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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
06 November 2003
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - cover art
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759 Ratings / 3 Reviews
#958 All-time
#38 for 2003
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ah this is a difficult one. i know this is a special game to a lot of people, a ps2 classic. and to be honest i can see why.

the sands of time has definitely aged well, with some super satisfying platforming, puzzles and controls. there's a little bit of clunk and inaccuracy with the platforming from time to time but honestly i kind of like it. it reminds me a lot of uncharted except the climbing sections don't just consist of pushing x and moving the analogue stick, the R1 button and more intricate swinging sections add a lot of variety and make the game a bit more difficult than you'd think.

in addition to this, the time dagger thing (sorry i didn't pay attention to the lore but mostly because i could've hear any of the dialogue and there are no subtitles) adds a lot of intrigue to the platforming and makes the game feel a lot less punishing, and obviously adds some cool attacks to your repertoire in combat.

speaking of the combat, this is by far the worst part of the game. good god it's tedious and has not aged well. i guess at the time this was probably equivalent to dark souls level combat with rolls and knowing the different enemies' tells etc. but the number of encounters i got stuck on for what felt like an hour was unacceptable, and all because enemies just seem to spawn and spawn and spawn with no sign of stopping. the roll feels very inaccurate and the fighting generally is just quite unforgiving.

however, i do think the platforming and variety in levels and environments more than makes up for this weak part. i was expecting the environments to be the same grey/brown you see at the very start of the game, but it takes you to some super interesting places you wouldn't expect. i can't believe i'm comparing this to half-life but i also love the linearity taking you through the game from start to finish as if it's one consistent path. it makes it feel like one big epic adventure.

it's easy to see why this game took kids by storm back in the day, and it took me about 7 hours to complete so is a nice little game to kill some time for some nostalgia.

fuck those bats though
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white_calx 2022-04-19T06:25:27Z
2022-04-19T06:25:27Z
3.5
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I remember when this game came out during the Gamecube era. It was well-received but it didn’t appeal to me at the time. Later, when I had nothing else to play, I picked up the sequel “Warrior Within” which looked more gritty/edgier (the Prince looks a bit too cartoony in this game). I loved Warrior Within, and I did play the reboot as well as two Forgotten Sands games (Wii and Xbox 360) which I really enjoyed too.

I’ve been meaning to play this after acquiring it years ago, and now I finally have. I was surprised at how similar the gameplay is, as I assumed some ideas were just for the sequel.

The Prince, along with his Father and his army are off to visit the Sultan of Azad. On the way, the Vizier persuades them to attack the Maharaja's palace, where many artefacts are stored. During the raid, the Prince loots an artefact called the Dagger of Time. He is tricked by the Vizier into inserting the dagger into an hourglass which unleashes some evil magic, turning people into sand monsters except the Prince, Princess Farah and the Vizier. I think the Prince is protected by the dagger, Farah has an amulet, and I’m not sure what the Vizier’s deal is.

The dagger does give the Prince the ability to slow or rewind time which he utilises to navigate the palace and hope to reverse his mistake. The rewind mechanic was a big deal at the time because it wasn’t something you saw in games. It also helps alleviate the frustration when you make mistakes, rather than waiting for loading screens and replaying long stretches of gameplay.

There is a section near the end of the game where you are without the dagger. I felt this section was very frustrating because it wasn’t as clear where you needed to go, and had many sections based on wall-jumping which I thought was the most unresponsive part of the mechanics. Any moment where the level design wasn’t clear, or where you felt the controls didn’t respond - could be forgiven due to the rewind mechanic; but when the rewind is removed, it is infuriating.

The Prince excels in climbing and fighting. He can run up, or along walls, climb vertical poles, swing from horizontal poles, shimmy along ledges and wall jump. The climbing is a visual spectacle, especially when you successfully execute a sequence of moves.

When you enter rooms, you often get a quick camera pan to show you traps and where the exit is. Save points also give you a montage of upcoming sequences. Although it’s a cool effect, I did wonder if this hand-holding is really necessary.

I know it’s a game, and they want to force you to use the Prince’s skills, but sometimes the Palace design didn’t seem organic. Do they really need a spike pit in a library? Or require wall-runs to get to a prison cell? It would be interesting to see how they got prisoners into those cells - I’m sure the average prisoner can’t wall-run.

There’s some puzzles, but many are simplistic; often involving buttons, pushing blocks, or turning cranks. I thought the better ones are where you really need to survey your surroundings and work out how to navigate the area. There’s a couple of complex puzzles involving larger mechanisms and a couple of puzzles using mirrors and lights. I would expect sequels to improve in this area.

