Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review
It has been a LONG time since we’ve seen a proper Prince of Persia game. Back in 2020 Ubisoft had announced a remake for The Sands of Time, that quite frankly looked REALLY bad. After seeing that, I thought the franchise was doomed and it was time to move on. Thankfully, that project is delayed indefinitely…. which is typically lingo for “We aren’t going to do that anymore”. So, when The Lost Crown was announced at Summer Game Fest 2023, I was surprised and taken back by the “new” old approach to the series, bring it back to its side scrolling roots.
The Lost Crown is a 2.5D side-scrolling action-adventure platform video game. The game’s protagonist, Sargon, can jump, slide, and air dash to quickly travel between platforms. As you make your way throughout the game you are able to unluck several time-based powers to help you not only in combat but in traversal and puzzle solving as you traverse your way through this quite large Metroid Vania like adventure.
The game world is interconnected and filled with shortcuts and secret rooms, and players have to solve various puzzles in order to progress. By exploring the game’s world, players will find Time crystals, which can be used to purchase upgrades for Sargon’s weapons.
Players may not immediately have the tools or skills to overcome an obstacle, though the game allows players to take screenshots and pin them to the game’s map, allowing them to easily recognize and remember any unsolved puzzles they have encountered in their journey. You also will unlock Aura abilities (special moves) that you can equip that will provide you with an edge in combat or heal you, and more.
Lastly there are also Talismans you can find and equip that will give you perks like increased attack, reduced damage, extra health amongst other things, you are limited to how many you can equip at a time with how much room you have on your necklace at a time, but you can increase that as well in the game.
Sargon is an interesting new character to the franchise; he definitely has an updated look and feel to relate better to the modern gaming market vs the heroes of old. He has his own swagger and motivations, yet his loyalty to Persia cannot be disputed. As a member of the Immortals (think Avengers for the Prince of Persia Universe), they are sworn protectors of the throne, and they also each feature their own unique skills and abilities.
After another area attempts to take over Persia the Immortals save the day, but alas, in the end Sargon must travel to the cursed city of Mount Qaf to rescue the kidnapped Prince Ghassan and that is where the game actually takes place. There are lots of twists and turns in the narrative that never had me quite feeling that I knew what was going on all of the time.
The Lost Crown was heavily inspired by Persian mythology, with the game’s director Mounir Radi adding that the team wanted to “bring some light to a mythology that maybe should be better known”, as well as showing how Persian culture has affected other mythologies by introducing monsters like the manticore, as one of the game’s boss characters.
The games music composers also took care and love in making the music as authentic as possible. In an industry where we have seen HEAVILY populated with games focused on Greek and Norse mythology, this is a fresh approach to a familiar formula.
The games combat is fast and fluid and most importantly fun, you are able to customize your strategy as mentioned above with your auras and talismans so you can find what works best for your approach. Enemies and bosses change depending on where you are on the map, so it never really feels stale or that you are fighting the same thing over and over again which can sometimes happen in this style of game.
The puzzles in this game are quite challenging (at least for me) and sometimes I found myself putting the controller down, and just thinking about, ok how do I do this part for a bit before being able to carry on. However, it was never to the point of frustration where I wanted to turn it off or put the game down.
The map while large does a pretty good job of still giving you some direction as to where your objectives are, the map will fill in as you explore and sometimes you can purchase a map from a certain character to help fill it in and maybe show you a new place to explore.
I will say with 100% authenticity here, while I thought the initial trailer was cool, I wasn’t particularly excited for this game. BUT after only about 30 mins or so of gameplay, I was hooked. I absolutely loved my time with The Lost Crown, it has kicked off my 2024 review season with a stellar surprise. This is exactly what this franchise needed to bring it back, keep it relevant and just produce a banger of a game.
They are releasing a demo for the game ahead of its release, I implore you try it out and see for yourself, you might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.