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Page 1:
Introduction
Prince of Persia (1989)

Page 2:
Prince of Persia (SNES)
Prince of Persia Classic
Screenshot Comparison

Page 3:
The Shadow & The Flame
The Shadow and The Flame

Page 4:
Arabian Nights
Harem Adventures
Special Edition

Page 5:
The Sands of Time

Page 6:
Warrior Within
The Two Thrones
Battles of Prince of Persia

Page 7:
Prince of Persia (2008)
The Fallen King

Page 8:
The Forgotten Sands (Consoles)

Page 9:
The Forgotten Sands (Portables)

Page 10:
The Graphic Novel
Before the Sandstorm
The Sands of Time (Movie)

Discuss on the Forums!

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Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands / Prince of Persia: Boukyaku no Suna (プリンス・オブ・ペルシャ~忘却の砂~) - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows (2010)

American Cover

European Cover

Limited Edition Cover

With the Disney movie on the horizon, Ubisoft saw their chance to cash in big time with the Prince of Persia series, so within days around the film's premiere, they released no less than six entirely different PoP games, all carrying the same subtitle, The Forgotten Sands. The whole point was, so Ubisoft claimed, to fill in the forgotten gaps in the Sands of Time trilogy (hence the title), namely in between the first and second games. In the end, however, nothing in the games has to do anything with the events in The Sands of Time or Warrior Within. They're more like a kind of anthology of unrelated stories with similar themes that happen to use the same main actor each time. The Prince is supposed to walk away from each having learned some kind of lesson (that is usually badly motivated by the plot), but nothing of it really informs the Prince in Warrior Within. Many even take him to realms that are separated from the outside world to avoid any meaningful interference.

The only version still done by Ubisoft Montreal, the studio responsible for the original Sands of Time trilogy, is also the closest to fitting into the series, although it dislocates the events far enough to avoid any interference with the overarching plot and feels more like a side story. The Prince is sent by the King to train under his brother Malik, who is given the reign over one of the Empire's provinces, a kingdom called Azad. At the time of his arrival, however, the Prince finds Malik's fortress under siege, and things don't look very good. When he finally finds Malik his brother drags him along to resurrect the legendary army of King Solomon. But a part of the legend has been lost in the generations of oral retelling: The army was not commanded by Solomon, but actually lead by the rebellious Ifrit Ratash against the Sage King. So the whole fortress is overrun by Skeletons and every human being is turned into sand - save for the Prince and Malik, who each hold a half of the magical Amulet used to control the seal that used to hold the army at bay.

While Malik is seduced by the power both of them gain with every slain skeleton, the Prince of course tries to find a way to seal the army away again. He meets the djinn Razia (in a clever homage to the life-extending hidden areas in Sands of Time. The Prince comments: "This place is very familiar."), who aids him with advice and bestows upon her powers over the flow of time - the rewind function is back.

But there's more. In later meetings she also teaches him to freeze water, which is the game's new main puzzle mechanic. With it, the Prince can create temporary poles and walls. In the beginning, that just means that you have to hold one more button during platforming, but the sequences grow gradually more complex, so often you have to swing from an ice swingpole, jump through a waterfall, no back to liquid state, and in the end quickly freeze the water again to hold on to the next pole. Towards the end the prince also learns to temporarily restore single elements of the fallen city of the djinn, which at first feels quite similar, but makes for even more depth when the Prince is forced to combine the two powers.

The Forgotten Sands not only returns to the Sands of Time universe, it also plays very much like the previous games. The Prince has all his trademark maneuvers, he runs up walls and slides down curtains just like he did in the good old days. There has been, however, a couple of tweaks to the controls. There's finally a dedicated jump button that does nothing but jump, in any situation. It may be a bit irritating for series veterans at first, since the button that was usually used to climb up a ledge now causes the Prince to leap to the opposite direction, often to his death.

The movements in general feel more realistic, as if there was actual weight to the Prince. Nonetheless the game is nowhere near the dull pace of the first Assassin's Creed, in fact the animations are faster than ever before. When jumping from a vertical pole, there's no need to tediously slide into the correct position, just press the jump button together with the direction of choice, and the Prince turns around the pole and jumps in a single, fluid movement.