In combat, you can slash with a sword, stab with the dagger, flip over enemies, block and dodge. There’s opportunities for some special moves like jumping against the wall, then the Prince pushes off, leaping over enemies, then attacks. When enemies are on the floor, you must finish them with the dagger. If you don’t then they recover. The simpler enemies can easily be defeated by leaping over them, slashing them, then stabbing them with a dagger. The enemies that are blue cannot be leapt over so are harder to take down.

Combat sections usually break up the platforming sections. Often you have a few enemies but then more spawn in. When you defeat them all, a cutscene plays of the Prince putting his sword away, so you know that section is over. Some of these sections overstay their welcome by spawning a large sequence of enemies.

You generally fight the same enemies over and over again. In some sections you fight scarabs, bats or vultures. These aerial creatures are very annoying to fight and require precise timing, but are defeated in one hit.

Sometimes you are guiding Farah. In combat, she remains stationary and uses her bow and arrow which can hurt and stun enemies, but you have to deal the killing blow. Her arrows sometimes hit you if you are in the way. Outside of combat, you often take turns hitting switches, or she fits through cracks in the wall whilst you take the long way around on your own.

The rewind mechanic can be used in both platforming sections and combat. Fall to your death? Rewind. Lose a chunk of health? Maybe rewind if you don’t want to risk it.

You recover health by drinking water. These often come in the form of water fountains, but other sources of water like pools, rivers, flooded sections can also be used. Some combat rooms have a water source which you can use during a fight if you manage to gain enough distance and only drink small amounts.

There’s some shiny sandstorms to find which upgrade your powers. Some secret areas can also be found which boost your max health.

The camera generally does a good job moving to a position to give you a good view whilst hinting to the path forward. You can pan the camera yourself, switch to a first person view if needed, or change to a panoramic camera which gives you a wider view but is zoomed out.

Gamepads require manual configuring but it didn’t take me long to work out which buttons to assign for comfortable gameplay.

The music is a mix of eastern music but sometimes with rock guitar in the fight sequences. The sound mixing seems off, even when I adjusted the volume levels. The voice is often far too quiet, whereas some sound effects are too loud. It still looks fine and plays well, so there’s not much need to remaster it, even though Ubisoft are currently doing so, but taking a long time about it.

It’s easy to see why the Sands Of Time was well received by critics and players, and definitely influenced future games, particularly spawning a new series for Ubisoft; Assassin’s Creed. But before that, they churned out a few sequels and even made a film. It will be interesting if they make changes for the remaster, and hopefully they will make a new game with some new ideas.
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CaptainClam 2017-09-29T22:53:35Z
2017-09-29T22:53:35Z
4.0
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As mecânicas de plataforma envelheceram maravilhosamente bem, são refrescantes, fluidas e engenhosas. Os puzzles também são um destaque positivo, ainda que às vezes muito obtusos, e é interessante a forma como a história é contada.

Aos pontos fracos, o combate... deus do céu, que horror.

Acho que, mesmo pros padrões de 2003, é um jogo que oferece pouco no gameplay. Uma hora os aspectos de plataforma se tornam cotidianos e o jogo não te entrega nada além disso.
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gabrielctps 2021-08-04T04:18:48Z
2021-08-04T04:18:48Z
3.5
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I wish i could go back in time
I find that the concept of Prince of Persia is much better than its execution. Here is an 3d beat em up with a focus on time powers and stylish platforming. Its a shame that they could not translate the concept into better gameplay. The combat is really lackluster. Enemies take way too long to die, and they dont react like they should to hits. Its just a generally unsatisfying game when it comes to the combat, and no slow down and time reversing can make problems such as bad hit detection and bad enemies go away. Apart from the combat, you will spend most time in the game transversing platforming sections. These function more like puzzles than actual platformers, since more often the challenge is finding where to go and not the skill needed to make the jumps. Again, cool concept, and wall running is cool everytime, but bad execution. The platforming is not as responsive as it should, and that can lead to some very frustrating deaths. On top of it the path forward is extreme linear, and it feels wrong to fall for a jump that the character could very clearly do but wasnt the path the developers chose.

Plotwise its very nintendo-y, you will be saving a princess in distress. She can assist you through the campaign with a bow, but unfortunatly can also be killed by enemies resulting in a game over. Essencially this means that half of the game is resorted to an escort mission, which is not a good thing since there really isnt a lot of reasons to care about this princess. Ubisoft is no Naughty Dog, and as such i dont feel any closer to her during the progress of the game.

