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Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands super review

AT A GLANCE
  • Combat is hugely improved
  • Traps and puzzles are a blast to run through
  • Interesting, endearing cast of characters
  • Too linear to allow much exploration
  • Boss fights are fun, but too simple
  • Ultimately too shallow to be a "real" Prince of Persia

The zombies will continually try to surround you (which, to be fair, puts them all within easy button-mash striking distance), but in addition to slashing away wildly at them, you can jump onto their shoulders and hop across them to safety, or just roll out of their way. It’s not quite God of War, but it’s surprisingly fun for a series in which combat was too often a chore.

Zombie grunts aren’t your only enemies, either; as you progress through the game, you’ll run afoul of shield-bearing creatures (who have to be stunned with a kick before you slash them), sand wizards who can summon more zombies until you kill them, beefier zombies (who we’re going to guess are called “brutes”) and huge, charging behemoths that can only be hurt by charged power slashes after they’ve crashed headfirst into walls.


Above: Or, failing that, into each other 

Every once in a while, you’ll even face down against some super-tough giant with a big sword and an arsenal of knockdown moves. While these fights are visually impressive, winning them rarely takes more than knowing when to roll away, and when to persistently hack at their ankles until they drop to their knees, stunned, and leave themselves open for a finishing aerial slash.


Above: Even main villain Ratash is kind of a pushover – until he starts throwing knockdown fireballs while you’re trying to climb, that is 

Part of what makes combat enjoyable is that, as you earn experience, you’ll be able to unlock and improve magic-based moves that enable the Prince to blast out waves of ice, leave a fiery trail that burns anything that touches it, summon a set of stone armor when his health gets low and – most useful of all – slam the ground to create a whirlwind that knocks enemies down at first, but eventually gets powerful enough to just disintegrate them.


Above: Wheee! 

Combat powers aren’t the only special abilities the Prince has up his sleeve; as the game unfolds, he’ll also unlock the ability to temporarily freeze jets of water, turning them into poles he can climb or horizontal bars he can swing from. Here’s a look at how it works (along with a quick demonstration of powered-up combat):

Later in the game, the Prince will also be able to air-dash at distant enemies to reach the platforms they’re standing on, and late in the game will even have to “recall” missing chunks of ruins (which appear as shiny outlines) so that he can use them to get where he’s going. The game’s absolute best puzzles force you to use all these abilities in rapid succession, something that – again, when you pull it off just right – looks amazing.


Oh right, the story

Story and character have always been vital parts of the Prince of Persia series, so we should probably take this opportunity to say why the Prince gets all these cool powers, and why he’s fighting sand zombies again. An interquel set between the events of Sands of Time and its maligned sequel, Warrior Within, Forgotten Sands begins with the Prince traveling to see his older brother, Malik, only to find that Malik and his palace are being invaded by some unidentified army.


Above: Not much of a family resemblance, really

To fend off the invaders, Malik awakens the ancient Army of Solomon sealed away beneath the fortress, which turns out to be a cursed, disease-like plague of zombies that multiply whenever they touch sand. The Prince and Malik – protected by a magical pair of amulets – then have to work to contain and ultimately destroy the menace.

More Info

Release date: May 18 2010 - Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP
Jun 01 2010 - PC (US)
May 21 2010 - Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP
Jun 01 2010 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, PC
Genre: Adventure
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Quebec City
Franchise: Prince of Persia
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Violence
PEGI Rating:
16+

32 comments

  • kazime - June 27, 2010 10:27 p.m.

    @TomMishkin Btw, Godsmack was only at the intro and the credits. All the other music belongs to Stuart Chatwood who in my opinion did an amazing job, fitting music for the dark atmosphere of the game. But of course not everyone can and should like that kind of music and gamestyle. But I think it was very fitting with the PoP. After all, as much as the series is built on puzzles, the fight is there from the very first game (2D times, not 3D and yes there is at least 1 game in 3d before SoT named Prince of Persia 3d if I'm not mistaken, there may be one another game also though I'm not sure). And the fight at the first game was really hard.
  • kazime - June 27, 2010 10:17 p.m.

    That "is it better than" section is completely... wrong. First thing is that 2008 PoP was a terrible and terrible and terrible game. Yeah you could roam a bit in the maps for a minute or so, but so what ? The gameplay was too linear, the fights were based on the same 1 combo, and except the bosses there almost weren't any fights at all... 2nd, Warrior Within was imho the best of the series. The free-fight system was awesome, we were really free with many possibilities and especially dual-wielding, the fights weren't as tough as the first game (especially where you fight your father in PoP-SoT) the music was awesome, and I'm not talking about Godsmack's two songs of course, the wonderful ingame musics that I still listen, and will listen even when more years pass. But the best part of the game was its dark-atmosphere and story. You can't even compare the last 2 games ('08 & '10) to Warrior Within. I agree on the beauty of the Sands of Time though. Although a bit difficult, that game was also very good.
  • Xerxes667 - May 31, 2010 4:38 a.m.

    oh and the re-design of 'The Prince' looks like something I scraped ff the bottom of my shoe yesterday, and i live in Egypt, so you can imagine how gross that might have been.
  • Xerxes667 - May 31, 2010 4:36 a.m.

    seriuosly with franchises like Assassins Creed and UNcharted out nowadays who really needs more PoP? these games take the core gamepley of PoP and refine it so it actually works. Its better to get a game tat does something right rather than a game that does everything poorly.
  • volrath46656 - May 27, 2010 5:50 p.m.

