It's a short game as well, or at least one of those games that feel far shorter than they actually are thanks to the almost total lack of storyline or character. The connection to The Sands of Time is non-existent, with the events of that game never referenced and the lead-in to Warrior Within reduced to a broad and not very convincing justification for how the likeable rogue from the former became the scowling death machine of the latter.
Apart from the Prince and his brother there's only one other speaking part - a sexy female Djinn who I like to call the Ethnic Exposition Lady. You run into her at regular intervals so she can dump another load of back-story in your lap and grant you another magical power before sending you back for another few hours of beige, trap-laden corridors and massive brawls. The villain of the piece is just a giant monster that stamps around and bellows incoherently, and the pithy banter that gave The Sands of Time its endearing matinee charm has all but vanished.
It'll take a few evenings at most to finish the story on the default difficulty setting, and then all you've got to draw you back are a perfunctory time trial offering and a challenge mode that offers eight short waves of enemies to defeat as quickly as possible. Given that you'll be using your powered-up Prince from the completed game, it takes less than five minutes to exhaust the entertainment potential of this half-baked morsel.
It's so frustrating. Revisiting the beloved Sands of Time should be a recipe for success, but this is one of those games that squander their potential not through bad design but passable functionality, hours of moderate amusement merging into a soporific whole where no single moment stands out. No matter what powers you wield in the game, time hasn't stood still in real life and such complacency is dangerous, the swashbuckling mantle already inherited and evolved by the likes of Uncharted and Ubisoft stable-mate Assassin's Creed. Indeed, the Assassin Tombs in Creed's vastly improved sequel are practically a template for how Prince of Persia should look today.
By focussing so intently on what players responded to in 2003, there's no room to develop the ideas that might resonate in 2010. For all its flaws, the 2008 version refused to stand still. What we get here feels like a place-holder, a nostalgic diversion that exists so there's product on the shelves to coincide with the movie, rather than something driven by a flash of inspiration as to where the series could go next. For all its basic surface pleasures, The Forgotten Sands seems content to indulge our fondness for the past without ever giving us reason to be excited about the future.