The fresh prince

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It was 1989, if you can believe it, when the original Prince Of Persia game came out — that should give you some idea of how successful the franchise has been over the years. The high-water mark was undoubtedly the Sands Of Time trilogy (2003-2005), but along the way of producing 13 different platform/puzzle games on various consoles, quality started to slip.

With this in mind it's no surprise to hear the developers falling over themselves to repeat phrases such as "back to our roots" when talking about the new 14th offering, Prince Of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. But, from what we've seen, this could surprisingly be the case.

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The action takes place between the Sands Of Time and Warrior Within instalments, and along with the prince's now traditional ability to reverse time, he also gets to manipulate the four elements. The most impressive of these new abilities, graphically, is the power to freeze water, allowing our hero to climb waterfalls and swing from spouts as if they were hewn from stone.

Another canny development is the employment of the Anvil engine, as seen in Assassin's Creed 2, which not only offers fantastic draw distance with vistas spreading as far as the eye can see, it finally means taking on multiple enemies at once - and by multiple we mean you should expect up to 50 unsavoury characters at a time when it gets hairy.

And for those of us currently infatuated with Gemma Arterton (that's all of us, then), this is just the sort of fun to keep you occupied until the film opens at the end of the month.

Prince Of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (Ubisoft)  for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 is out on 21 May