Game Review

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

Sand trapped

Ignoring the free-running, rather mouthy Prince from 2008’s HD Prince of Persia, The Forgotten Sands is set between Sands of Time and Warrior Within, playing as the expected combination of platforming showpieces, close combat and simplistic lever and button puzzles. As the Prince’s first original adventure on Wii, it has to be commended for being designed specifically for the machine rather than ported across from other formats. Regrettably that means some all-too familiar Wii mechanics raise their heads to spoil what’s otherwise a good package.

Prime amongst these is combat. With the Remote as your sword, combat is intuitive at first but it lacks the fluidity of a Zelda: the responses aren’t quick enough to make you feel involved, so you end up swinging the controller to slash wildly. There are plenty of moves to earn along the way that introduce variety, but the foundations are unstable and combat soon becomes a chore.

The platforming fares better, relying on a single button to jump and wallrun, the two moves forming the majority of the challenges. A white beam of light shows where your jump or wallclimb will take you, removing the need for leaps of faith, and certainly helps to take the guesswork out of jumping in a 3D space.

In fact, the game doesn’t really give you full control over your jumping: instead it “snaps” you to the ledge, hook or beam you’re aiming for, and this ends up being a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it alleviates frustration from narrowly missing platforms and builds up remarkable fluidity when tackling complex sections, but on the other it feels the game is more in control of your jumps than you are: you may be pushing the direction and button, but as long as that white beam of light is there, you can’t fail. Platforming newcomers will appreciate the level of assistance, but genre veterans are likely to find it irritating after a while.

That’s not to say it sours the experience completely: the thrill of chaining together leaps, swings, wallruns and slides is still intact, and the game’s better sections set a lightning fast pace that the whole adventure sticks to, with no loading screens or level selects to break up the adventure.

In terms of design, The Forgotten Sands proves its worth as a good-looking title with some interesting bosses, ornate level design and pleasing textures, though occasional camera problems mar the engine’s good work. The slow-motion effect applied during certain high-profile moments may not be to everyone’s taste, but it certainly adds drama to proceedings, as do the cutscenes between the Prince and his genie companion, the dialogue between the two being of a predictable quality.

Occasionally the game switches to a classic 2D viewpoint, and there are more such stages unlocked throughout the title, proving to be enjoyable deviations that emphasise the lack of a need for precise control. The original Prince adventure –a version of which is included as an unlockable extra – asked for pinpoint accuracy from the player, demonstrating that a lack of finesse would result in death. The Forgotten Sands’ 2D stages stick to the semi-automatic style of control, keeping the pace high but removing some of the tension that drove the original levels so brilliantly.

Conclusion

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is an admirable attempt to make what could have been a complex 3D platformer accessible. The use of the light beam and jump assist will be a blessing to newcomers, who should find themselves zipping through the world in no time. For veterans, the lack of full control can be off-putting, seemingly lowering the level of skill required to succeed, but if you can see past that you’ll still find something to enjoy.

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User Comments (54)

odd69

#1

odd69 said:

Good review James.I'll probably pass on this one, it seems there are just to many gripes with it.

Shiryu

#4

Shiryu said:

I'm enjoying it. It's clear that they decided to take no risks and play it safe by remaking the original "Sand of Time". Fells empty at times, but I'm still enjoying it. A solid purchase for fans of the series that like me have no other console this generation (or able PC to play it in).

Alias

#5

Alias said:

Not a must-buy. I can't believe that Nintendo Power rated it an 8.0!

Slionr

#6

Slionr said:

i would have given it a 8. its realy good with much replay value, and the callenges are fun =) yeah, the combat is not as good as in f.eks rival swords, but its not bad or broken^^
but one question.... do we in europe (or in my case, norway) get the original PoP for the snes? i have not gotten it even though i got all of the potions, beat the game and its not even listed up anywhere as an unlockable....... =(

#8

said:

I rented this game and I think it doesn't deserves a 6. Is actually very fun and it has a lot of the classic elements of the Sands trilogy with a better engine. I agree that the combat can be tiresome but is not as bad as it sounds. I think it deserved, at least, a 7.

Link79

#9

Link79 said:

Are you people out of your mind? This game is awesome! Maybe not as perfect as the original sands of time trilogy but still pretty good. Only real gripe I have is with the somewhat boring combat. I'd give the game at least an 8/10 but 6/10 is a bit harsh. Some of us out there think this is better than the next Gen version. Despite the less impressive graphics.

#10

said:

Indeed, an 8 is deserved. Maybe not a 9 or 10 because is not very originanor groundbreaking but a 6 is way too low.

Just because is not HD doesn't mean it has to be bad. That's absurd.

Wesbert

#11

Wesbert said:

I also prefer the Wii version to the PS3 version (finished both). The levels are more varied in design and layout, the combat (weak though it may be) is more tactical, there are more puzzles and once the creation powers are all unlocked they change the experience quite a bit when you master them. I'd also give this game an 8/10.

That_Guy_from_Faxana

#12

That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

Informative review! Seems like UBI (among many other developers) struggles with how to create a thirdperson game for Wii. I was never interested in this game, but I´ll play through the first Sands of Time one of these days...

