PS3 Reviews: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review

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Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review

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Graphics:

 

7.4

Gameplay:

 

8.1

Sound:

 

7.7

Control:

 

7.9

Replay Value:

 

7.0

Overall Rating:       7.8

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Ubisoft

Developer:

Ubisoft Montreal

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Action

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was one of my favorite games from the previous generation, and got me very much hooked on the franchise. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Warrior Within but The Two Thrones was a return to total greatness and the first PS3 iteration, Prince of Persia, represented a departure from the norm…but a damn good departure. Now, Ubisoft returns to the Sands of Time format with this sequel and any fan of the series will immediately recognize the style, presentation and gameplay. But in fact, it’s so much like Sands of Time, it actually feels a little dated. There are a few small technical glitches and overall, the game is plenty entertaining, but that’s not the overriding issue. Thing is, after playing through the majority of the game, it has become painfully obvious that Prince’s biggest downfall is the enduring sensation of blandness. It’s bizarre: the game really is very solid and all that expected goodness is there. And yet, it still seems…meh.

If we compare the graphics to most games out there, The Forgotten Sands doesn’t look too bad at all. In fact, the visuals are quite good. But if we compare it to other AAA titles of the generation – and let’s not forget that Prince installments are expected to be among the elite – they’re a disappointment. There just isn’t a great deal of clarity or sharpness; the general level design is decent but hardly anything new, and the it almost seems as if Ubisoft took a step backwards. It’s hard to say, though, as the last title was cel-shaded… It’s tough to compare the two but I honestly believe the last one was more impressive in terms of artistic achievement and general appeal. I mean, the animations are smooth, the coloring is good, and there are some definite highlights in the form of certain bosses and special effects (gotta love a few of those magic spells), but there’s nothing to get excited about. We do get some brilliant CGI, though, and although hardly prevalent, it’s worth mentioning.

The sound is a much in the same boat; we’ve got better-than-average voice acting, cool effects, and a fitting soundtrack, but once again, it all feels a little subdued and too understated. Plus, the sound would cut out entirely several times during my play time, which is a definite flaw, and the balance isn’t quite there. The music will almost always take a backseat to the combat and even platforming effects, which sort of detracts from the overall experience. Action games really need sharp, prominent sound in terms of both effects and soundtrack; awesome recent examples would be God of War III and Bayonetta. Here, everything sounds as if the developers should’ve applied one more coat of polish, which would’ve enhanced our immersion and enjoyment. I must reiterate that I’m not talking about major drawbacks or shortcomings; I’m merely talking about a simple lack of intensity…in other words, not much of a “wow” factor in regards to either the graphics or sound.

If you played Sands of Time or indeed, any of the three console installments that arrived last generation, you know exactly what to expect from The Forgotten Sands. Appropriately enough, it plays a whole lot like Sands of Time and I say “appropriately” because this really is a sequel. To drive that point home, the Prince even mentions Farah a few times during the course of his new adventure. Therefore, expect a bunch of puzzles, a whole lot of acrobatic platforming, and instead of those one-on-one duels from the last Prince, hordes of enemies that require a dose of strategy to eliminate. The combat itself is about as simple as possible but you’re not exactly invincible and early on, the game forces you to do a bit more than hack ‘n slash just because you can die so easily. But it doesn’t take long for you to become more powerful, and the source of most of your power comes from magic. This is one of the few significant gameplay upgrades in the game, and your magic also governs those nifty Sands that can rewind time.

So yeah, no more Elika to save your ass immediately when you fall; just like in Sands of Time, if you’re about to die after falling from a great height, hit the R1 button and rewind time to just before you made the mistake. If you’re out of magic, you die and start from the most recent checkpoint. That’s familiar but as I said, the magic aspect is new and adds a much-appreciated dimension to the straightforward fighting mechanic. You gain new Powers by earning experience from defeated enemies, and you can choose from a branching tree inside the menu: on the left, you’ve got the chance to expand your health bar and buy Powers that are more related to strength and physical ability and on the left, you can increase your magic pool and get neato stuff like Whirlwind. It works pretty well and it encourages you to take down every enemy you see (and you don’t always have to). The fighting is relatively smooth and although I’m convinced there’s a small delay when it comes to the Prince’s basic movement, taking down swarms of foes isn’t too challenging.

