In this instalment of the Prince Of Persia (PoP), the Prince seeks to save his brother Malik from a powerful undead army with the aid of Queen Razia, the leader of the djinns.
Like previous PoP games, the Prince uses his amazing acrobatic ability to traverse seemingly inaccessible places by shimmying on narrow ledges, leaping from pillar to pillar, swinging off horizontal bars and defying gravity by scaling vertical surfaces.
Being true to the PoP series, much of the game involves using the Prince's nifty acrobatic and timed jumps to solve intricate puzzles and overcome elaborate traps.
What is new here is the Prince's power over the elements. Early in the game, Queen Razia will bestow the power of Flow on the Prince that lets him solidify water on demand. This lends a whole new dimension to puzzle solving. For instance, the Prince can solidify water streaming down to form columns and walls that he can climb on and horizontal jets into bars that he can swing off.
Armed with a scimitar, the Prince metes out punishment to hordes of enemies, including the undead army, hellish fiends and magicians who raise the undead on demand.
Apart from using his acrobatic skills for some spectacular aerial attacks, the Prince can also pitch the assailants over the parapets or plunge his scimitar into an enemy.
Killing enemies yields experience points for upgrading the Prince's health and attack power. It can also be used to increase the duration of time that can be rewound should you slip up as well as other magical abilities such as Whirlwind to knock enemies down.
The game's beautiful ornate designs give life to otherwise dull and monochromatic sceneries of castle interiors. Queen Razia's magical domain is both surreal and beautiful. Voice acting is excellent as is the character animation, making the Prince in the game hotter than Jake Gyllenhaal in the upcoming movie.
The bane of this game is the poor camera angle. With a limited view in tight corners, you are often forced to perform a blind leap of faith in the direction you think has something for you to grab on to. Also, as the camera angle switches perspectives, the direction to control the Prince changes as well, resulting in some blunders when 'left' in one screen becomes 'top' in another view.
Despite the camera angle problem, which most PoP gamers should be used to by now, Forgotten Sands is a thoroughly enjoyable game that challenges both brain and brawn, with heart-stopping action that guarantees sweaty palms.
Support structures made of water can be frozen for only a limited time, so always strategise before making a leap as they may liquefy before you plan your next move. Some obstacles, such as a waterfall between two water jets, require good coordination and timing to alternately freeze and unfreeze in order to jump from a water bar to the next without hitting the solid water wall.
When you slip, rewind immediately as the duration of this option is limited. If you find that you rely on the rewind function very often, use experience points to upgrade to a longer rewind duration.
When facing Bosses that require you to use slower power attacks, kill most but not all of the annoying minions first, so you can focus on the Boss. Save some weak and slower moving minions for the health spheres they release when killed - these are useful if the Boss drastically reduces your health.
Some puzzles involve radial levers. These may activate four types of action for each quadrant turned, so try turning them fully and observe the full effects before you rush to attempt the puzzle.
Yap Hui Bin is a freelance writer and an avid gamer.
This story was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life.
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