Combat, on the other hand, has once again changed quite a lot. The Prince is now a real badass with a sword, taking on huge crowds of enemies at a time. The focus is therefore on keeping the upper hand in improbably outnumbered situations, playing the enemies out against each other and keeping the Prince from getting surrounded, not dissimilar to Batman: Arkham Asylum. Slashes can be charged for more damage and a wider radius, new button is dedicated to push enemies to the ground or down a pit, or get their shields out of the way. Acrobatics once again figure heavily into the combat, although the wall rebound attacks from Warrior Within and The Two Thrones are gone. The Prince will crush enemies to the walls instead, finishing them off with a blow to the head. The exact moves are heavily contextualized but you always feel in total control, the game completely disposed of any QTEs, even boss finishers are done in-engine.

"This is Persia!" No, seriously, that's what the Achievement/Trophy is called.

Among the magical powers the Prince is given by Razia, some spells are meant for combat rather than platforming. There's four of them, each corresponding to one of the four traditional elements: With Fire he leaves a trail of heat wherever he walks, burning the enemies that dare to pass, Wind calls a tornado that takes all enemies around him off their feet. The most valuable is Earth, which makes the Prince invulnerable for a limited time, while Water sends out rays of ice towards the direction he is facing. Unlike the essential puzzle abilities, these are not obtained during story cutscenes, instead you get to choose the order you learn them.

The Forgotten Sands is the first in the series to employ a traditional experience point system. By picking up yellow essences, the Prince gains level-up points he can invest in several upgrades on a skill tree. Not only the combat magic is upgraded here, but also things like the health bar, magic tanks and the power of the different melee attacks. The system is not very balanced, though: While stronger enemies later in the game drop more experience points, the costs for upgrades caps at 300 points - making the Prince's levels grow exponentially fast towards the end, while the enemies stay mostly the same. In the end, when the Prince gets the ancient Sword of the Djinn which can mow down a dozen enemies in a single stroke, combat becomes a pushover. Even the bosses are total jokes, so much that the designers had to break them up with more platforming sequences to prevent you from falling asleep. Two enemy types that exist solely to forward platforming with a special dash-attack make for further involuntary comical relief. The overall great impression only gets a little muddied by the dull colors. The Sands of Time games have never been famous for garish coloring, but The Forgotten Sands appears as the brownest of the lot yet.

There is also an issue with the "cinematic" direction of the game: Sands of Time would often loosely lock the camera to a certain angle to point players to the right direction to jump. While the system has been toned down with the sequels, here it is back in full force, and beyond. The Forgotten Sands dictates your view on platforming almost at any time, with the same dissatisfying sense of confinement conveyed by God of War or Devil May Cry. While the previous games have been mostly linear, they at least gave the illusion one could explore the areas somewhat freely. Here one almost feels like moving on rails because of the constant tunnel vision.

As the graphics are a lot more realistic, the Prince got another visual makeover, although he's still clearly recognizable from the design of Warrior Within and The Two Thrones. Even though his face is not modeled after Jake Gyllenhaal, there's something in his facial expressions that feels familiar after watching the movie. The Forgotten Sands is the first "main" game in the Prince of Persia franchise that doesn't give the prince a love interest, but the series trademark bickering is still fulfilled by his brotherly disputes with Malik and later arguments with Razia.

The game ties in with Ubisofts new Uplay portal, which is used to unlock a bit of bonus content. It's actually a pretty cool concept, since you can use points gained in one Ubisoft game to unlock stuff in another. Of course, that comes with the obnoxious requirement to be online while playing the game, and the "coming soon" menu point for a store betrays Ubisoft's true aims for the service. The unlockables themselves are rather barebones: A wallpaper/skin for your system, an experience point upgrade (total waste of points), the second of two arena combat challenges and Ezio's frobe from Assassin's Creed 2. Further costumes (Malik's armor and the Sand Wraith skin from Warrior Within) remain exclusive to buyers of the Limited Collector's Edition of the game.

While The Forgotten Sands is a full-scale return to form for the series, this also means that it is a return to old, worn-out paths. The platforming is the best yet, but it brings little new to the formula. Where the formula shows it age the most are the surprisingly frequent symmetric rooms that you have to climb twice, once on each side. It doesn't take long before the feeling of "I've done this before" extends from those rooms to the whole game - there's only so many different combinations you can string together with the given elements, the new powers likewise rely more on iteration than innovation. The combat feels fresh, but only until the final third of the game, when it becomes too easy to be any fun. If you haven't played any of the Ubisoft Prince of Persia games before, this one is composed the best. If you just finished your Sands of Time trilogy marathon, give it a few years on the shelf, or else the experience might turn sour fast.

