An Oasis in Time: Techland Reviews Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

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Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Available on: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, PSP Nintendo DS
ESRB rating: T for Teen
System reviewed on: PS3

By my count, the Prince of Persia has had three lives. First, the always-nameless hero debuted in 1992 in the ground-breaking adventures hand-crafted by Jordan Mechner on the Apple IIe. The skilled animation in the earliest PoP games broke new ground for how lifelike game characters could come across. The next life of the Prince came in the Ubisoft-produced trilogy that spanned from 2003 to 2006 with The Sands of Time,Warrior Within and The Two Thrones. The animation became even more incredible, giving life to great story-telling and ingenious gameplay. Finally, Ubisoft released another game in 2008 that occurred in its own separate continuity. Now, on the occasion of a certain summer movie coming out, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands revisits one of those lives. Does the game sink to the depth of yet another bad movie tie-in or does it invoke past PoP glories? Well…

Like Sands in an Hourglass:

The story in Forgotten Sands takes place with the same Prince who starred in the Sands of Time game trilogy. In his enjoyable mutterings to himself, he references old love interest Farah, and Azad, the locale in previous games. He also says “Why must it always be sand?,” a line that made me laugh out loud. You don’t need to have played any of the previous games to enjoy this one. In Forgotten Sands, he journeys to the kingdom of his brother Malik, sent by his father to learn how to command wisely. But, he winds up aiding him in battle when it turns out that Malik’s kingdom is under siege. The palace is about to fall when he makes a fateful decision to unleash Solomon’s Army. His hope is that the mythical militia can save his kingdom quickly curdle when they turn out to be, yup, an evil demonic horde. The more sand these ooga-boogas touch, the more they multiply. The army’s being led by Ratash, who’s an ifrit–evil spirits in some Middle Eastern mythologies–and his military force will overrun the world if they’re not stopped. Our hero receives an otherworldly intervention from Razia, an emissary from the Djinn (where the word “genie” comes from). She explains that the two halves of the seal that once imprisoned the army need to be reunited to shut down the horde. Of course, with Malik being corrupted by the seal’s evil power, it’s not going to be as easy as that.

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