A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is an action game that involves frequent battles against humans and fantastical creatures, all clearly evil. The game’s protagonist uses his sword, fists, and magic to stylishly carve his way through as many as 50 enemies at once, though there is never any blood or gore. When not in combat, players will engage in clever and relatively innocuous environmental puzzles and platforming challenges, which involve lots of climbing, leaping, and machinery manipulation.
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What's it about?
Set between previous Prince of Persia games The Sands of Time and The Warrior Within, PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS sees our agile royal still young and optimistic as he heads out to visit his brother, Prince Malik, in a castle on the outskirts of their kingdom. When he arrives he finds it under siege and his sibling about to set loose an ancient magic force to help defend against the enemy army. But the force proves uncontrollable, and suddenly there’s something greater to worry about than mere humans soldiers: An army of skeletons that can turn people into statues of sand with a single touch. Using his sword to beat back the bony hordes and his parkour-like acrobatic skills to navigate a variety of environmental obstacles, the prince works his way through the giant palace in search of a solution. He gradually learns magical spells that allow him to blast his enemies with icy cold, burn them with fire, and send them spinning into the air in swirling sand storms. He also comes to realize that his brother may end up being a greater threat than the evil he’s unleashed.
Is it any good?
After what appeared to be a reboot of the franchise with 2008’s artsy and unexpected Prince of Persia, Ubisoft’s developers have gone back to basics, providing us with a Prince whose background and abilities should prove much more familiar to fans of this series, many of whom expressed their dislike of the franchise’s new direction. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
The good news is that it feels like slipping on a pair of comfortable shoes. The Prince controls marvellously well, and leaping around carefully designed rooms filled with platforms, swinging bars, and traps is as much fun as it’s ever been. The bad news is that there’s a distinct feeling that we’ve done a lot of this before. The new magical powers help freshen things up a bit -- it's quite fun to swallow up enemies in a sandstorm and freeze water so we can climb it -- and tweaks to the Prince’s acrobatics make his movements as smooth as ever, but don’t expect to be blown away with new features. It’s all been expertly conceived and executed, it’s just not particularly original.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the criteria involved in determining whether violent action is suitable for early teen gamers. Is it enough to simply eliminate the depiction of blood and gore? Does it matter if the characters scream or can be seen to be in pain? Whether they’re good or evil?
Families can also discuss the parkour-like stunts in the game. Are the Prince’s acrobatics believable? Do his tricks make you want to try running up walls and making long leaps? Do you think kids might try to emulate the Prince’s moves and accidentally hurt themselves?
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