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A Switch code was provided to GamingPizza for this review. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown will be available on January 18, 2024 (January 15 for Early Access), for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.
In the interest of being fully transparent, I have never played a Prince of Persia game before. This review is coming from the perspective of someone who is brand new to the series and has no prior knowledge or nostalgia attached to it, other than understanding and appreciating its place in gaming’s history. Thankfully, though, you don’t need to be a long-time fan to appreciate the newest installment in the Prince of Persia franchise, The Lost Crown.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown marks a bold leap into a realm where myth meets Metroidvania, offering a fresh chapter in a franchise steeped in gaming lore. As a newcomer to the series, I embarked on this adventure with no preconceptions, only to find myself immersed in a world where every leap, slash, and parry tells a story.
Set in the rich tapestry of Persian mythology, The Lost Crown introduces Sargon, a warrior of the elite Immortals, embarking on a quest to rescue Prince Ghassan. The narrative weaves a tale of intrigue and betrayal, set against a backdrop of time anomalies and mythical beasts. The game’s storytelling shines, with fully-voiced cutscenes that add depth to the characters, particularly the bond between Sargon and the prince. This isn’t just some damsel-in-distress storyline — er, prince in distress — it’s a tale of brotherhood and honor.
Unraveling the Sands of Time
(See what I did there?)
Combat in The Lost Crown is a dance of death, graceful yet lethal. Sargon’s dual blades are just the beginning. As the game progresses, his arsenal expands with a bow and a Chakram, adding strategic long-range depth to battles. The combat system strikes a fine balance between being accessible to newcomers and offering enough depth to challenge veterans. Each encounter, from the lowliest grunt to the mightiest boss, feels like a test of skill, demanding both brute force and tactical thinking.
Gone are the more realistic graphics of its predecessors, replaced by a vibrant cell-shade art style that turns every scene into a living painting or comic book panel. This artistic choice works wonderfully in the 2D platformer, enhancing the depth and immersion of the game world. From the intricate details of Mount Qaf to the dreary underworld, each environment is a feast for the eyes.
Exploring the Labyrinth
True to its Metroidvania roots, The Lost Crown excels in its non-linear exploration. The vast map is a puzzle in itself, with areas that become accessible as Sargon acquires new abilities. Backtracking never feels like a chore. It’s a chance to discover hidden secrets and unravel more of the game’s lore. The inclusion of the Eye of The Wanderer item, which allows players to map uncharted territories, is a thoughtful touch, adding to the exploratory essence of the game.
Each boss battle is a crescendo of tension and strategy. From the formidable General Uvishka to the monstrous Manticore, these encounters are not just tests of skill but of perseverance. They require a keen understanding of Sargon’s abilities and the environment. Defeating these titans always feels like a triumph, making your growth and mastery of the game’s mechanics worthwhile.
Ubisoft’s commitment to accessibility is pretty apparent in The Lost Crown. The option to skip challenging platforming sections is a nod to inclusivity, ensuring that players of all skill levels can enjoy the adventure. This feature doesn’t dilute the game’s challenge, though. It simply opens the door wider, inviting more players to experience Sargon’s journey.
New Eyes on an Old World: A Newbie’s Perspective
As a first-time adventurer in the Prince of Persia universe, The Lost Crown felt like a journey through a storybook of ancient legends. The game stands on its own, welcoming newcomers with open arms while respecting the legacy of its predecessors. The blend of familiar gameplay elements with new mechanics creates a captivating experience that makes me want to go back and check out some of the previous games in the series.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a gem, polished with care and respect for its heritage. It earns a solid 8 out of 10, a score reflecting its triumphs in storytelling, gameplay, and artistic direction. While there are moments where enemy encounters can feel repetitive, and the narrative occasionally dips into predictability, these are but minor blemishes on an otherwise splendid canvas. This game feels like an invitation to a new generation to discover the magic of Prince of Persia. The Lost Crown doesn’t just wear its legacy with pride. It builds upon it, promising a future as bright as the tales of old.