For me, the most exciting demo at PAX was the XBox 360 version of Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. Set between The Sands of Time (2003) and Warrior Within (2004)*, this latest installment follows the Prince as he fights his way through his brother’s royal palace:
Visiting his brother’s kingdom following his adventure in Azad, the Prince finds the royal palace under siege from a mighty army bent on its destruction. When the decision is made to use the ancient power of the Sand in a desperate gamble to save the kingdom from total annihilation, the Prince will embark on an epic adventure in which he will learn to bear the mantle of true leadership, and discover that great power often comes with great responsibility.
Fans of The Sands of Time will recognize a number of familiar elements: rewinding time, running across walls, avoiding traps, and of course leaping back and forth across chasms and hazards. The acrobatics puzzle-solving elements are all here, and they’re complimented by stunning visuals and some intriguing new gameplay features.
The most compelling new feature is that of the elemental power, which allows you to freeze water. Geysers become poles, fountains become walls, and otherwise impassable gaps or heights become easily accessible. Combined with the ability to manipulate time, gameplay is dynamic, fast-paced, and fun. And as before in The Sands of Time, rewinding means that what would be a game over in most jumping puzzles can be quickly tried again without beginning the whole level over.
From what I could tell this is going to be a worthy sequel and I’m certainly looking forward to its release in May of this year. The game is set to coincide with the Jerry Bruckheimer Sands of Time film and, theoretically, capitalize on the momentum of the hoped-for summer blockbuster. We’ll see about that one.
For some video of gameplay and interviews with the developers, check out the trailer that Ubisoft released earlier this month.
*The original story concluded in 2005 with The Two Thrones, so this expands the trilogy. The last installment, Prince of Persia (2008), is an unrelated story. Read Tor.com’s review of that one here.
Torie Atkinson hopes that one day there will be a Prince of Persia / Assassin’s Creed crossover. A girl can dream, right?