No previous experience with the Prince of Persia series is required to enjoy Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. In fact, virtually nothing will bar you from being impressed by this extremely well-put-together action adventure game from the studio that brought you Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six 3. In stark contrast to Ubisoft Montreal's previous offerings, Prince of Persia is surprisingly easy, despite the incredible acts of skill and daring that the game's main character will routinely perform during the course of the game. As a result, this original, visually stunning game can be highly recommended to just about anyone. The new PC port, whose release trailed a few weeks behind its console counterparts, is just about as impressive as the others, overall. It's a fairly short game, and it's missing the console versions' bonus features, but it's truly excellent for as long as it lasts.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time takes place in a mystical Middle Eastern setting, all bathed in soft, warm light and looking like something straight out of a storybook. You play as a young prince who possesses exceptional athletic and acrobatic skill. Early on in the game, the prince steals the dagger of time, a treasure from a rival nation, as a token for his father the king. When a traitorous vizier compels the prince to use the dagger to unlock another treasure, a huge hourglass, everything goes wrong. The sands from the hourglass blow forth, enveloping the kingdom and turning its guardsmen and citizens into, for lack of a better way to describe it, "sand zombies." The prince, the vizier, and a young woman named Farah are among the only survivors. In the prince's efforts to undo his mistake, he'll join forces with Farah, seek out the hourglass, and confront the vizier. The game's story takes a backseat during most of the game, but it is bookended nicely and is framed as the prince's own retrospection. So, for instance, should the prince fall and die at a certain point during the game, you'll hear him say, as narrator, something like, "No, that's not how it happened." Not only is this an interesting technique, but it compels you to keep pressing on. You'll want to know exactly how his complicated ordeal will unravel.