I’ve always had fond memories of the Prince of Persia series. I remember back in the late 80’s / early 90s playing the first game being pleasantly frustrated at the puzzles on either the C64 or Atari ST. The game was like nothing else I’d played before and graphically at the time with its fluid movement was leaps ahead of other titles. Over the years more versions of the game were released most notably “Sands of Time”, as well as titles that clearly took inspiration from the series and a blockbuster movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ben Kingsley of all people.
Now in 2024 we see the return of the franchise with The Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown and it’s safe to say that the choices the development team have made in its revival have resulted in a game that is equal parts nostalgic and modern creating a perfectly balanced blend for a title that I think will surprise a lot of players and silence some haters.
Prince of Persia The Lost Crown isn’t a reboot as much as it is a story within the same universe and yet of its own making. You play the part of Sargon, a member of the Immortals who’s character traits and style take their inspiration from the popular tale “Seven Samurai” a film that has inspired so many other art forms over the years since its 1954 release.
@doccydarko What Influenced the Animation Style on the new Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown? #princeofpersiathelostcrown #ps5 #xbox #pc #nintendoswitch ♬ original sound – DoccyDarko
Led by Vahram, the 7 brothers and sisters in arms have fought and won a multitude of battles together, all in the name of Thomyris, Queen of Persia. After the Prince is abducted you must travel with your band of heroes to Mount Qaf and it’s ancient city to rescue the prince, but is time on your side or not? It flows differently here and timelines are interwoven and cursed.
Over the roughly 25 hour story this brilliant Metroidvania style game deliveries on so many levels. From the basics of the genre including chest collection and exploration to the sheer speed and excitement of the action filled combat. Prince of Persia The Lost Crown nails these elements to perfection. As Sargon grows in strength through some light RPG elements you’ll be able to really unleash powerful combos that will help you traverse some puzzling landscapes or defeat 9 or so powerful bosses you will encounter.
The animation takes inspiration from films like “Into the Spiderverse” and the Netflix show “Arcane”. This almost 5D style animation creates a 3D effect on a 2D landscape giving it more depth while still remaining clear enough to make sense to a player of any level. It’s these design choices that create such an impressive atmosphere for the whole experience. The lower enemies are as creatively thought out as the bosses and heroes showing a true respect for the animation to help tell the story.
Across your adventure you’ll unlock unique abilities, items and weapons. Amulets grant better perks while collecting feathers will enhance the time powers like the ability to dash in mid air or teleport. The Athra Surges grant both attack and defensive minded abilities to take down enemies with flair or to heal your character in the middle of a tense battle.
The combat is fast and fluid rather than chaotic, it can get a little busy on screens sometimes but you never lose your character or what they are doing. Fights are all about exploiting weakness and it might take a few attempts to find those flaws and take your enemy down. Thankfully when you do die you never respawn too far away, either to the beginning of the encounter or you can return to the last “Wak-Wak Tree” to replenish your life or just go level up some more before a rematch.
The puzzles become more and more complex forcing you to really pull off some movement combinations that will rely on your reflexes and memory. You’ll have to jump, jump, dash, hold, jump, grab the other side of a pillar and jump again and that might only be the first part of the combo. The reflex puzzles are only part of it, others will have you discover which way to turn a wheel to release water and cause a lever to rise in order to flip over to a platform. The thought process is fun and engaging and I’ll admit I was stuck on more than one occasion.
That brings me to one of my favourite features of the game that might sound a little dull but it is an absolute life saver. Along the way you’ll collect things called “Memory Shards”. These shards allow you to capture a picture of the game screen and pin it to your map as a marker. This gives you a true visual representation of the area so that when you are ready to come back to that area of the game you can find it simply. Like I said, not the most exciting, but a really thoughtful and unique mechanic I’d love to see more in other games.
If you enjoy games like Metroid Dread and Hollow Knight then you will love Prince of Persia The Lost Crown, not to say it’s exactly the same as the game sits in a fairly unique modern style on its own with some fantastic nods to the past. As I was playing through it my mind also went to some of my favourite arcade classics like Wonderboy in Monsterland and Knights of the Round which I spent hours playing as a kid and felt some similarities. If this is the future of the Prince of Persia series then I’m certainly on board for more like it. A totally enjoyable experience from start to finish and a game to go back and play again and again.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a near perfect 9 out of 10.
You don’t have to take my word for it either. The team has released a spoiler free demo, I know right! A Demo! What happened to those? This demo is yours to download on all systems for the game and shows you some of the powers of Sargon and gameplay in an area that won’t take away from your overall experience playing the game, and you will, it’s that much fun.
The full game will release on January 18, 2024, at a suggested price of A$79.95 on Nintendo Switch™, PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, as well as Windows PC through the Epic Games Store and the Ubisoft Store. Players can also subscribe to Ubisoft+ on PC, and Xbox and play the game on day one. By purchasing the Deluxe Edition, players can also access the game early, starting January 15