Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Spotlight

Digital FoundryPoP: Forgotten Sands performance analysis

Frame-rates and tear levels on PS3 and 360.

Digital FoundryPoP: Forgotten Sands 360/PS3 Face-Off

See how the Prince looks on each HD console.

Digital FoundryXbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3: Round 26

Split/Second, Lost Planet 2, Green Day: Rock Band, Prince of Persia and Backbreaker.

Key events

Ubisoft scrapped modern Prince of Persia

Think The Day After Tomorrow, with sand.

Ubisoft started work on a Prince of Persia game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox set in the modern day but later decided to scrap it, according to a former employee of the French publisher.

Xbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3: Round 26

Digital FoundryXbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3: Round 26

Split/Second, Lost Planet 2, Green Day: Rock Band, Prince of Persia and Backbreaker.

Another month, another multi-game Xbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3 Face-Off. Let's get the party started with all the stats, videos, comparison galleries and performance analyses you crave, derived from an eye-watering array of big names and quality wares.

Thankfully the mania of the release schedule diminishes as we enter summer, perhaps allowing us to do some catch-up coverage on other titles, but the immediate future is E3: Project Natal, Move, Nintendo 3DS, OnLive, Gaikai, and masses of AAA titles for us to preview. Woo! In the meantime, let's get this show on the road.

Split/Second: Velocity

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Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Once you POP, you can't stop. So seems to be the case as far as Ubisoft's concerned, anyway. More than two decades after the original game's debut, the Prince of Persia is back. Again. And he's everywhere. There he is in your local cinema, trying to get off with Gemma Arterton and pretending to be surprised that Ben Kingsley is up to no good. There he is on the PC, the PS3 and the Xbox 360, appearing in a game which has a go but ultimately ends up being a bit 6/10. And here he is on the Wii.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands isn't based on the new movie. That's despite the fact our hero bears a striking resemblance to the Prince in the film, who as everyone knows is played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who as everyone knows is played by Justin-Bobby out of The Hills. Nor is it a sequel to the 2008 series reboot, which introduced an "illustrative art style" and open-world structure, and also turned out to be a bit 6/10. Nor is it a port of the game Dan recently reviewed, despite sharing the same name.

This version has been built for the Wii from the ground up. It's even got a different storyline - some nonsense about a genie and a magic sword and the Prince wanting to impress his Dad. However, there's plenty here which will be familiar to anyone who's played a Prince of Persia game before. Your mission is to run, jump, swing and slash your way through a series of beige environments, solving a variety of puzzles along the way. It's as if Ubisoft has upended the hourglass and taken us all the way back to the Sands of Time era.

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Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Do you remember the time?

If you make a mistake, rewind and try again. That's been the implicit motto of the Prince of Persia series since 2003, but now it seems that life is imitating art as the ambivalently received 2008 reboot is unceremoniously ignored in favour of this "interquel", squeezed in between The Sands of Time and its angsty 2004 follow-up, Warrior Within, in the official canon.

This revisionist approach is likely to appease the fans who felt the new direction was too easy, since in almost every respect The Forgotten Sands both looks and plays like The Sands of Time. That's a good thing, clearly, since The Sands of Time remains a fine game. But it's also a disappointment of sorts, a worrying sign of creative retreat that suggests that having had its fingers burned with criticism of the 2008 game, Ubisoft's Montreal studio has stopped trying to find new ways to develop the series and has decided to fall back on elements that they already know will find favour with players.

The result is a game that's easy to enjoy, but almost impossible to be passionate about. In fact everything that deserves praise is the same as it was in 2003, when the praise came not only because it was fun but also because it was fresh. The Forgotten Sands offers familiar comforts over thrilling surprises, and inevitably misses its potential because of this overly cautious approach.

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If I was going to make a movie about the Prince of Persia, I probably wouldn't need Donnie Darko, that mega-fox lady everyone really fancies and loads of olde time armour. Instead, my film would be set in the first years of the 21st century, and it would be about a team of game designers who had the misfortune to create something almost perfect, which they could then, driven by the need for innovation, never quite find again. (Granted, this movie probably wouldn't make very much money, but on the plus side you wouldn't have to insure many camels to get through principal photography.)

Bruckheimer working on two new games

Plus: POP movie is "Shakespearean".

Hollywood mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer has confirmed he's still up for producing games - stating that in fact, he's got two in the works right now.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Once more unto the beach.

"It's not the game of the movie, the movie is the movie of the game." That's the official line about this latest Prince of Persia do-over's relationship to the upcoming Jake Gyllenhaal blockbuster. One look at the cover art, huge standees of which adorn the room I'm playing The Forgotten Sands in, proves this isn't exactly a total separation of console church and silver-screen state, however. Donnie Darko's face might be replaced by that of a handsome, swarthy stranger, but the hair, the clothes, the pose, the font are a spit for the movie's poster.

New Prince of Persia confirmed for May

New Prince of Persia confirmed for May

Ubi reveals more details of next instalment.

Ubisoft has confirmed that Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands will hit the shops in May.

The PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii version of the game will launch in Europe on 14th May, two days after it arrives in the US. The other versions (PC, DS and PSP) aren't mentioned, but you can bet they won't be long - the new Prince of Persia movie is also out that month and it's all about the tie-in.

The Forgotten Sands sees our hero exploring a mysterious realm, and fighting to save a mysterious palace from some mysterious evil. He's more acrobatic than ever these days, able to negotiate through traps, solve tricky puzzles and bosh giant bosses. The Prince also enjoys mucking about with sand and can use it to open up new areas for exploration.

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New Prince of Persia detailed

Time and nature powers for Princey.

Ubisoft has revealed that Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands takes place between the stories of The Sands of Time and Warrior Within and incorporates "powers of nature" alongside time-manipulation.