Saturday, November 26, 2011

VGR PoP Forgotten Sands [PSP Version]

The Sands of Time Trilogy might have been closed with Two Thrones but with a new interest in the series thanks to a movie adaptation, Ubisoft thought it was a good commercial move to bring the series back in an all-new episode just for this time.

The game was released amongst most systems. In what I like to call the "Forgotten Sands chapters" (which would have made a much better title for this game IMO).
Like Untold tales or Missing chapters, all these games across the different consoles aren't the same but instead different episodes taking place in the 7 years gab between The Sands of Time and Warrior Within.
This is a review of the "PSP version" available exclusively for the PSP system.

VGR: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
From Ubisoft/Ubisoft Quebec
Played on PSP
Also available on /
Type Sidescrolling platformer
Year 2010

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands on the PSP system is another "interquel" episode in the Prince of Persia series taking place in the time gap in-between Sands of Time and Warrior Within.
It is unrelated to the other Forgotten Sands game on the HD systems and can be seen as yet another separate adventure with no clear ties to the main series.

Since this episode was also developed by Ubisoft Quebec, reusing a lot of assets, graphics, sounds and event gameplay elements of the Wii Forgotten Sands, I like to consider this one its direct sequel.
Various elements since to agree with this idea, like the Prince having another genie-sidekick, facing lots of incredible creatures/magic (which he stated was a first on the Wii installment). Also he exits this tale more decided to prove himself, wiser - which could tie easily into the Xbox 360/PS3 episode.

This time around the story is kinda unique.
Fresh from his adventures in Azad, problems seem to have followed the Prince right away and not the other way around.
It sort of foreshadows what would happen to the Prince in Two Thrones, having a sort of Damocles hanging over his head in the form of a monster/destiny chasing our hero...which he ends up confronting himself.

A long time ago, a prophecy was written, in which a member of the royal family of Persian would bring an end to a mystical creature, Ahihud the dark spirit of fire.
Sensing his end come to a close, the creature decided to leave his hid and strike at all the royal bloodline throughout the lands.
Believed the monster to be only a myth, but yet in the light of the recent attempts on his family, seeking protection the noble King Sharaman decided to put all of his sons under protection in the city of Babylon. Hearing someone calling for him, one night, the Prince made a run for it and escaped his tower in the direction of a mysterious light...

The light turned out to be Helem, a djinn, and spirit of Time.

This PSP Forgotten Sands is closer to the original 1989 PoP than the recent 3D parkour-inspired Ubisoft episodes.

First of all it is what some call a 2.5D platformer, simply put, a sidescroller.
But the game is running on the same engine as the Wii version nonetheless (which featured lots of sidescrolling segments as well, probably developed alongside this game).

Which means the Prince is back to basics, no more camera angles-problems or loads of melee fights.
Running, jumping, climbing. The gameplay is all quite intuitive and easy to get a hang of.

As long as you explore Persia and get closer and closer to Ahihud, you will travel through magical lands and free more of the Helem's sister, the Daughters of Time.
They will grant you new powers and abilities, as it is the custom in most PoP games. But sort of like the Wii "interactive powers", no time remote this time around. Instead you will gain the ability to slow down or accelerate zones/elements/foes. It gives these powers a more straighter approach and confine them to gameplay instead of facilitating your game (time rewind serves to make the other PoP games bearable to novies afterall).

The game is also lacking the more "beat 'em all" approach of the franchise present in most modern PoP games.
It is all about the platforming experience.

There is some combats, duels mostly on 1-on-1 or up to more enemies sometimes...but they're still basically duels in which some random enemies will fly around/respawn/annoy you while the main objective will be to deal with the principal opponent.
There's not a lot of them, even the Prince will comically remark on the lack of enemies around this time.

Which is nice if you ask me, it was about time the annoying combats got shoveled in the background to bring back the exploration and platform to the scene.

Ahihud is trying to devour the magic that inhabits the land, what people call Elixirs.
(little throwback to the original elixirs the Prince used to drink in the earlier games)
Defeating monsters will grant the Prince Elixirs. Which are then used as currency to either upgrade his strength (attacks, combos..) or vitality (health bar, life..). 
You can also buy making off elements from the main menu, like unlockable artworks, concept arts, music...
The game is also unique to the Ubisoft produced Prince of Persias games, like the Wii version was, in the sense that it relies on a proper Life system.
What people complained about the fantastic 2008 game, it not proposing an actual life system and using Elika to respawn immediately, while actually the whole series of PoP never actually having proper lives/punishing deaths. Well, this time you have a certain amount of lives. You can save your progress and replenish your lives & health at fountains of water. Losing all your health will lose one of your lives. Losing one life brings you back to the beginning of the current room/screen. Losing all of them will kill you for good and a backtrack to the earlier fountain it is.
Exactly like the Wii Forgotten Sands actually.

There's some pretty fun and interesting bosses too.
Not too many of them, just the ones that were okay to have around here story-wise. Like a gigantic guardian Ahihud has around the palace, or the sand monster-assassin who was hunting down the Prince's relatives.

Overall, it is easily my favorite of all the versions of the Forgotten Sands Ubisoft released simultaneously.

The game is quite long. There's some replay value, you can replay earlier levels to either complete a perfect score on them (based on time, collectibles and whatnot), find all the Elixirs or totally upgrade the Prince.
There's some fun portions of the game played in the "spirits realm", where you have to free Helem's sisters in magical settings which will make you use your grey matter to process through the traps using all of your powers.

The music is decent, mostly probably lifted off the Wii title like the character models.

The game starts kinda simple but it will gradually get harder and harder, until the final "boss level" which is also the most complicated and interesting level, design-wise. It will make use of all your abilities while losing them at first only to regain them one by one.

Great fun game, original, well executed. I wish the Xbox 360/PS3 Forgotten Sands could have been at least half as good as this...

I give it:
 2 / 3 Bruces!


  1. good review! thanks!

  2. Actually innitioly the game is the Prince going to see his brother. He later then gets to the castle however it is currently being invaded. When his brother thinks that the only way to save his brother is to unleash The Forgotten Sands. However in doing this he kills all of his men for they are turned to statues by the creatures. In the attempt to save everything they have left they try to seal up the castle and kill all of the army. But when The Prince is told how to save the kingdom Phillipe is sceptical. This later causes his brother to loose his sanity. He "kills" Raditz (the villan) and then his soul goes into the Prince's brother Phillipe. The prince does not wish to kill his brother but in the end he has no choice. In the final stand off the Prince kills Radiz thus killing his brother. However all of the creatures were destroyed and the men were free from being stone. And I forgot to mention that the pendents that the Prince and Phillipe had were keeping them from being turned into stone. The way you described it was Like Warrior Within mixed with Sands of Time. Also I'm sorry if i triggered you, but you'll probably just go ranting to your friends sorry to waist your time.

    1. "you'll probably just go ranting to your friends "