CanisWolfred

#13

CanisWolfred said:

So the movie and the game were disappointments? Not surprised. I'll still pick it up later on, once it's cheap and I've finished the other Prince of Persia games.

Sylverstone

#14

Sylverstone said:

Well, I initially thought it would get a 7 but hey, you know how video games and movies never bond in perfect harmony. The movie's okay, the game will keep a few people in check.

And I kinda disliked the mouthy Prince from the reboot, thanks for pointing that out.

Well, for people who crave a POP game on Wii, go for this, not Rival Swords (remake of the Two Thrones).

citizenerased

#15

citizenerased said:

People, apart from the release dates the film has absolutely nothing to do with the game. Nothing.

Link79

#16

Link79 said:

Even IGN gave this game a good review and they are notorious for giving bad reviews to anything related to Nintendo. Seriously guys don't let this review talk you out of getting this game. If you like any Prince of Persia you will like this. So many people are probably avoiding it because they think it's a movie game. If you actually played it you'd know better.

AVahne

#17

AVahne said:

Good review, but I think this game deserves more along the lines of an 8-9.

PhillaLoup

#18

PhillaLoup said:

Good review ... it's definetly not the best in the series...

I would love to see your reviews to the previous entries:
Prince of Persia - The Sands of Time (GC)
Prince of Persia - Two Thrones (GC)
Prince of Persia - Rival Swords (Wii)

Aronos

#19

Aronos said:

I'll probably get it after the price drops, cause I own the origial trilogy and I guess I would like to play the whole saga now lol.
The review makes it sound like its not worth full price, maybe if it was $30 would people be more inclined to get it?

EdEN

#21

EdEN said:

Why no mention in the review of the Wii version including the ORIGINAL Prince of Persia game for free?

RGVEDA

#22

RGVEDA said:

The German Gamepro gave for the Wii Version 81% and for the Xbox and PS3 Version 78%.

James

#23

James said:

@EdEN - "The original Prince adventure –a version of which is included as an unlockable extra – asked for pinpoint accuracy from the player"

shake_zula

#25

shake_zula said:

I really really hated the combat in Rival Swords but still loved the game, and the side-scrolling sections and the original game unlockable make this pretty much a must-buy for me. I'll be picking it up ahead of Galaxy 2 sometime this month

Good review btw Pro

Slapshot

#26

Slapshot said:

So you guys are really playing the HD versions and the Wii version? If so then why? I dont buy that a bit!

brandonbwii

#27

brandonbwii said:

This was a pretty great game. The 360 version is better, but if your looking for more platforming fun, you can't go wrong with this built-from-the-ground-up Wii version.

Ravage

#29

Ravage said:

I still can't believe that they screwed up the combat, again. The combat was never my favourite thing from the series, but that least they improved it going to Warrior Within and Two Thrones. It deserves the 6 for dropping the ball on the combat for the second time in a row. Inexcusable considering that they`ve already done the combat better.

brandonbwii

#30

brandonbwii said:

@Jacob
It is a decent platformer. This is just one reviewer's opinion. Personally, this is one time I side more with IGN's opinion (which is not often, as the only other reviews I disagreed with on NLife were Robot Rescue and Mixed Messages, both of which I felt should've had higher scores imo).

Besides, since when was a 6 not "decent".

Kyloctopus

#31

Kyloctopus said:

Ubisoft looks like they have great games but I never get them. So its either
This
Red Steel
Combat of Giants

Wesbert

#32

Wesbert said:

@ slapshot82: Um... because they're essentially two entirely different games that merely share the same name (neither of wihch is bad)? Why shouldn't we play both if we can and are suitably interested in? After all, HD isn´t always necessarily better... like in this case :)

opeter

#34

opeter said:

@EdEN and @prosody:
The included unlockable is not the original "Prince of Persia", but the remake by Gameloft, called Prince of Persia Classic (that is available some time now on XLBA and PSN).

EdEN

#37

EdEN said:

@opeter: I'm with buffalobob on this. I seem to recall reading we would get the SNES version which sorta makes sense considering it could be run as a VC game directly from the disc.

Wesbert

#38

Wesbert said:

The unlockable Prince of Persia is the Mac version (really, not the SNES version; unless it's different for the US version). I guess opeter got it mixed up with the limited HD editions, where a free download code for the 2,5D remake is included.

smithers

#39

smithers said:

wait yeah....i agree with @slapshot... really dont believe that yall spent about 90$ on two very much the same games, sounds like some people are just being biased towards the wii

Vinsanity

#40

Vinsanity said:

"...but removing some of the tension that drove the original levels so brilliantly."

I'm sorry, but anyone who says the original Prince of Persia is brilliant is a psycho. I recognize it for what it did, but damn - bad controls are bad controls. That's like defending Tomb Raider in retrospect - it simply shouldn't be done.

