Not many people know that original Prince of Persia was released in 1989 and it was 2D platform game that has invented the action platform game genre. Nevertheless, Prince of Persia didn’t become famous until Ubisoft bought the franchise and released Prince Of Persia: The Sands of Time. Many sequels followed but the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time remains the best Prince of Persia game that brought this amazing franchise into the new 3D environment.
The latest instalment Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands has been released for several gaming platforms but Ubisoft carefully adjusted and changed the mechanics of the PSP version so it could meet its hardware power. Gameplay is changed but it’s still the good old Prince of Persia as we know it. The greatest surprise is that the game isn’t in 3D, instead, it uses 3D characters in the side-scrolling environment. Why did developers decide to go back to the 2D mechanics? It is known that Prince of Persia is a hard game and it would be even harder, especially on PSP if you had to adjust camera before each jump. Therefore, developers have decided to stick to good old mechanics so the players can focus on precise jumping and acrobatics instead of camera positioning.
As for the story, Prince is running from the fire demon that is responsible for the disappearing of the royal family. On his quest, Prince joins forces with Helem, the friendly spirit, so they can defeat the common enemy. By joining forces with Helem Prince has acquired time control powers that are common in Prince of Persia games. We remember them from the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time when they were introduced first.
So in order to get to the end of the level Prince and Helem have to work together, Prince with his acrobatic skills and Helem with time control. Halem can even freeze sand, traps, or enemies and she will revive Prince if he falls from the platform. She will take you back into the past, at the last room that you’ve entered but the time travel will drain your energy a bit. If your energy drops to zero you’ll be revived at the last checkpoint.
As for controls, they work rather well. You move Prince with a directional pad, and an analog pad is used for moving Halem, but that doesn’t work well as it should. For example, Halem highlights all the objects that you can slow down or speed up with the L and R button, but sometimes she misses the object and focuses on something else. The only way then is to use analogue pad and move her to the desired object. That could be harder than you think and it can get quite frustrating especially if you fall down because of it and you have to repeat the entire room all over again. Of course, there are fighting sequences from time to time and they are rather simple because you’re fighting with two opponents in most cases. On each combat sequence, you need to carefully dodge attacks and look closely before attacking. Combat sequences tend to get repetitive and boring because there aren’t any complex combos that are available on other platforms. Therefore, the simplest way would be that you throw your opponents onto each other and complete the sequence faster that way. There are bosses available but fight with them is simple and just bit more complex than the fight with ordinary enemies.
At the end of each level, a number of deaths and your time calculates your score. Better score earns more crystals that can be used for unlocking bonus materials, such as cutscenes and concept art. In addition, there are many orbs that are scattered across the map and they are used for purchasing health upgrades or for purchasing stronger attacks. Since all the fighting sequences are same, repetitive and they can be completed with single throw many players will invest all their points in health upgrades so that they can have more tries before returning to the last checkpoint.
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is long and a hard game and the more you play it, the harder it gets. Overall, it’s a good game, but fighting sequences are reparative and boring and the controlling Helem can be quite a bother, so you might lose your patience with this game. Still, it’s a good game, not good as the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, but still good game for the hardcore fans of Prince of Persia.