of Persia, ladders and stairs need not apply and you will find yourself once again wall running and pole swinging your way through what seems to be an endless array of beautifully crafted dungeons that I, myself, would tip my hat to the developers for designing. And of course, who could forget the turning back time when you find yourself making a “misjump”, or running across a wall when you were supposed to run up it. But, as always with old styles comes new additions, and this feature is one that I found both tricky and interesting at the same time.
I’m referring to the “water manipulation” power, which gives you the advantage to freeze flowing water and turning it into either poles to swing on, pillars to climb up or walls to run across when needing to get to new areas. What I found tricky with this new feature was that not only was it timed, but with the way the controls are set up (holding “LT” to activate and “RT” to wall run) I found myself letting go of the wrong button at times of peril (LoL). Thank God for the reversing time feature!
As you go through the game, you will be able to purchase upgrades from defeating enemies (not very challenging as they are plentiful) and gaining experience. Upgrades include increasing your attacking strength, adding more space on your health bar, more power nodes, elemental powers such as Earth, Wind, Fire and Ice to dish out damage to your foes, and increasing how long you can freeze water and how far back you wish to turn back time. The fighting style is not really hack and slash, simply because you will constantly be surrounded by a lot of low level enemies, and will require you to react quickly to avoid damage.
Besides your sword, you can kick or shoulder block foes to knock them off balance and roll dodge to avoid strikes and to get out of large crowds (learn that well my friends). Bosses aren’t too tricky but require careful planning and patience and using the environment around you.
The voice acting in The Forgotten Sands is really believable and is not as over-the-top as you would find with other games. I’m happy to see that Ubisoft managed to get Yuri Lowenthal back to do the voice of the Prince, because I personally couldn’t see anyone else possibly pulling it off and his performance has always been perfect. The brother’s character is voiced well, too. The sound effects are decent enough and the background music does well to add an epic, middle eastern atmospheric to proceedings.
I hope that Ubisoft goes further in this direction with this series and thoroughly washes their hands of the so called “reboot” in the 2008 Prince of Persia, to keep us true fans of the saga buying and testing our wits. Congratulations, Ubisoft, for a well crafted game.