Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
PS3 (Review Copy) Xbox 360, PC
Man, this game's lineage is really confusing. For one, it isn't based on the Prince of Persia movie that's out. Also, the PoP franchise rebooted itself in 2008, with a well-received game. So this game's its sequel right? Well, it's actually an interquel of the last generation's Sands of Time, and Warrior Within. Confused? You're not alone. What's clear is The Forgotten Sands is an excellent platforming action game, lineage be damned.
The Prince arrives at his brother Malik's kingdom and finds the palace under siege. Outnumbered, Malik decides his only fighting tactic is releasing the ancient army of King Solomon, whose numbers are as vast as the desert sands. But sand warriors get released instead, the same fighters who King Solomon had to stop from destroying the world. Along the way, a djinn named Razia chooses the Prince to be her champion, giving him the power to halt — and even reverse — time to fight against the ancient threat of Ratash, who controls the army.
The Prince, an athletic marvel, runs up walls, swings on poles and makes impossible jumps. Platforming's much of the game, and the Prince must traverse many physical puzzles to reach destinations. This is where your powers come in — you'll stop time to convert the environment, such as waterspouts and waterfalls, into traversable solids. Should you mess up, reverse the time and try again. While the platforming is excellent, the combat's hot and cold; battling enemies can be tedious, and the boss battles are ridiculously easy. Also, certain motions are counterintuitive because the control mapping is sometimes a bit wonky.
By releasing this alongside the Prince of Persia movie — though it's not a movie tie-in (those tend to be bad) — Ubisoft scores a coup. Despite its backstory, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands stands tall on its own by offering excellent platforming puzzles.