    I'm also rather frustrated by the amount of criticism Warrior Within continuously receives. It's treated like a garbage sequel when it actually sticks out in my mind as one of the better games I've played over the last decade. Get your heads out of your asses, and find an actual bad game to criticize.
  • IcarusLeonardo - May 23, 2010 9:52 p.m.

    Seems like its gonna be a long long time till a "real" Prince Of Persia comes along.
  • Ravenbom - May 21, 2010 3:39 a.m.

    I was laughing so hard that I was actually crying when I saw that Venn diagram.
  • bonerachieved - May 20, 2010 1:39 p.m.

    Did not expect this to get that high of a score.
  • zer0hvk - May 20, 2010 11:55 a.m.

    nice review, I'd love to give tat game a try, might rent it later on. And yeah, I agree with everyone else, wtf's up with his face??
  • CombatWombat101 - May 20, 2010 6:06 a.m.

    Oh and also I agree with the Warrior Within hatred. Sure, it had pretty good combat for a PoP game, but that emo douche was so damn hard to put up with. Sure, you might get cranky if a demon is chasing you for an extended period of time... you might also get cranky if you inadvertently lay waste to your entire kingdom, but he managed to stay pretty chipper through SoT, no?
  • CombatWombat101 - May 20, 2010 6:03 a.m.

    @ TomMishkin: Just throwing it out there... PoP went 3D long before Sands of Time. Anyway, as far as this game goes, Christ the Prince looks ugly as balls. Aside from that, I'll probably rent it when I'm done with Alan Wake and RDR; as much as I love PoP, this just doesn't look like it warrants a full-price purchase.
  • gamingfreak - May 19, 2010 10:52 p.m.

    Why do you guys at GR hate PoP:WW so much? The music always got me pumped and excited to fight and you would be cranky too if you were being chased by a monster for seven years. Anyways, I will defintly play this game since the SoT games are some of my favorite games. P.S. Did the Prince get hit by an ugly bus or somethin'?
  • tigvoo - May 19, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    Wow, those graphics are amazing. I really need to upgrade my x486 Windows 3.11 system! www.web-anonymity.cz.tc
  • TomMishkin - May 19, 2010 1:41 p.m.

    I just don't get what the problem with Warrior Within was. OK, so the Prince was a bit of a douche and we were forced to listen to Godsmack all the time, but the gameplay was on par with The Two Thrones (best PoP game since it went 3D with Sand of Time, IMO), the setting was great and oozed with atmosphere and charm, the puzzles were the most challenging in any PoP game I'd say, the Dahaka bits were loads of fun and also the Dark Prince b*llsh*t was funny as hell. And I had a great time just traversing the gothic-castle-thingy the game was set in, just for the sake of exploring it. Stop the madness, re-play Warrior Within and find out what a great game it was!
  • philipshaw - May 19, 2010 11:34 a.m.

    Looks okay but RDR is out
  • joabbuac - May 19, 2010 10:50 a.m.

    This one came by surprise didnt think it was coming out so soon. Did not expect it to succeed either
  • crumbdunky - May 19, 2010 10:25 a.m.

    @theSuburbiaRuins-mate, the combat is what it is. When did ANYONE buy ANY PoP game for the fighting in any case? Last time out I DREADED the dull combat and , at least, this time you look to have a little control but, like with games like Yakuza, I'm guessing there's possibly a little bit of a case of "the more you put in.." with this one. Sure, it's never going to be DMC3, GOW or Bayonetta in the fisticuffs stakes but you get a few options to mess about with and that should mean you can make it fun if you want. Adapt to the pace of it(though last time out being faster while blocking REALLY pissed me off!)and you should be able to put up with the fights rather than seeing them as a drag to be slogged through. Just try to do it all with a little style to entertain yo'self! Oh, BTW, I was also shocked that Mikel didn't point out the fact it looks abut on a par with GOW2 visually(PS2 version) and below it's HD makeover! Seriously, Ubi, and ugly PoP game? What are you thinking? Whatever, looks like the perfect rental friom where I'm sat-as a series fan it irks me to say that but rarely has a game seemed more l.ike gfreat fun to play through once but nowhere near demanding enough to live with.
  • speno93 - May 19, 2010 8:11 a.m.

    good review butr it feels like a 9 review and i think that's what the game should'vw got.
  • TheSuburbiaRuins - May 19, 2010 5:40 a.m.

    The combat is atrocious, all you do is press attack, attack, kick, roll, repeat.

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