This review is a bit overly critical, but i was really disappointed with this one at a time. This is the game that pretty much swept the action adventure awards, and when i got my hands on it and felt how clunky it was it was impossible not to be let down. That said, it does have stylistic combat, and it is never a bad game. Its just a good game with a lot of mediocrity in it.
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Threntall 2016-07-18T19:07:34Z
2016-07-18T19:07:34Z
3.5
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After Prince of Persia 3D, the '90s franchise could have died and the world would have been grateful. That all changed after the release of The Sands of Time. Since then, PoP has become more of an event then it ever was before and established Ubisoft Montreal as one the most creative and ambitious of the 2000s large-scale developers. Like many other Ubisoft games of recent years, even with The Sand of Time's flaws it stands up as more than a simple game and more as a work of art that had been developed by caring hands and minds that know how to craft an original experience. It was a far cry from the cut-and-paste Tomb Raider mess that was the previous generation's Prince.

From the menu screen to the intro, this is a game that knows how to immerse the player. After an impressive battle siege scenario, the player is eased into the game's pitch-perfect controls and addictive time-bending mechanic. With consistent but evolving environments, SoT is a joy to play from beginning to end with only a few rough patches. The music, setting, and story give the game a storybook like atmosphere that is charming, especially in comparison to its brutish, grim sequel.

The persistent world, an enormous Persian castle, and the vast areas within are both a puzzle you must solve and a obstacle course you need to move through intense platforming. You will often get stuck, but this is rarely due to bad design and has more to do with the player missing a little detail. Only once, in the library section later on in the game, had I ran into a problem that I found to be more of the designers' fault than mine. The game is expertly designed and scaling these challenging environments is a great time. The game has a smooth pace and challenge to it, with each succeeding level getting a bit bigger and more difficult to navigate. There is only one persistent error in the game and that is the combat.

The combat is perfectly acceptable and a bit fun in small doses. It's only the third-section of the game, where Ubisoft unwisely increased the amount of confrontations, that unveils its flaws. Even worse, when you have your time-control abilities taken away from you, the combat system is uneven and frustrating. Along with the awful controls on the swinging ropes, this is a problem that keeps the game from perfection. Even still, the fights, for the most part, give welcome variation between the puzzles and platforming. It's only when the fighting outweighs the rest that its flaws become apparent and hard to forgive.

Between awful advertising (remember that DJ scratch commercial?) and a prior failure in the realm of 3D, The Sands of Time was overlooked in 2003. The platforming, puzzles, and story are still the benchmark of the series. The game, at 6-to-8 hours, compacts the world with unbelievably well-designed levels and natural puzzles that make similar games seem a lot less grand, despite having higher production values. Right beside Tomb Raider and Super Mario 64 [スーパーマリオ64], The Sands of Time is a platformer as timeless as it is influential.
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SUPER_Lonely_Panda 2016-04-05T23:46:13Z
2016-04-05T23:46:13Z
5.0
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Catalog

bluejaysfan99 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2024-04-17T02:55:50Z
2024-04-17T02:55:50Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
LanI Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2024-04-13T22:17:10Z
2024-04-13T22:17:10Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
blacktomatoemperor Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2024-04-10T10:56:57Z
2024-04-10T10:56:57Z
4.0
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guadalupedeath Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2024-04-07T09:48:29Z
2024-04-07T09:48:29Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
public_enemy Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2024-04-05T05:03:18Z
2024-04-05T05:03:18Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Wolis Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2024-04-01T21:19:41Z
2024-04-01T21:19:41Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
tmaroga10 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2024-03-31T18:38:06Z
2024-03-31T18:38:06Z
3.5
1
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ffdb58 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2024-03-30T17:22:05Z
2024-03-30T17:22:05Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MF_IGUIN Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2024-03-26T18:41:05Z
PS2 • XNA
2024-03-26T18:41:05Z
2.5
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Diertz Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2024-03-25T11:07:11Z
2024-03-25T11:07:11Z
3.0
1
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anncian Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2024-03-24T21:39:29Z
2024-03-24T21:39:29Z
4.0
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TheHonorableMinisterBBG Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2024-03-21T22:09:12Z
2024-03-21T22:09:12Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
ESRB: T
Player modes
Single-player
Media
1x DVD
In collections
Also known as
  • Prince of Persia: Las arenas del tiempo
  • Prince of Persia: Les sables du temps
  • Prince of Persia: Le sabbie del tempo
  • プリンス・オブ・ペルシャ 時間の砂
  • View all [4] Hide

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  • Burakk 2022-03-30 19:14:40.083875+00
    WAIT WAIT WAIT THAT'S NOT HOW IT HAPPENED
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  • Kream45 2022-07-02 20:19:47.271396+00
    The worst thing about this game are the flying enemy birds during platforming sections. God I hated them.
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  • charredwind 2022-07-15 01:52:34.557066+00
    hide Removed by mod
    This post was removed by a site moderator.
    • lillhium17 2022-08-25 15:42:25.915355+00
      hide Removed by mod
      This post was removed by a site moderator for the following reasons:
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  • Bengals 2022-12-13 02:01:41.530897+00
    Masterpiece
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