The problem lies in that aforementioned blandness. It’s just a little repetitive and although the Powers add some flavor, it still doesn’t get your motor running, you know? Maybe it’s because God of War III, Bayonetta and Dante’s Inferno have spoiled me for flashy, refined action, so this doesn’t really stand up to the current competition. I think that’s what is most important- if The Forgotten Sands had come out a year or two back, it would’ve been far more revered; it’d be worthy of a higher score. But now…it’s a very competitive environment. And when there are drop-outs in the sound, some camera issues that can indeed plague big battles, what I perceive to be a lack of inherent quickness on the part of the Prince, and a lot of less-than-impressive moments, we find ourselves a tad bit underwhelmed. On the flip side, a few of the boss fights are cool and really, the fundamental basics are solid and fun. You’ve got your inventive puzzles, the fantastic platforming elements, and a reliable and fluid control scheme.

Therefore, it’s difficult to not recommend the game based on the positive factors alone. I’m just afraid it’s going to pale in comparison to recent experiences. However, big fans of the series should most certainly be satisfied; they may not see this as a step backwards but more of a return to prior greatness. I just miss the frills we’ve come to expect; I miss the Light Seed collecting from the last entry, I miss Elika, and I even miss the one-on-one duels just because they felt new and fresh. I have often said how much I despise the elitist critic mentality that says “if it doesn’t do anything new, it’s not worthy of an elite score.” I really do hate that. But it’s not that this game doesn’t do anything new; it’s that it falls short when we stack it up against the competition, and that’s a downfall regardless of innovation (or lack thereof). The platforming alone is enough to make the title in question worth playing, but as far as a $60 purchase is concerned…well, like I said, you’d have to be a big Prince fan.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is a good production. It does its job well. It presents the gamer with a stable, fluid foundation and builds upon it with nice pacing and even an addictive, “I gotta get through the next part” feel. But the combat is definitely sparse, the Powers aren’t as electric as I had hoped, the graphics and sound needed an update to reach top-notch status, and the whole thing just feels too much like yesteryear. Plus, with a relatively short 6-8 hour quest, I can’t see spending the full price of admission. However, the pluses are obvious and if it’s definitely worth playing, so maybe you should put it on a birthday list or use some trade-ins towards it. Either that, or just wait until the price tag falls.

5/22/2010 Ben Dutka

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Comments (36 posts)

Alienange
Saturday, May 22, 2010 @ 10:14:52 PM
Reply

Nice review. I would have been a little surprised if this game got a higher score than that. I definitely think they should have stayed with the PoP format they had going. Alas, this is how movies influences games for the worst.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Mavfan321
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 5:20:20 AM

In the comment below I would rather have stated that Sands of Time and UC have nice parallels. Not that they are so similar or have the same kind of impact but the good similarities are what make both respectively amazing games, albeit at a different standard.

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Banky A
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 5:44:20 AM

@Alien
I 'defs agree with your last point. I thought that's what everybody here was expecting? I sure was.

:S

Last edited by Banky A on 5/23/2010 5:45:10 AM

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TEG3SH
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 2:35:05 PM

@ Alienange
Yeah I agree with everything u said so far I'll also add getting sh*ty actors for movies Cough*jake gyllenhaal*cough will also do the trick

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DeathOfChaos
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 7:24:35 PM

@TEG3SH
*coughcough*gaycowboy*cough*

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, May 22, 2010 @ 10:16:02 PM
Reply

Ouch for the prince, glad I was never interested in this series.

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Mavfan321
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 4:15:45 AM

Sands of Time was an amazing game never got too into the series past that. It kinda of in a weird way was the Uncharted of it's time. Platforming, great action, and a wise cracking protagonist, not to mention the visuals were amongst the best of PS2.

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FxTales
Saturday, May 22, 2010 @ 10:23:34 PM
Reply

That's a shame it looked promising. Will maybe just hire it.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, May 22, 2010 @ 10:40:11 PM

does that mean rent?

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Kai200X
Saturday, May 22, 2010 @ 10:29:20 PM
Reply

Based on all the video footages I've seen, I know this one is not as good as the previous ones. That said, I'm still a fan of this series and I think I'll still play it but I'll have to wait for a price drop.

