Forgotten Sands Review
Does the new Prince of Persia game successfully recapture the gameplay from The Sands of Time or is it just another game destined to be forgotten?
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is a return to the old style platforming seen in Sands of Time. Using a tried and tested combination of combat, platforming, and the odd puzzle it does do a pretty good job bringing players back. Sword combat is enjoyable but fairly easy even against scores of angry Sand monsters. Platforming consists of many small skills used in quick succession and relies often on pressing buttons mid-air to create your own ledge or pole to latch onto. You can rewind time once again but this feature plays second fiddle to being able to freeze water and replace ancient walls as you leap about the palace. Does the balance of these elements work well together? Do they create an enjoyable ride through a palace full of traps and ghastly creatures or does the gameplay become repetitive and uninteresting?
There are two major differences between the gameplay in Forgotten Sands and that in Sands of Time. Platforming has changed slightly and in this case it relies on correct timing of button presses with your jumps rather than always waiting for the timing of some external object. You proceed quickly and may have to freeze water or recall ancient structures each with a single press. The difficulty rests in timing the button presses with jumps mid air or when running along walls. There are still standard trap sections which employ simple timing and movement requirements without the ability to freeze water or recreate matter. These trap like segments are generally the hardest in the game but are placed strategically and are often short in length.
The second difference is linked to the combat and its relative ease and gameplay purpose between the platforming segments. In Sands of Time the combat was difficult and later in the game somewhat frustrating. Forgotten Sands goes in almost the other direction where the combat is easy and relies on only a few moves to take down different enemy types. It is also the best place to stock up on health and energy. You’ll often be taking on dozens of Sand army enemies from skeletons to flying beetles. You will still die more during the sections involving a wide range of traps than during any combat scenario. Throughout the combat the Prince gets access to some gimmicky powers like ice and fire attacks, all which are quite helpful. These use your precious energy orbs that are required to rewind time so it’s risky to use them all up.
The Prince picks up health spheres from his enemies and from random pots hidden in corners of the palace. You also get energy and experience spheres for disposing of creatures trying to do you harm. The energy spheres allow you to rewind time and use combat powers. Experience points you gain are used to unlock powers and improvements in health or features like being able to rewind time further. The powers don’t have a huge impact on the combat, they ensure the battles are over quicker but are not required. Because most of the spheres are collected during combat the game balances how often you receive each. There are usually ample amount of pots in between platforming if you get low on health after running into a deadly trap.
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