785th played so far

Genre: Action/Platform
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 2003
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft

The original Prince of Persia was a stand out platformer, its animation standing out but the full game having a story and set up that was quite appealing. It’s a game where straight up sequels could never quite get there – add too much and the charm goes away, change too little and it won’t improve on the original. For that reason, one of the few sequels of the game that was acclaimed was Sands of Time, which instead is a 3D action adventure game, though (as our genre list says) with more platforming.

Our Thoughts

I didn’t connect the heritage of the game until I was a while in. This game has its free running elements and it preceeds the release of Assassin’s Creed by four years, but is made by the same studio and presumably at least partially the same team. And while the focus isn’t entirely on open world exploration, there are decent chunks of levels where the height matters. These manifest more as puzzles in a section, but it is good to see the DNA where these systems came from.

They do need polish – there are, for example, several ways to run up a wall, while they trigger from the same button, and it can feel a bit down to luck whether you can make certain jumps or get the angle wrong. It doesn’t always feel good or natural, but it’s getting there.

The combat system, the other side of the game, is clunkier. First of all, it has the annoying feature that you need to “retrieve” an enemy’s soul to dispatch it, part of the lore of why the undead attack you. This can be difficult to execute when others are still attacking you, but because of the relentless spawn rate it can be difficult not to get overwhelmed – there are too many enemies sometimes and it’s easy to get stunlocked in it. The block system didn’t feel great either, making the whole thing feel clunky and dissatisfying and an annoying interruption of the more interesting parts of the game.

The story isn’t very heavy, but there’s something intriguing about the middle eastern setting that makes it have that magic sometimes. It’s all half-destroyed, but at least there’s something to it here, and the magic powers it introduces later are an interesting addition. Not overly helpful, but it switches up your options enough and a rewind is always useful in a game like this.

Final Thoughts

While there is a good base game here, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time has some control issues that take Ubisoft Montreal some time to work out. It looks nice for its time, but it’s almost a shame it’s sometimes saddled wiht the name – the legacy of Prince of Persia doesn’t really do much for it.