Saturday, 4 February 2012

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

   Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is a multi-platform video game produced by Ubisoft which was released on May 18, 2010, in North America and on May 20 in Europe.The games mark a return to the storyline started by Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is the title of four separate games with different storylines. The main game was developed for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows, while the other three are exclusive for the PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, and Wii.

   The PSP and Wii versions were developed by Ubisoft Quebec; the PS3, Xbox 360 and Windows versions were handled by Ubisoft Montreal with the help of Ubisoft Singapore; and the Nintendo DS version was made at Casablanca.

   The Forgotten Sands returns to the storyline established by Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and concluded by Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.On December 14, 2009, Ubisoft UK released the first details of the story on their official video portal.The game is an interquel, taking place in the seven year gap between Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. The Prince character is supposed to be a cross between the character models in these two games. He is again voiced by Yuri Lowenthal.


   Forgotten Sands is available on all major gaming platforms and is to "feature many of the fan-favorite elements from the original series as well as new gameplay innovations", according to a press release from Ubisoft. The DS, PSP and Wii versions are developed separately and will feature different gameplay than the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows versions.With Ubisoft's feature Uplay, players may unlock Ezio, the main character from Assassin's Creed II.

   In the PS3/Xbox 360/PC game, throughout the game the Prince learns new powers. The biggest new feature is the addition of elemental powers, which bring a new dimension to the core gameplay, because of the way these powers interact with each other and the Prince's other abilities. There are four core powers in the game: Fire, Ice, Wind and Earth. Each of them translates to a different power during combat, such as the ability to "solidify" water fountains and turn them into climbable columns.Besides these core powers, there are also minor powers, that can be purchased to enhance the Prince's abilities from Razia.These minor powers include a shield and the power to summon small tornadoes.The combat in the game is similar to combat mechanics found in The Sands of Time. The Prince will be able to fight multiple enemies in one battle, up to 50 at once.An important part of the combat is "crowd control" and evading enemies, as well as combos.There is no blocking and quick time events are used only to finish bosses in the game.


   The plot of main game, developed for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC, begins as the Prince is riding through a desert on his horse, on a quest to see his brother, Malik, and learn about leadership from him. When the Prince arrives at Malik's kingdom, he finds it under attack by an army who he proposes wants a treasure buried deep within. The Prince infiltrates Malik's kingdom, and meets up with Malik in the treasure vaults.

   Here, Malik proposes that he is fighting a losing battle, and needs to rely on a last resort or be forced to retreat. The Prince strongly objects, but Malik refuses to listen to him, and, releases Solomon's Army using a magical seal. Solomon's Army is an assortment of different creatures, all made of sand, supposedly enough to outnumber the grains of sand in the desert. The Prince and Malik both manage to obtain halves of the seal which was used to unleash the army, protecting them from being turned into sand statues, which was the fate of the rest of the kingdom. The seals also allow them to absorb the power of the enemies they defeat.

   Malik is separated from the Prince, who finds a portal to the domain of Razia, a Djinn. Razia tells the Prince that the Solomon's army was not Solomon's, but was an army sent to kill him. She tells him the only way to re-imprison Solomon's Army is to reunite both halves of the seal used to bind them. Razia gives the Prince special powers, and has him set out to find Malik, and the other half of the seal. When the Prince finds Malik, he isn't interested in stopping the Army of Solomon, but instead wants to destroy it and use its power to become a more powerful leader. The Prince finds Razia again, and asks her about this, and she proposes it's an effect of absorbing too much of the power of Solomon's Army, and that the power she gave the Prince offered him protection from this effect.

   The Prince again sets out to find Malik, this time to forcibly take his half of the seal, but Malik is stronger and manages to escape. Pursuing Malik again, the Prince finds Ratash, the leader of Solomon's Army, pursuing anyone in possession of the seal. After the Prince outruns him, he concludes Ratash must now be chasing Malik, and so sets out to aid him. The Prince arrives in the throne room to find Malik and Ratash fighting, and he aids Malik. The Prince and Malik seem to kill Ratash, and Malik absorbs his power, shattering his half of the seal. Malik then runs off, seemingly in a hysterical fit, using some of Ratash's powers to escape.

   The Prince pursues him, and again finds Razia instead. Razia explains that Ratash cannot be killed by any ordinary sword, and that what actually happened was quite different than what the Prince saw. Ratash has actually killed Malik, and possessed his body. The Prince doesn't believe this, and sets out to find the Djinn Sword, which Razia says can kill Ratash.

