The most indicative thing about Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is that it takes me tremendous effort to remember what the name of it is. Or that I even played it. It just makes you wonder what the heck Ubisoft is doing to this franchise. They destroyed the personality of the original Sands of Time trilogy to make the Prince edgy and darker. They destroyed the reboot by failing to market it as the game casual players could use as their entry point to the setting. The movie is based off the Sands of Time but this game, supposedly a tie-in to that movie, has an entirely different plot and powers that have nothing to do with the movie. Even the titular Sands have very little to do with a game supposedly about them.
The Forgotten Sands stars a new Prince, one not as emo as his Two Thrones counterpart or as cynical as the 2008 reboot. This Prince is off to visit his brother, the Prince Malik, to learn about leadership and what not. But as it turns out Malik’s kingdom is under attack. In a stunning display of “leadership,” Malik decides to unleash the Army of Solomon on the attacking force. The solution works in that the attackers stop attacking, mostly because they’ve all been transformed into rampaging sand monsters, along with anyone else they can get their grainy mitts on, save for Prince Malik and the Prince themselves, who have magical macguffins that keep them from turning into monsters.
And so begins the reoccurring theme of the Forgotten Sands: the Prince tries to find his brother, some unmitigated disaster occurs when they meet, and then they’re separated. Repeat. Like most Prince of Persia games, the Prince navigates beautifully designed environments that always make you wonder what the civil engineer and architects of Persia were smoking to come up with doors that unlock after some amazing acrobat has flipped a half dozen switches in a gigantic orrery the size of a high school. Even the Prince laments his inability to simply knock some sand statue out of his way and open a door when there’s a hopelessly convoluted path he can take where one slip could mean a broken back or worse. Early on the Prince meets Razia, a Djinn, and gains both a time-rewinding power and a few various elemental abilities. Only one is mandatory (the ice ability), and the others can be gained and upgraded via a branching skill trade with experience earned from killing sand monsters.
There is nothing in this game that could ever justify paying full price. There is no difficulty higher than normal. The only extras besides the main game is a “fight x waves of enemies” arena, and a timed version of the same arena that isn’t available unless you register for Ubisoft’s separate account on their website (yes, the same account required to play any of their PC games). There is no level select, and so the only way to go back to miss any of the hidden sarcophagi needed for the achievement is to start the game over in its entirety as there’s also no backtracking in-game (there’s a reason that particular achievement is named “Got Walkthrough?”). There hasn’t even been any DLC to extend the meager story.
This Prince of Persia should probably stay forgotten.