Wednesday, April 11, 2012

VGR PoP Forgotten Sands [DS 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 "DS version" available exclusively for the Nintendo DS system.

VGR: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
From Ubisoft/Ubisoft Casablanca
Played on Nintendo DS
Also available on /

Type Sidescrollin' 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 Sony PSP and can be seen as yet another separate adventure with no clear ties to the main series.

More precisely, this one seems to be a direct sequel of the HD Forgotten Sands as the djinn Razia is seen here still trapped, living the Prince's sword.

This game is also quite reminiscent of the 2008 game Fallen King, it seems Ubisoft Casablanca might has well been working on a pseudo-sequel of the adventures of that other prince before turning this title into a well timed Forgotten Sands chapter just in time for the live movie.
As such, the game was built upon that other game's engine, gameplay. (so, don't hesitate to check that previous review ;))

We're off to a good start...

The story opens up in medias res, as we join our mysterious Prince once more, as he awakens during a sort of ritual he's being part of.
It seems our hero has been abducted by a cult this time. They brought our hero to a temple somewhere in India, used his sword which was still containing the djinn Razia and obtain the royal blood of our hero as a sacrifice to bring back their mysterious "demonic" master.
This new evil escapes from the temple...with a price. Our Prince lost his memories and Razia is left powerless, trapped in the form of a yellow Navi-like creature.

As the Prince escapes from this place, he falls down into the dungeon. (back to the roots of the series?)
The dark ceremony was responsible for his disorientation.
The bad guys mutated into some kind of sand creatures.
Now trying to get his lost memories back and Razia's powers, they escape from the collapsed temple and go on a quest that will bring them all across India to hunt down and kill the members of this cult.

It's good to be the Prince!

I say story but that's all you'll get, besides some cute comic book-style cutscenes here and there.
No voice acting here, which honestly for this sort of game wasn't really a problem.

Once their memories and powers back, the Prince will have to face the resurrected evil force behing this cult which will try to conquer Babylon, and then bring back a more familiar setting for the Sands of Time trilogy.
The "Razia and his sword"-plot will also be resolved by the end, which ties in nicely (sort of) with Warrior Within were these Forgotten Sands elements were nowhere to be seen.

As for the game itself? It's all quite simple.
The game is divided into various levels, more linear than what you're used to see in the usual games of the series, each regrouped into 4 distinct chapters each with their own visual theme.
A boss awaits you at the end of each of these worlds, as well as a new gimmick-power to use in the following episode.
Razia never flies around like those annoying tutorial aids in other games, her portrait only appears in the cutscenes.
The game uses a super deformed chibi design again, like the last DS game.

What are you selling, stranger?

The game really feels like an improved version of Fallen King.
Ubi Casablanca built upon the problems of last time.

The game is again entirely stylus-controlled. No buttons required!
It's a 3D sidescroller. Back to basic, like Jordan Mechner's original. Thus, the story might sound basic but it is also a nice throwback to a simpler "get the villain, save Persia" scenario.
You guide the Prince by holding the direction to which he will run to. He'll climb, jump, sword attack, guard quite easily.
Combat happens often in closed areas or open space, not usually during the platforming sequences. It's a return to duels like in the original games.

The gameplay really feels more precise, tighter than in Fallen Kings. It runs on the same engine, but it works better, it is more responsive.
Things answer quickly to the tap of the screen.

Power of the stylus, I call upon thee!!

As far as PoP's powers go, this is also pretty basic.
Razia will provide the Prince with some sand/time powers over the course of the game, the usual.
It's a return to more "temporal" powers. Slowing down time, going back earlier in time...

Again, all stylus-controlled. You tap on the correct power icon on the screen, and bam! Activated!

Where it gets original is that you can tap over "sand", be it little sand dusts around or flowing sand-rivers...and affect it by rubbing it.
Either solidifying sand to use it as a platform or manipulating the sand to affect you, the platforms or even enemies!

By drawing a streak that connects some sand and a villain, you can take over his controls and use his weapons or uses his unvoluntary help to activate elements/traps/etc.

It's the Power of Sand!!~

Making a return from Two Thrones is also some riding sequences on horses. Often quite easy, they more like an excuse to grab some easy rubies for later.

Speaking of which, there's a little update/management system to the game.
You collect rubies by defeating enemies, in treasure chests, etc. and can go to a merchant between levels to buy additional power-ups, new in-game costumes, new weapons.
It's all quite simple but at least it's there! (as you can see in the drawings around these very words the different clothes you can put on the Prince)

Game Over, man! Game Over!

One one side, it's a much better game than Fallen King, graphic and gameplay wise.
On another, it's so much shorter.

The game just feels a lot easier, the boss fights are some of the easiest I've seen (besides one that got me thinking and trying a lot...only to find the obvious solution was the correct one).
Gone are Zal's magic powers/puzzles. Everything much ore straight forward here (you die? go back in time!).

Overall, sure, it's nothing new or really original..but it's still a good game.
The game is very simple to get your hands on, simple to play, feels "classic".
It's that simple, a mini Prince of Persia!

The music is quite forgettable. Too simplistic and background-y unlike your usual PoP soundtracks.
But it serves its purpose.

A very easy game, thanks to powers and frequent checkpoints. Enemies are a barely actual threats, more like convenient health drops, always giving you potions to replenish your life.

Anyways, it's a fun and entertaining game. For fans of platformers, sidescrollers and the series.
I give it:
 2.5 / 3 Bruces!

No comments:

Post a Comment