Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (PC) Review

I finished this game on Monday, February 26, 2007, 7:49:00 PM. This review was first published on GameSpot on July 27, 2007.

I usually don’t review a game unless I have finished it completely. However, after having finished 65% of this game, I say without a lot of doubt that this is one of the most entertaining games I have played.

I have to draw comparisons with Tomb Raider sometimes because Prince of Persia set out to be a Tomb Raider initially, but now the trend has been reversed.

Let me talk about this game, one part at a time.


Those of you who have played Prince of Persia 3D will know that the series was really going down the drain. That game was an awful Tomb Raider clone. The controls were not responsive, the environment was restrictive most of the time, the combat was boring at best…I played through half of it and I got tired and left it. The series was going a disaster. What it needed was a solid game to make for Prince of Persia 3D.

Prince of Persia Sands of Time was perfect in that sense. This is a genre defining game, so much so that the new Tomb Raider had very similar control system. I guess this goes to show how good the game actually is.

There is never any dull moment in the game. The puzzles basically involve precision jumping and movements and of course moving around objects. And that’s one of the highlights of the game. The movement of the character is incredible, I mean if you thought that Lara Croft was agile in Tomb Raider then this game will make your head spin.

The kind of moves that Prince can pull off is insane, and that’s one of the most fun parts of the game and I don’t remember seeing anything like this. Ever. There are often puzzles that require you to navigate spike traps, rolling blades, swinging, spiked columns etc. And you will have to jump off walls, climb up pillars, shimmy across narrow platforms and more to make it past these traps. It can get a little difficult, often frustrating, but it’s really just a matter of practice.

There is also the whole concept of the Sands of Time. The prince has in his possession a dagger that can control time. You are given about 4 sands clocks in the beginning, and the number will increase as the game progresses. What that means is that you can rewind time, it’s nothing like the bullet time concept that we have seen a million times in video games. This actually turns back time, so can execute your moves better, kill enemies effectively etc. You get to gain the sands by killing enemies and taking their sand. It’s an interesting concept; very unique.


I really didn’t bother too much with the story, but it goes something like this: The prince along with the King, invade a kingdom in India and acquire among many treasures – an hour glass and a dagger which gives the possessor the control over the sands of time.

The evil Vizier tricks the prince into using the dagger to unleash the Sands of Time. This results in complete chaos and turns everyone in the kingdom into monsters save for three people – the Prince, the Indian Princess Farah who assists the prince during the course of the game and the evil Vizier, and all these three people are vying to possess the dagger.

I thought the way the story unfolds was pretty good; it’s actually told by the Prince as the game progress, so it’s a sort of a flashback.


Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite subject – graphics. The game looks beautiful. I played it on high settings and I was particularly impressed with the water and fog effects. For its time, this game was truly ground breaking. The atmosphere has been superbly created with excellent effects.

The dungeons have a very eerie feel to them and the open environments are expansive and stunning at times with lush green surroundings and waterfalls. Although most of the time the Prince is perched on a high cliff or on top of a castle and you don’t actually get to travel through backdrop, but it adds to the atmosphere nevertheless and it’s beautiful.

Most of the game takes place in the castle and that’s where the level design truly shines. The interiors are magnificent and the attention to detail is truly amazing. This adds to the overall feel of the game and on high resolution it’s brilliant.


Well, that’s a very relative term, so these are just my personal opinions and need not reflect anyone else’s opinion of the game. Since I am new to playing these kind of games, I guess I am not able to adapt to this as easily as most other gamers.

The camera can be a little difficult to control, and the controls are camera sensitive. That means ‘W’ doesn’t always mean move forward, it actually depends on direction in which the camera is positioned. Getting used to that is a pain…if you are inexperienced like I am, you will find yourself making mistakes very often, and initially that might mean instant death. There is a particular location where there are number of sand creatures to be fought in a closed room, and camera was very hard to position the way I wanted. That was extremely frustrating for me.

And that’s another complaint, I got the feeling the Prince died way too easily in the beginning…just a couple of blows from the enemies, or a fall from a ledge is enough to kill the Prince. This was frustrating in the beginning, but as the game progresses the health bar increases, and the resistance increases as well.

While the combat is a lot of fun, each enemy has to be killed about 4 times on an average. Every time you kill an enemy, take their sand that is, the enemy will re-spawn, and this goes on for about 4-5 times. AND there are about 3-4 enemies attacking you at the same time, so that means a lot of time is spent blocking them and moving about. So it’s not as easy as you think it might be, attack too soon, and you will get hit, and if you are in the initial stage, that’s game over.

I can recall this initial battle where I think I had to kill the enemies 7-8 times each, and my health bar was still quite low, and I had to replenish it ever so often. That was so frustrating that I almost gave up. But once you keep playing, you will get a hang of it, and then it doesn’t get as frustrating.

Another disappointing factor is that there is no Save Anywhere feature in the game; you will have to reach checkpoints in the game that allow you to save the game. Although the checkpoints are fairly evenly distributed, I felt I would have enjoyed the game more if there was a Save Anywhere option. But that’s just my personal opinion, some people find the lack of this option perfectly acceptable, and some might even feel the need for it. But initially, inexperienced gamers will find it frustrating.

I have not encountered any bugs so far in the game, it seems pretty solid although the audio could have been better I felt – just a personal opinion. All in all this is a very solid and fun game which can be frustrating initially, but with a little persistence it will become very immersive. I would recommend people to try this once and see if they are patient enough to play certain parts of the game over and over, and if they can actually get a hang of the controls. If yes – you will enjoy the game and the sequels, if not, give it a rest.

I can say for sure that this game is not for everyone. Those who enjoy the straight forward gameplay of First Person Shooters will have a hard time adapting to this one. But since I have played Tomb Raider before, and I am somewhat used to the whole idea of solving puzzles to progress, I guess I could say that the learning curve for me was not as high. But in general, the learning curve for an average gamer that plays shooters is quite high.

Verdict - Give it a try, you might just like it.

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