Since the Prince and Malik spend most of the game separated, however, the Prince has to rely on a second ally for help: Razia, the centuries-old queen of the Djinn, whose pocket dimension the Prince stumbles across while seeking refuge from the zombies, and who lends the Prince some of her powers.
By Prince of Persia standards, the story is light, predictable popcorn fare – quick, entertaining and ultimately kind of forgettable. But at least the four major characters – the Prince, Malik, Razia and Ifrit villain Ratash – are well-realized and interesting. Malik, introduced as a masked badass, is surprisingly likable (kind of like an older, tougher version of the Prince, actually), and while Razia starts off detached and cold, she gets pretty endearing by the end. Ratash, meanwhile, just shows up periodically to howl gibberish, but he’s at least fun to fight.
Of course, the real standout is always going to be the Prince, since we spend the most time with him, and actor Yuri Lowenthal – who voiced him in Sands and the underrated threequel Two Thrones – does a good job recreating his old charm, complete with all the introspective, insecure moments when the Prince starts talking to himself during gameplay.
So ultimately, this isn’t a cheap movie game, but it’s what a tie-in game should be: 10-12 polished hours of fast-paced, mildly challenging fun with high production values. It even recaptures some of the charm that made the Sands of Time trilogy great, and its puzzles, while more linear than ever, are also some of the best the series has produced so far.
Oh, but watch out for this glitch. We didn’t run into it while we played, but we don’t want anyone else to, either.
Prince of Persia (2008)? Yes and no. As fun as Forgotten Sands is, it lacks the 2008 PoP’s wild inventiveness, vivid level design and open-world exploration, and ultimately the reboot just feels like a bigger game with more cool things to see and do. On the other hand, if you were pining for more time with the “original” Prince and thought Elika was a poor alternative to time-rewinding powers, Forgotten Sands will be more your speed.
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within? Yes, if only because there’s no Godsmack on the soundtrack. Forgotten Sands might not be everything fans were hoping for, but it’s at least a better, more lighthearted sequel to Sands of Time than this brooding, ridiculous nightmare was.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time? Yes and no. Gameplay-wise, Forgotten Sands is a much tighter, more fluid experience, and the current-gen production values certainly don’t hurt. But the original Sands has a charm that’s extremely difficult to top; this was the game that not only introduced us to the Prince, but that told a surprisingly powerful tale about growing up, taking responsibility and, ultimately, denying yourself the thing you want most because it’s the right thing to do. And while we like seeing more of that Prince, instead of Broody McGrowlerson up there, it’d be a damned impressive sequel that could top the original – and this isn’t it.
Lighter, more focused and ultimately more linear than its predecessors, Forgotten Sands never quite feels like a “real” Prince of Persia game, but its popcorn plot and slickly designed, trap-filled environments make it wildly enjoyable anyway.
May 18, 2010