   Along the way, the Prince chases Ratash, witnessing Ratash gaining so much power back, that he can mutate Malik's body back to his original form. The Prince loses a battle to Ratash, and the Prince is convinced that his brother is in fact dead now. Then when he meets Razia once again, he starts questioning her intentions and asks her why she cares for Malik's kingdom and why she did not kill Ratash herself. Razia says she has "a part to play". She, then, eventually reveals that she was once one of the four leaders of Djinns and did not leave the city as the other Djinns had because she promised to King Solomon she would take care of the his kingdom to the best of her ability. When Prince finds the Djinn Sword, he takes it to Razia, who holds it in her hand and disappears into it. When the startled Prince calls out her name, she speaks to him from the sword and explains that to kill a Djinn the magic of an other Djinn is reqiured and this is her "part to play". Then Prince asks her what will happen to her after killing Ratash with the sword, she answers, "We will see". With this sword, the Prince again sets out to find Ratash. When he does, Ratash is now gigantic, literally fed by the sandstorm which has come over the palace.

   Despite this, the Prince uses the sword to kill Ratash, and when the sandstorm and battle both subside, he finds Malik laying next to him, dying. Malik says to tell their father that Prince will be a mighty leader, then dies. There are also shots in the game, showing that the people, who were turned into sand, are reverted back into their normal selves. The Prince then sets out to inform his father of Malik's death.

   In a post-credits narration, the Prince finds the Djinn sword and calls Razia's name but to no answer, so he decides to return the sword to where he found it, so to lay Razia to rest and as he could no longer bear to hold the sword, and then with Malik's kingdom under Malik's advisors' rule, the Prince leaves to inform his father of his brother's death.

IMDb: Rates this game with a 7.7/10.0.
According to IGN: "I've been a fan of the Prince of Persia franchise ever since 2003's The Sands of Time. The combination of acrobatics and combat-- along with the sweeping environments -- made the Prince of Persia franchise one of my favorites from the last generation. And despite Ubisoft beating the franchise into the ground by releasing sequel after sequel each year, I still bought and played them all -- though I recognized that the Prince was starting to feel more than a little tired.", rated "Great" with an overall score of 8.0/10.0 and ranked #564 out of 16772 PC rated games.

IGN Ratings for Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PC):

  • 7.5 "Presentation"
Not the most polished PoP game to date, but the voice acting is still as good as ever.
  • 7 "Graphics"
The graphics are all over the place, looking great at times and awful at others. Ubisoft can make great looking games, so what happened here?
  • 8.0 "Sound"
The music is cool when it's around, and the original Prince voice actor is great.
  • 8.0 "Gameplay"
The platforming is as fun as ever, and the combat really comes into its own by the end of the game.
  • 7 "Lasting Appeal"
The game doesn't take that long to complete, and even with the Challenge mode I can't see people finding much reason to play it again.


   But the 2008 Prince of Persia -- a reimagining of the franchise that took away almost all the player's ability to fail -- showed that the Prince needed more than just a few tweaks and a short break to be exciting all over again. While some people enjoyed the ultra-forgiving, you-can't-lose aspect of the 2008 PoP, I felt like the game had brought this aspect in at the expense of the sense of accomplishment the previous games evoked. The Prince's adventures need to be beatable, sure, but player's don't need to have their hand held all the way.

   Which is why I think I enjoyed the latest game, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, as much as I did. While much more than a simple rehash of previous PoP mechanics, Forgotten Sands manages to find a fine balance between reward and punishment. Combine this with some awesome new mechanics and a combat system that really comes into its own by the end of the game, and it's easy to recommend despite the boring story and rather unpolished feel of the game's visuals.

   The platforming is immediately gratifying, but the combat takes some time to become a worthwhile part of the game. The earliest enemies are really boring to fight, and combating them amounts to little more than button mashing. Later, though, when I had a series of powers and a good mix of enemies to fight, combat became an entirely different beast.

   Much like a host of other games before it, Forgotten Sands has an experience system. Killing enemies yields experience which is then spent on a skill tree. Through the course of the game the Prince will get such powers as temporary invincibility, an area of effect knock down, or even the ability to leave a trail of fire in his wake. These powers use up the same resource as your ability to rewind time, and thus the choice to use them in combat becomes a much bigger deal towards the end of the game when I was screwing up a lot. The biggest thing about the powers, though, is that they're really fun to mix in with your normal attacks -- so much so that they make combat interesting enough to actually make me want to play the game's challenge modes, wherein you fight waves of enemies in a set amount of time.

   Forgotten Sands is much better than the 2008 Prince of Persia, but still not as great as Sands of Time – the game it so obviously seeks to recapture the spirit of. The story and visuals are unimpressive, but the combat and platforming are good enough that anyone who's been longing for another PoP game since 2005's Two Thrones is in for a treat.

Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Action
Release Date:
Europe: May 28, 2010
MSRP: GBP £27.99
Also Available On: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable
Also known as: Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands

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