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FxTales
Saturday, May 22, 2010 @ 10:49:38 PM

"Hire" is used here rather than rent in New Zealand though both terms can be used. Well at least it's what I mainly hear.

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chedison
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 2:22:49 AM

This is pretty much how I'll feel for every Ubisoft game from now on. Just doesn't seem worth the 60 bucks.

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fluffer nutter
Saturday, May 22, 2010 @ 10:40:32 PM
Reply

Good thing this was put out by Ubisoft as it will be $40 in a few weeks and then $30 before the next month is over.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Jawknee
Saturday, May 22, 2010 @ 10:41:45 PM

lol Ubisoft games are like Chryslers.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, May 22, 2010 @ 10:58:03 PM

Why is that? Do they always make too many discs?

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Jawknee
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 12:32:34 AM

The minute your drive off the lot the car is worthless. ha

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Scarecrow
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 2:04:21 AM

lol...

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fluffer nutter
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 2:25:29 PM

It's just common knowledge now that their prices drop, drastically, very soon after release. I couldn't tell you exactly why as I've seen lower scored games hold their MSRP for longer but maybe Ubisoft wants to recoup as much as possible and they've realized that if a game doesn't hit a certain sales "marker" within two weeks, than maybe they should drop the price to be more enticing.

Last edited by fluffer nutter on 5/23/2010 2:26:15 PM

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Ultimate_Balla
Saturday, May 22, 2010 @ 10:45:31 PM
Reply

**Waiting on the Price drop** 'Round about how long was Warrior Within?

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BeezleDrop
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 12:06:35 AM
Reply

Definitely playing this one, Renting though. Regardless of the score I am all about PoP, going to see the movie regardless as well, I actually expected much more from the game and its scores. Expect a user review on this one guys, and 3D Dot game Hero's.

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BTNwarrior
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 2:01:59 AM
Reply

It's a real shame they didn't continue the most recent story line, just another great story that will never have an end

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___________
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 2:24:05 AM
Reply

how did i know it would be a massive disappointment?
im really starting to get fed up with ubisoft and destroying my favorite series.
first splinter cell conviction, than this whats next?
i played about 2 hours last night and so far im not impressed, the graphics actually look WORSE! than the last PoP title!
the platforming is far to simple for a PoP game, needs more acrobatics stuff that makes you say wow like the old games did.
and the controls. AGH THE CONTROLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
lost count the amount of times i have died because i have hit x to climb up a wall but instead i leaped across the room and died.
since when does up on the analogue stick and x mean jump behind you?
they had perfect controls in PoP why did they have to change it?
what is it with ubisoft and fixing (or should i say breaking?) whats not broken?
as they say, if its not broke dont fix it!

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BigBoss4ever
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 2:58:06 AM
Reply

The score does not surprise me at all. Prince of Persia series is getting old, and thinking of it after "Sand of Time" never excited me. They should produce a new original game, not use the past big names to suck more bucks.

Actually, this is a new emerging problem of this generation: lots of great series in the past are now getting repetitive, thinking of them is no longer that exciting anymore. Creating new original game is the way to go in this era of gaming world, such is what i feel as a gamer.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 5/23/2010 3:01:29 AM

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Temjin001
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 9:48:41 PM

BigBossForever,

I'm fine with sequels as long as they are good games. I can't speak for Prince of Persia because I've never completed one, and I've spent little time with any. There's something about the series that doesn't capture my interests.

Though my thoughts are directed towards "sequel hate." Occasionally, whether it be editorials or forum posts, there seems to be a sect of people who dislike sequels. I haven't read any that have had a good basis for their argument.

When a franchise becomes played out, old and tired, it usually dives in sales and it dies it's death. Just as it should.

However, if a franchise manages to be a series of quality games, delivering the content their audience wants, those franchises tend to transcend for many many years, even decades to come.

I think as gamers, we're always interested in action, combat, suspense etc etc. The game title itself is an identity for the content that's found within a game which usually has a place in an already existing genre.

If the outcry against sequels is meant to embody disdain for redundancy in a genre, then most games, to some degree or another, are guilty of taking inspiration from another game, sequel or not. The game industry, like most industries, evolve by the cumulative contribution of talents and effort that everyone has been inspired by at some point in time. The sort of quality games we have today are made possible by the inspiration that drove the creation of games yesterday.

