Pros: Excellent gameplay, fun puzzle, great action!
Cons: wonky camera at times, average story, no multiplayer
The Bottom Line: Highly recommended for it's beautiful graphics, fantastic level and puzzle design. Great fun all the way.
Introduction Full disclosure: I dont like platformers and I dont like puzzles. That said, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is one of the best games Ive ever played. The puzzles are fun and the platform action is not very platform-y. It is a platform action game and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Single Player The campaign in PoP puts you in the shoes of, you guessed it, the Prince of Persia, trying to find out who he really is. He gets help along the way from Sarah and together they are forced to fight their away across vast lands in search of the unknown and the sands of Time. The story is incidental and I lost track of who where and why. Its all about the gameplay.
Gameplay Pop is an interesting mix of platform antics and action. Theres the usual platform stuff such as jumping from ledge to ledge, climbing ladders, etc. But it adds daring acrobatics that actually had my palms sweating a few times as the Prince twirls on beams way up in the sky. Exhilarating. Combine these daring acrobatics with the fighting of Ninja Gaiden and you have a very special fighter indeed. Flip over your enemies to deliver a shocking blow. Jump against a wall and vault yourself sword-first into the heart of an enemy. Rated T for Teen, this aint no Mario. The camera system is my only complaint. Sometimes it would lock me in a position that didnt really suit the environment and often made it more difficult. The first person view was mostly useless as I couldnt move *and* keep that view at the same time. As is often the case with controllable dynamic cameras, this is an area that could be improved. That said, the transitions between views and camera switches are blurred and fogged with an audible Swoosh sound giving a very cinematic, dynamic feel. An excellent bit of polish in an already excellent game. PoP has a time control feature much in the same way as Blinx does, but implemented better. As you go through the levels, you collect sand for your time dagger. This allows you to stop time, reverse, slow down, etc. So if you accidentally fall off a ledge, just rewind and dont make the same dumb mistake. This is great so long as your dagger has sand. Otherwise, youll be forced to start from the last checkpoint (which are plentiful). These time control features are especially useful in battle for obvious reasons and become necessary as the game progresses.
Graphics and Sound The graphics are a joy to behold. The textures are excellent and the colors suitably muted. The fog distance is appropriate giving it an often eerie feel. The animations are crisp and transition well. This is by far one of the best looking Xbox games on the console. The sound is average, but certainly suitable. The voice-acting is decent but seems to be recorded at a very low volume. I had to adjust my settings and turn down all the sounds except for voice so I could hear what the characters were saying.
Conclusion If you are a fan of the Prince of Persia series, you wont be disappointed. The puzzles are excellent and not too difficult. The platforming is enjoyable and not as repetitive as a true platformer. And since this title has some of the best graphics and aerial acrobatics, I give it a high recommendation.
I played this on PC, and Ubisoft during this era of gaming had a very poor track record of PC ports. The camera was absolutely horrid, and the controls suffered because of the directional input that was key for certain platform puzzles. Beyond that? The story is what you'd expect from Aladdin or so. Farah was an interesting character, although a frustrating AI component in battle. However, the interactions between her and the prince were amusing and gave that hint of two strong-willed … more