Screenshots are taken from Prince Of Persia.de.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Director:

  • Jean-Christophe Guyot

Genre:

Themes:


The Forgotten Sands (PS3)

The Forgotten Sands (PS3)

The Forgotten Sands (PS3)

The Forgotten Sands (PS3)

The Forgotten Sands (PS3)

The Forgotten Sands (PS3)

The Forgotten Sands (PS3)

The Forgotten Sands (PS3)

The Forgotten Sands (PS3)


Additional Screenshots


Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands - Wii (2010)

American Cover

The second biggest game that bears the title The Forgotten Sands, by Ubisoft Quebec, came out exclusively on the Wii. It had almost become customary to create quite different Wii-Versions of big name titles with last-gen technology (see Ghost Busters or Star Wars: The Force Unleashed), and in the same vein Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands on the Wii also uses the good old Sands of Time engine. But in this case the "port" differs more than usual from the HD versions, as it is an entirely separate game.

The protagonist looks very similar to the HD game, but his personality is more akin to the treasure hunter without a past from the 2008 game. We learn that he recently purchased a genie named Zahra, who drags him into a new adventure by promising him the lost kingdom of Izdihar over which he'd rule as a Prince. In this iteration of the universe, however, genies are flying lights with faces and annoying voices - it's Navi from Ocarina of Time all over again. The genie of course is the sidekick to relate to this time, and the writers even try to build up some kind of romance between her and the Prince. Their dialog is often playful, but a few of the jokes are tired. After she makes him kiss a statue for some magical effect, he complains: "Dammit, why didn't you tell me it would hurt?" Her answer: "You didn't ask, my prince." More amusing is the Prince's verbal wriggling against revealing his name, which of course remains unspoken.

The way the adventure is set up is equally lame: The main plot is kicked off by the Prince pulling out a sword out of a wall just before Zahra thinks of trying to stop him, unleashing the Hamoa, an enormous plant creature that once destroyed the kingdom of Izdihar. Since she seems to know all about the sword and its dangers, it's hard to grasp why she couldn't just have told him before. To make things more complicated than just sticking the sword back into the plant, the Prince is attacked by a large abomination (painfully obviously the former king corrupted by the Hamoa) and ends up breaking the magical sword during his defense, setting himself up for a round trip through the palace to get the blade back from the fiend's gut.

"No need to get personal" comes after this scene.

As so often the story is just a front to have some excuse to get to the action, and you're dropped right into it, immediately. You start out right in the middle of a crumbling castle and have to carry on before it breaks all down. The platforming is as good as ever, although you have also the option to use the WiiMote to assist with it: To jump onto a higher ledge, for example, you can just draw a line towards it. Even when using the control stick, the line appears to show you which platform is going to be reached by the Prince, and this is pretty important, as the camera work is terrible in this game. You can technically center the camera behind the prince, or move it around by pointing at the edge of the screen while holding a button, but it doesn't always help. The free camera movement is awkward and moves back once you let go of the button, and there are many scenes where the auto adjust simply doesn't work. Unfortunately, there are many cheap deaths with the game interpreting input directions differently based on the camera position.

There's no rewind function this time, although the Prince gets "Life Orbs" from Zahra, which can resurrect him in place in case he dies. One by one, the duo also gets access to Creation Powers, which are applied by pointing at spots on the screen with the WiiMote. They allow the creation of wall hooks the Prince can hold onto or whirlwinds that pull him up to reach greater heights than his mere jumps could. The final creation power is a sphere that serves mostly as a safety net for missed jumps.

For most of the game, the abilities are limited to special plates and thus pointless, aside from a few instances where you have to create new things as the Prince is already in the air. About two thirds in, however, they get extended to be placed anywhere, which opens up a lot of interesting possibilities. The philosophy this time was to bring alternative ways to get around. It's still fairly obvious where a power has to be applied to follow the main path, but often it's not necessary to use them, but they can make passages easier, or help the Prince to find hidden areas.

Sometimes the camera switches to give you a more spectacular perspective on a jump.

