I just finished playing Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, or as I like to call it, Prince of Persia: Pottery Hater. This game was a pretty lame entry in the Prince of Persia franchise. Despite the often ridiculous wall running, environment manipulating puzzles I beat it in two days. I spent much of that time swearing at the tv due to the time sensitive nature of several of said puzzles. What about the enemies, you ask? Sand zombies spawned by a demonic Djinn. That’s a genie. Think the Jafar genie from Disney’s Aladdin, but really angry with glowing eyes, at least 6 horns curling out of his head, and cursing you in a language you won’t understand.

The best part of the game for me was the pottery smashing and the story I created for the prince and his compulsive need to break every fancy vase he saw. It was the games fault really. The pottery often contained health and magic power orbs, so it was useful to break them occasionally, I just took it too far. I was compelled to smash every vase I saw, I couldn’t resist. I went out of my way to smash them. I found myself saying “Fuck yo pots!” while chuckling with glee. During encounters with large groups of enemies I would run away to smash pots. “Hold on guys, just let me break these first. I’ll be right with you. Hey, stop hitting me. Why do you even care? It’s not like these are YOUR pots, so back off! No it’s cool, really. These are my brother’s pots and he said to go for it. He’s got too many. They’re springing up like weeds, it’s a real problem. I don’t even have to worry about cleaning up the pieces, that’s what he has servants for.”  Pure joy.

Another thing about this game that stuck out to me is that you never seemed to be on the ground floor. There was  a moment in the intro movie, and then during the final boss fight, but that’s it. The entire rest of the game, no matter where you were standing, you were only a few steps or swings away from falling to your death. I never had any sense of where “the ground” actually was. I found it unsettling. In the back of my mind I was always trying to figure out where I was relative to ground level. When you’re wall running and trying to make precise jumps from one beam to another in a death defying fashion you really don’t need that extra distraction gnawing at you.

In closing, if you want to play a good Prince of Persia game from this console generation, choose the cell shaded one.

~Penguin