Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Hands-On

The prince returns to the Sands of Time universe in another new adventure and on another platform.

Like the other Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands games across various consoles, the PlayStation Portable version takes place during the seven-year gap between the previous Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and Warrior Within. What makes this one unique is that it's a side scrolling 2.5D platformer where you're essentially on rails as you navigate through a 3D world. Even though your path is pretty obvious, some puzzle-solving is required to get to where you need to go and there are some tricky platforming sections that will take time to master. It's a change of pace from exploring vast 3D environments, and the stages are broken up in such a way that you can easily replay them to perfect your score.

The story takes place after the prince's adventure in Azad, where he finds out that many of his cousins have mysteriously disappeared. The culprit is a powerful fire spirit who, legend has foretold, would eventually be defeated by a lonely hero with the blood of a king. Knowing this, the evil spirit has been killing every man with royal blood to ensure its survival. As the young and brash prince, you receive help from a female spirit by the name of Helem, who offers to lead you to the one responsible for hurting your family in exchange for helping her free her sisters from imprisonment. By joining forces with this enigmatic spirit, you'll also gain the power to manipulate time to help you along with your quest.

Helem is like a firefly that circles ahead of you and will highlight points of interest. When you gain the ability to manipulate the flow of sand, you'll use her like a cursor and can only control the target that she hovers over. This is similar to the water freezing ability in the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC versions of The Forgotten Sands where, in this case, you slow down time to solidify the flow of sand, as well as use it like a pole from which to vault. By speeding up time, the sand will shoot out and you can use it to push enemies or bring you to higher ground if you happen to be standing on a geyser. This power can also be helpful to slow enemies and traps, so you can make short work of them with your sword or move quickly past spiked columns.

You can replenish your health at fountains, which also serve as checkpoints and places to upgrade your health or abilities. As you go through the levels, you collect elixirs, which can be traded in to give you more health or upgrade to stronger attacks. Each time you finish a map or stage, your score is calculated based on the number of elixirs, the number of recalls, and the amount of time you spent, so you can always go back to try to perfect your score. You're given a limited number of recalls, which can be increased as you progress through the game and allow you to continue from the last checkpoint in case you die. When you're out of recalls, you're bumped back to the fountain, which can be quite far back.

Our demo build gave us a variety of levels to play through so we were able to check out the stages that were more combat heavy as opposed to some that were all about perfectly timed jumps. Combat is straightforward; you use the square button to slash, and if you can time it right, you can execute some effective combos. The circle button is used to block or do a dodge roll if you're moving. You can also use it to toss an enemy over your head by jumping on its head first with the X button. You use the right and left shoulder buttons to manipulate the flow of sand, as you pull off graceful acrobatic maneuvers along stone walls or conveniently placed poles.

Use your sand powers to reach new heights.

The art style in The Forgotten Sands is similar to the other games, and though the graphics can't compete with the other consoles, it still looks good on the PSP. There's more of a hand-drawn style to the cutscenes and menus. Even though we were limited in terms of exploring various locales because we were stuck on one plane, there's quite a bit of detail regardless of whether we were in the wind swept desert or the mystical ethereal realm.

Look for Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands when it is released for the PSP on May 18. For more information on the Wii version, as well as the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC versions, read here and here.

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Discussion

24 comments
davonas
davonas

this game look kind of crappy I think the PS3 and the PS2 looks more better and the controls are suck

mariobros210
mariobros210

So basically Helem is the firefly from Legend of Zelda?

arjun143143143
arjun143143143

When is the review coming out for the psp version ? I hope is gets around 8 :-)

ifoundyou37
ifoundyou37

i like the ps3 one i wish this game would be like then i would buy it

Mantuzasoff
Mantuzasoff

I like Prince of Persia. The PSP is better with the sidescrolling. When i played the free roam prince of persia, it had many fails. So we will see how it will look like on May 18.

ivan1227
ivan1227

Side-scroller? Daamn now game be too easy... 2 previous parts be hard bcoz they are in full 3D not 2.5D..

viotyers
viotyers

Will there be a demo for this?!

piotrjustyna
piotrjustyna

Doesn't it look beautiful? This is definitely a strong title.

Gnesh500
Gnesh500

I actually prefer good sidescrolling over free-roam

Malhound
Malhound

@jamyskis The PSP can time and par with the PSOne and PS2 graphics, not PS3's or X-box's, so some publishers want to make dumbed-down ports of console games. The PC ports are different. The X-box 360 is expensive in worldwide sales, ya know? The PSP ports of some games has less features and some of the console ports' features are missing in the PSP versions of their games.

Malhound
Malhound

The original Prince of Persia game was 2d, so it wlll return to it's 2D roots (for this version). Remember the PSP version of TMNT? its a failure in game-play. This game will not run on 5.00 or previous PSP Firmware. The original Prince of Persia was one of the best 2D platformers of all time, released in 1989. (THANK motopsycho650 for the comment!)

fury99
fury99

it looks good, can't wait to play it

MontyPython4-r
MontyPython4-r

Sidescrollin'??? I will NOT buy it and replay Rival Swords instead :(

motopsycho650
motopsycho650

The original Prince of Persia was one of the best 2D plaformers of it's time. Good to see one returning to it's 2D roots. This could be pretty cool.

viotyers
viotyers

This looks sweet...I love Prince of Persia

DeviLBringeRRR
DeviLBringeRRR

Prince of Persia and Devil May Cry best action games

Malhound
Malhound

This game will run on firmware 6.00

never-named
never-named

Wow, really wasn't expecting this! Hopefully the game will be fully decked with time attack modes, online leaderboards and...[gulp]...a level creator!

jamyskis
jamyskis

PSP games were doomed to fail from the outset as soon as they tried to simply copy their bigger brothers. Warrior Within was an excellent game on the PC and PS2, but in spite of excellent porting on PSP it just didn't work, most certainly not with the analogue nub (which I hardly ever use). I think Ubisoft is trying to reestablish their PSP base by providing low-budget, casual games as counterparts to their more complex home console versions, which IHMO is a great idea, and I believe that they've clued in to the fact that traditional genres using 3D graphics work well on the PSP (see Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins, Castlevania). What Sony and other publishers have forgotten until now is that almost all PSP owners have other consoles or a PC that they play on at home. The PSP is usually just to itch that scratch in between. When it comes to choosing between a dumbed-down, jerky port of a PS3 or PC game or the real deal, most will opt for the real deal. I personally don't mind purchasing another version of a game for the PSP that I have for the PC or PS2/3 if it is different and good enough - for example, I like both Need for Speed: MW on the PC and MW 5-1-0 on the PSP. I might have bought Outrun 2006 or Tekken 6 for the PSP, but why should I when I have the far superior PC and PS3 versions? So, two thumbs up to Ubisoft for recognising this fact! May the clever sods that thought this up replace the idiots that botched the company's PC operations.

mayankahuja
mayankahuja

looks good will buy it for sure.......

homeslice101
homeslice101

c0oooooooooooooooooooooooooooool i hope the ps3 one is bettar