Quality is what I'm concerned about.
Whatever a game is, let it be a good one.

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BigBoss4ever
Monday, May 24, 2010 @ 12:56:20 AM

well worded response Temjin, I agree with your analysis actually. Just like u said, if a game has quality, then be it a sequal or brand new game matters not much. as a gamer, I also just want great games.

and even for some franchise with many installments, i.e. MGS series, DMC series, FF series etc, I am still as excited about the latest installment as I was for the first one.

Just that for some reason, like u mentioned too, PoP series never really excited me. and that kinda series is what we do not want again and again. :)

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 5/24/2010 12:58:00 AM

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stemon
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 3:02:37 AM
Reply

lets face it PoP is a hard franchise to deliver now back on ps2 it was innovative but now I dunno it just seems off, assasins creed has stole its thunder movie looks decent though lol

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Bjorn77
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 6:04:59 AM
Reply

This comes as a surprise (Didn't read reviews before and I thought it would be a 8 or 9 just out of reputation), I looked at the box yesterday in the store and I was really in doubt of buying it. I bought Red Dead Instead.

I am stiull buying it doh, after I finish RDR. Maybe the price has gone down then.

Last edited by Bjorn77 on 5/23/2010 6:05:58 AM

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JackC8
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 7:38:19 AM
Reply

I've never played a Prince of Persia game, and it sounds like this is a typical example of the reason - good game, but there's so much other better stuff out there. Probably would make a good bargain bin purchase, but the better games hit the bargain bin too.

Maybe some day...

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___________
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 8:35:56 AM
Reply

honestly all ubisoft need to do is take prince of persia the two thrones, and bring it upto next gen specs and it would sell millions!!!
that was by far the best PoP game, take everything from that, maybe add in a few more complex larger puzzles and you have the perfect PoP game!!!
i honestly can not understand why ubisoft keeps changing their series.
first splinter cell, than this.
ubisoft are becoming worse than $E!!!!!!!!!!

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Guest
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 9:34:08 AM
Reply

I think the review score is too low.

Keep in mind the game was a return to the Sands of Time timeline, some of the drastic changes that they may or may not have thought of, had the potential to alienate long time fans of the series. The last cel-shaded re-boot was desgned to take a different spin and I just couldn't go with it. After Forgotten Sands, any other Sands Of Time timeline game can "push the envelope", but I've been playing it since it came out and LOVE it.

God Of War 3...Geez! God Of War 3 sets the bar so friggin' high that clouds float under it, it seems wrong just to put Bayonetta or any other game in the same sentence with it, you know?

R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio, you are missed!!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 3:01:54 PM

thank you for that.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 7:31:35 PM

The games you speak of are out and are considered competition as they are in the same genre. That can't be ignored.

And as I said in the review, I understand the premise and reasoning behind this return to a Sands of Time format. The problem is, it just feels very dated.

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Bandit King
Monday, May 24, 2010 @ 5:29:17 PM

I don't feel that Ben should have to over explain his score. In all honesty as a big fan of the PoP series I was never looking forward to this one. It looked rushed and thats what it feels like, a half baked Sands of Time HD re-skin with some added elements, they made this for the movie and it shows. The combat is terrible given the current state of action games. Now not everything needs to be Bayonetta fast but slower action games like GoW (even 1 and 2) clearly outline how combat should be handeled for slower action games. THe combat in this is just too clunky, you can really only address one enemy at a time but since 5+ surround you at any one time your not able to defend your self like should be able to. I don't like the Prince design in this game either he looks like some man-lion amalgamation. I thought PoP 2008 was a fantastic game really showed what a proper development cycle can lead too, it may have held you hand a bit much but the gameplay, graphics and story were fresh and unique, this not so much...

Last edited by Bandit King on 5/24/2010 5:35:18 PM

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tlpn99
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 10:41:30 AM
Reply

Never liked any of this series. Apart from the original side scroller on the Amiga that was classic.

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DeathOfChaos
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 7:25:39 PM

Advertisers are getting worse and worse... they're not even hitting the right places anymore, lol.

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aaronisbla
Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 6:18:38 PM
Reply

The only Ubisoft game that was worth a purchase this gen was AC2 for me

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