The Prince will never be in the forgotten realms of every gamer that has encountered him. The Prince returns in Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and this time the mood is entirely different from Prince of Persia 4, the storybook equivalent that focused more on the inveterate storybook version as the original and truly defined a new height for the series with humor, and action combined into one. Thankfully, the new title pushes the series back into its former Sands of Time inception and critical storyline atmosphere with a central but memorable antagonist, and a tale of vengeance and time packed into one. Newer abilities and an upgraded combat system with smoother mechanics without a companion makes the Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands truly refreshing. Even though the gameplay does not live up to the same standards in relation to mission structure and design by the original title, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands feels nostalgic regardless. With a detailed storyline, splendid graphics, and moreover the ability to finally rewind time – the Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands truly feels like a decent sequel to The Sands of Time, but nostalgia can only go so far.
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands takes the fan hearkened and desired The Sands of Time universe and reignites this iteration of Prince of Persia to provide a storybook rooted version of the tale as the previous title as just the first step into recreating the nostalgia and prestige of the original. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands begins with the Prince on a visit to his brother Malik’s kingdom, following his adventure in Azad, to learn how to become a true leader as ordained by his father to carry on the rule. As original of the series in the past, the Prince always manages to arrive at the right place at an all too wrong time. The visit has unfortunately coincided with an attack on his brother’s royal palace by an unnamed army set on destruction and and incipient corruption of the foundations of the kingdom. When the decision is placed to use the ancient powers of the Sand in a lackluster gamble to save the kingdom from annihilation, the Prince is the one who has to stop the danger that is unleashed. Through the large sets of enemies encountered, and the fate of his people laying in the balance, the Prince will learn to bear the burden of true leadership, and discover that great power often comes with a great cost.
A story can only go so far in aiding a form of gameplay that uses a similar structure to a previous title. While using same formulas is fine, the gameplay is not as detailed or powerful to be interesting in a storyline that can only do so much to outline the need from jumping columns to columns in a platform game. The storyline gives players the inherent need to engage in a weak effort to create a purpose for swinging from well placed poles and columns throughout the palace, but there are certainly notable and enjoyable moments despite the repetitive gameplay design.
The heart of the game mechanics lies is in the acrobatic gameplay, the notable ability to rewind time, and finally the abilities system planted in nature. The ability to rewind time makes a consequential return yet keeps the challenge as there is only a limited time interval that can be used for rewinding a certain scenario. The new abilities create the majority of the gameplay mechanics, and are very strongly implemented if sometimes feeling a bit overused. The abilities are meant to reveal how the Prince can wield powers of nature and time, and can this unparalleled mastery over his environment and his enemies. The Prince discovers that the harnessing forces of nature itself prove to be the only companion needed to his ability to rewind time, than an actual companion and no ability to rewind time out of the Sands of Time universe, as the last title used Elika in a major pendulum support for the gameplay interaction. The ability to solidify water for a short period of time is the feature that is used the most and is also used in the obstacles to progress gameplay which is initially enjoyable, but when you reach the fifth or sixth area in the palace that has a water theme it starts to feel a bit tacked on. Another ability is rushing towards an enemy in mid-flight to jump wider gaps, although well implemented, starts to become overused and rather blasé. There are also four powers you can upgrade to: trail of fire, stone armour, whirlwind and ice blast, but all seem quite weak and unessential to any combat to be rather meaningful. The combat itself is again flawed with the same enemies cropping up time and time again and giving ample warning to avoid their attacks which provides a detriment to any meaningful challenges throughout the game.
The Forgotten Sands is still an excellent addition to the Prince of Persia series but does not match up to the standards set by Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. While the previous Prince of Persia title did not have the significant ability to rewind time, it did have something more meaningful: better gameplay, and a great atmosphere with a humorous mood all set in a brilliant storybook setting and blue overtone that earned it our highly prestigious WhatIfGaming Prize: Editor’s Choice. For all the things Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands does correctly to reach a nostalgic existence in the Sands of Time universe, it reveals major problems in terms of the rest of the gameplay that make this nostalgia all too forgettable.