He chose Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.
For those that are unaware, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is a third-person action-adventure video-game published by Ubisoft. It was released in 2003, and marked a reboot of the landmark video-game series created by Jordan Mechner in 1989.
The previous installment had gotten positive reception from most critics and gamers. They were regarded primarily for their realistic graphics at the time, and for working to set the stage for platforming franchises like Tomb Raider, who ultimately took the ball and ran with it.
However, Sands of Time is oftentimes seen as the magnum opus of the franchise as a whole.
After all, It received critical acclaim, and brought the character into high-regard. This resulted in three-sequels, and a live-action movie that is, as of this writing, the highest grossing movie adaptation of a video-game ever.
There is one question that needs to be asked. For all the love that this video-game received, is it all fair, or is it all hype? I remember around four years ago, I was walking through a store. I had money to spend, and I wanted to try something new. I saw Sands of Time available for the PlayStation 2.
Strangely enough, it had the same cover as The Forgotten Sands. This told me that they apparently thought they could make a quick-buck through tricking some casual-gamers. The only difference is that it said “Sands of Time” instead of “The Forgotten Sands,” but everything else was the same.
Afterward, I went ahead and played it.
I absolutely fell in love with the experience.
Ask anybody, … I haven’t shut up about it since.
The character has left an impression on me that won’t be shedding away any time soon. In-fact, I remember whenever I first started writing reviews, I had a website called The Golden View, and Sands was the first video-game that I reviewed. When I started another review website, with a more “serious” focus on content-quality, I redid the review. On Masochist Gaming, a YouTube channel that I did with Matan that never really took off… it was the first video that I did.
This will be the fourth review that I have done for this video-game, and I think that says a lot about how much I enjoyed it.
In this video-game, you play as a nameless Prince. The Prince seeks to find honor and glory in his first battle alongside his father King Sharaman. He heads straight into Maharajah’s treasure vaults, where he discovers the Sands of Time contained within an Hourglass and the Dagger of Time. The dagger is capable of turning back time a short amount, which is actually a heavily used feature in the experience. The Prince proudly presents it to his father, but a traitor named Vizier demands that it be given to him as payment. Sharaman declines, and so, Vizier tricks the Prince into using the Dagger to cause a horrific sandstorm that engulfs the kingdom and turns all of the occupants of the palace into monsters. Except for the Prince, Vizier, and a woman named Farah. The Prince escapes, and now, alongside Farah, they work toward finding a way to return the sands to the hour-glass.
The themes attended are simple, but they are done very well. Both Farah and the Prince are likable characters. The Prince is particularly entertaining, and there’s enough time for a bond to form between the characters. It isn’t the utmost characterizations, it doesn’t give an in-depth on everything about them, but it introduces them into a situation and let’s them deal with it organically. Other-wise, it’s a neat and adventurous concept with tons of potential. There’s a lot that actually helps to set the stage for Sands of Time to really be appreciated. Most obviously, as mentioned, there’s the fact the Prince feels easy-going and light-heart. He talks to himself and tells a lot of particularly bad jokes throughout. However, the score for this was also very memorable. The music really grounds you in the fantasy, but the graphics and scenery are even more immersing. It isn’t enough to say that the graphics are high-quality for the time, or that something looks particularly realistic. It looks beautiful! It’s something that you’d show somebody in one of those “Are Video-Games Art?” debates.
All of this is well and good, but what about the game-play? The fighting mechanics bring very fluent animation, and while they might feel a little bit wonky at first, I found them very easy to get used to. It can become very fast-paced and flow well, and the acrobatics incorporating in combat make it a lot of fun to do. The platforming is the best that I have ever seen in a video-game. I have said this before about Uncharted, Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed, or even the later Prince of Persia video-games. The moment that I am always waiting for when it comes to the platforming, is a moment when there are no cut-scenes as a distraction, and there aren’t bad-guys thrown in to fill up a room. I am waiting for a moment where it just seems like more and more platforming for a long time. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time lets it all hangout and offers that up.
The way that they incorporated the Dagger of Time is really brilliant as well, it makes it feel a little more forgiving, and allows you to pinpoint the specific spot where trial and error needs to happen. Other-wise, the game offers up plenty of challenge in the combat and platforming as a whole. If there is one problem at all, throughout the entire experience, I think it would probably be that some of the puzzles are a little bizarre. I remember there is one where you have to roll in water, and distinguish the sounds of the splashes to find which way that you are supposed to go. (or something like that) And, uh, how the hell am I supposed to do that.
Even still, if that’s the only flaw that I can think of, I consider myself as a happy-camper. It might have really only been one or two smaller puzzles, and besides them, I liked a lot of the puzzles. In conclusion, this review might seemed overly positive, but that’s what I guy reviewing his favorite game is going to sound like. I have never played a platforming experience like it, and while it has certainly been outmatched in-terms of story, I have never seen something that I had more fun with while playing.
Thanks for reading…