Combat is entirely centered around using motion controls. You swing around the Wii mode to make the prince slash with his sword, while shaking the nunchuk unit translates to a punch with the steel glove he is wearing on his other arm, which is used to break an enemy's guard. Like the HD game, most of the Prince's more advanced combat moves get unlocked over time. There are two major issues with the combat. For one, there are far too many encounters. The majority are fought in boring flat arenas with the exits sealed off, so interesting opportunities to incorporate platforming in the fights are rare. The other problem is that combat also takes really long. Ordinary plant grunts and archers are taken down fairly quickly, but there are also minotaurs with shields you need to break first before you can make any serious damage to them, and big hound-like creatures that can take a whole lot of abuse. Often there are several waves of enemies attacking in immediate succession, drawing things out even more. At least the last group usually has a designated commander, and taking that one out causes all the others to flee.

The creation powers can also be used in combat to hinder enemies, which can make things ever so slightly more interesting. The hook translate to a brief petrification spell, which is useful in preventing those pesky archers from taking shots at the Prince while he deals with the more hands-on opponents. The Hamoa's Priestessess can only be taken out that way, because otherwise the swiftly slip away from every sword slash. The WiiMote controls make it had to properly aim the powers in the heat of the action, though, and there is a cooldown time to their use which can be quite annoying each time you accidentally froze the wrong enemy.

The game has exactly three large boss monsters, but you need to fight each of them three times - one has a long chase through the palace in between, while the others are merely interrupted by a brief platforming sequence. Only the first boss has badly staged QTE interludes as well, which begs the question why the developers even bothered to build that part in.

As if the pace wasn't already destroyed enough by all the fighting, the game also has a bunch of rather boring logic puzzles. The setup for some of them makes them look like interesting brain teasers on the surface, but once you've figured out how they work, they're immediately reduced to a lot of boring busywork. Time and again the Prince and his genie also happen upon sealed doors, which are unlocked by pointing at glowing dots in the right order. The lines connecting them disappear after the first input, forcing you to retrace them from memory. Later the plates with these lights also start rotating in various manners, but this mini game never manages to grow into an interesting challenge.

The Forgotten Sands on the Wii is the first game ever in the series to feature a two-player mode. In practice this isn't as great as it sounds, though: A second player can merely jump in to assist the first one as the genie, making each player's role less involved than a single player's experience.

Only one of many doors where you play connect the dots.

The Wii exclusive game may be a middling entry in the Sands of Time series, but at least it's one of the prettiest. Not content with making the HD version's uglier sibling, Ubisoft Quebec created lots of stunning architecture for this game, with many interesting wall murals and statues. Izdahar is supposed to be a magical kingdom built by the gods, and there certainly is no lack of grandeur, despite the Wii's lower capabilities. While desert tones are still dominant, there's also quite a bit more color variation, partially thanks to the plot introducing plenty of plant life. One particular plot point also allowed the artists to come up with some environments you wouldn't usually see in a Prince of Persia game, like an underwater palace or a bunch of platforms floating in outer space.

Besides the main quest, the game contains 84 "Heroic Challenges", which function like Achievements or Trophies, but some of them unlock special stuff. As usual (at least among the more recent games), there are a couple of costumes to unlock. It's possible to play as the lad from Sands of Time, or Dark Prince from The Two Thrones. There are also art galleries, Short "developer diary" documentary videos and a few hidden maps. Most are rather boring series of yet more fights, but one is played completely on a 2D plane, like the PSP and DS games. This one is free from any combat, but the platforming isn't too demanding here, making it feel a bit insubstantial. There are also two instances where the main game switches to this mode in between. The classic Prince of Persia is also included again, for the first time since The Sands of Time.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Director:

  • Mario Lord

Genre:

Themes:


The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

The Forgotten Sands (Wii)


Additional Screenshots


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Introduction
Prince of Persia (1989)

Page 2:
Prince of Persia (SNES)
Prince of Persia Classic
Screenshot Comparison

Page 3:
The Shadow & The Flame
The Shadow and The Flame

Page 4:
Arabian Nights
Harem Adventures
Special Edition

Page 5:
The Sands of Time

Page 6:
Warrior Within
The Two Thrones
Battles of Prince of Persia

Page 7:
Prince of Persia (2008)
The Fallen King

Page 8:
The Forgotten Sands (Consoles)

Page 9:
The Forgotten Sands (Portables)

Page 10:
The Graphic Novel
Before the Sandstorm
The Sands of Time (Movie)

Discuss on the Forums!

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