I wanted to like Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. I love the (admittedly westernized) genre of strong princes and fair princesses set against a backdrop of rocky mountains, roiling sand and Moorish castles. I was hoping to get some of that with some good graphics, music, story, and some climbing thrown in.
Well, forget the story. There is one, but not so you'd notice. The game is a series of climbing puzzles / challenges, with some hack 'n slash combat every so often. The combat is fairly easy, and the puzzles, with two exceptions, are not that hard to solve. Actually playing
the puzzles through, though, is intensely frustrating (I play exclusively with a keyboard + mouse). Lag is extraordinarily high. The game is sometimes not sensitive enough to input, and at other times too sensitive. Some skills and abilities are on a timer (freeze water for X number of seconds), so what seems a minor annoyance at the beginning of the game magnifies into greater and greater significance later on (expect The Aqueducts level to really give you trouble). I can put up with all that, though. The killer blow for me is the same thing I hated in Ubisoft's sister platformer, Assassin's Creed. Get into a place with one path forward, and the camera view locks up: you can't turn and look to see where you need to go without just blindly following the path indicated by the camera lock-up. I absolutely HATE this; I hated it in Assassin's Creed, and I hate it here. In this case, without the ability to look around, you'll die multiple times until you realize, oh, I need to go in X direction, so I need to do the upwards back-and-forth-between-walls climb three times to reach my objective ledge. Incredibly frustrating, and for me a game-breaker.
As I said, the story is near non-existent. An invading army is attacking the castle, so the Prince's brother Malik unleashes King Solomon's army - of sand soldiers. The Prince has to figure out a way to corral the army - and stop his brother, who seems to be accumulating the power of the sand-soldiers with each one he kills. Whatever. I never really felt a connection to any of the characters. They're just there as an excuse for some platforming. The graphics are good, even by 2010 standards - fire looks very realistic - but the water is strangely low-res. And there is a lot of water in this game. The music is suitably evocative, but after capturing the initial mood, is repetitive and unexciting (thought the orchestration uses a number of different instruments and it sounds well-played).
Incredibly disappointed in The Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. Not because it is bad per se, but because frustrating gameplay mechanics mean I'll be moving on to something else.