Anyway, I really enjoyed Forgotten Sands. I'm glad Ubi Quebec stepped up and did a unique Wii version - and it's telling how much of it borrows from Mario Galaxy that they did their homework. The pointer heavy controls, the same style of co-op play, the intelligent camera; there's a LOT of good in this version of the game. And if you're like me and you played through it all with the unlockable Sands of Time skin, then it feels like a truer sequel to that game than Warrior Within ever did. Letting the player form their own pathways with different combinations of the pointer-based magic abilities is a brilliant idea. The execution just isn't as perfect as you'd want it to be, and letting the player find their own way through each room causes the otherwise intelligent camera to get confused, which is a shame. But overall, things work often enough to make for a really cool Prince of Persia sequel; one that manages to bring something truly fresh to the table. And it's a far prettier game than the HD version, which I also got. I mean, sure it lacks the lighting effects and shader stuff, but the use of color and baked-in lighting in the Wii version is superior. The environments pop a lot more than the drab scenery on display in the PS3 version. Also, the prince looks much better in the wii one - I don't know why, but his face is just ....wrong in the HD one...

I would've given it a 7, but good review nonetheless. The words I agree with, not the number:)

Wesbert

#41

Wesbert said:

@ smithers: The whole point is those games aren't "very much the same games", they`re entirely different, sharing only the same name. The story, setting, levels, movement sets, powers and extras are entirely different. So it's a bit like saying "I don't believe you bought Sands of Time AND Warrior Within, so you must be a biased liar!". So please stop accusing other people of lying.

Albion

#43

Albion said:

to bad Wii copy sold only 15k
And PS3 and Xbox360 sold over 3 million.

Thats depressing for the Wii folks
Hate to see the Wii Fail like this

Oh well here comes N other Why the wii is hardcore too Ad campagne.

cheapogamer4life

#44

cheapogamer4life said:

@ smithers:
They could have just rented them both from gamefly.com or from any other place on the web. Maybe they borrowed a copy of the game from their best friend while they loan their friend the Wii version of the game. Maybe :D

Troponin

#46

Troponin said:

Game reviews are nothing more than someone's opinion. Remember that when reading the reviews. I recently bought this game BEFORE reading this review, and now that I have it, I am glad I did it in that order, otherwise, I would have missed out on a great game. It's true that there aren't many battles in this game, but there are plenty to keep you occupied. The game play feels fast and with little interruption, save for the not-too terribly-difficult puzzles. When you unlock attacks, the battle system is pretty fun, giving you lots of attack options. My only gripe is the camera doesn't always set itself where I want it, and when I press forward and jump, I find myself jumping in the opposite direction I wanted.

gaminguy

#47

gaminguy said:

some users here like it, so maybe the review is a bit harsh, or Prosody doesn't like the Prince of Persia games at all

James

#48

James said:

@gaminguy I have nothing against Prince of Persia - I've never reviewed a game in a series I hate as that wouldn't be fair to the game. I love the original PoP as it's all about precision whereas in Forgotten Sands a lot of that need for precision is removed. I'm happy lots of you guys are enjoying it though :)

timp29

#50

timp29 said:

Just bought this for cheap. While I loved sands of time, recently replayed it and yes, combat was extremely boring... everything was jump attack or block attack. I've pretty much bought this for the snes version of POP which had about 5-8 original levels that were excellent and what I recall to be an improved boss fight.
Just wish they had POP: shadow and the flame on VC. Loved that game to death on PC.

RonF

#51

RonF said:

I am playing this game right now and I cannot agree with the reviewer. I would place this game behind only Sands of Time, more or less in the same level of the 2008's HD game. Perhaps the problem lies in the fact the reviewer kind of enjoys the grinding of precise jumps, whereas I enjoy the fluidity of jumping around while solving a 3D puzzle to get the right path. Still, PoP:FS Wii is one of the best games I've played recently and it is far better than the mediocre HD version.

jsb

#52

jsb said:

I think the game quality and play are great - and for me its an 8

I don't mind the assistance: as it helps the maintain the flow thru the levels. I prefer the puzzles rather than the combat elements which I am less interested in.

Some might say it's not original - but what it lacks it there - it makes up for in the quality of the 3D environments. Please give it a go

ToxieDogg

#53

ToxieDogg said:

I bought the PS3 version not long after it's release but I've only had this Wii version since last week...and in many ways, it's better than the PS3 version....the whole design of the Wii game feels much closer to the original Sands Of Time trilogy than the HD game, and the storyline is much better....the creation powers also really add to the experience. And I for one didn't have a problem with the combat at all, I found it both simple and fluid, you just need to remember that you can use the Nunchuck to throw enemies as well as the Wii remote to slash at them ;) The 'white lines' that appear to show you where you can jump don't ruin things either as they're only there to show you if a jump is possible or not, they rarely ever actually show you where to go, and on many occasions don't even appear until you've already started moving the control stick in preparation to make a jump anyway.

A superb game that shouldn't be missed. :) Definitely an 8/10 score for me too.

Ste

#54

Ste said:

Hi ToxieDogg,
I am thinking of buying this game as I am getting into the Prince of Persia series. Could you tell me if the original Prince of Persia game is written into the disk so if I buy a used copy it would still be playable? or is it like a DLC where once it is unlocked it can't be played again on another wii? How easy it is to unlock? Thanks for any help you can give.

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