Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Review

posted 12/31/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
Buy this game. Seriously, buy it now. That’s all I really want to say about Ubi Soft Montreal’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time but then again, that wouldn’t make for a very good review now would it? Allow me to rephrase this then in a manner that is more time and space consuming than the aforementioned. Never have I played a game that’s so unique yet at the same time is so familiar. A game that is so unique yet at the same time is amazingly comfortable and recognizable. It’s like falling in love with that special someone, you know you’ve felt it before yet the experience feels entirely new and refreshing. This is exactly what playing Sands of Time feels like, it’s like falling in love all over again, but instead of loving a woman you’re loving one of 2003’s best video games.

Our premise isn’t anything new here. A good-natured son tries to do everything in his power to get into his father’s favor. Upon retrieving an age-old artifact he inadvertently sets off a trap that turns those around him into sand. Now the weight of the world is upon his shoulders to reverse the process and restore order to the land. Throughout the course of the game you’ll travel through a wide variety of locales including some palaces, underground caverns, an outdoor aviary and more. Prince of Persia’s storyline probably won’t be winning any awards for originality but that doesn’t matter too much, it’s the gameplay that will really keep you coming back for more.

Those who were old enough to experience the original PoP probably remember the insane amount of jumping puzzles that populated that title. Well they’re back but in all of these years our hero has learned a few new tricks that make this game all the more enjoyable. In addition to performing the usual leaps and jumps that we’ve become accustomed to in our platformers our hero can also perform a number of gravity-defying maneuvers. Think of a Middle-Eastern version of the Matrix and you can begin to comprehend the scope of our hero’s arsenal. He can run up walls, run alongside walls, jump off of walls, swing on poles, sidle along walls and more. While these all sound gimmicky they’re all utilized in practical ways that make them seem more like an integral part of the gameplay instead of a lame afterthought.

Unlike some action and platforming games, our hero’s awesome moves are more than just style and flair. They’re all a crucial part of the game’s numerous jumping puzzles. At times it gets pretty insane, you’ll find yourself running along walls, hopping off of that wall onto an adjacent ledge, jumping off of that wall and then running along another wall so that you can hop onto another opposite ledge. It’s insane yes, but the manner in which it comes together is truly a work of art. At the same time the controls are so smooth and intuitive that you feel like you always have complete control over the situation. You’ll think back and say to yourself “how in the hell did I just do that” but at the same time you’ll brush it off as if it were nothing, thanks to some of the best controls that we’ve ever seen.
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