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Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review

Prince of Persia The Lost Crown

Having bought the rights to the franchise in 2001, Prince of Persia was one of Ubisoft’s most prominent videogame series for a number of years. Then Assassin’s Creed arrived, and Prince of Persia unfortunately fell by the wayside. Until now, that is. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is the first new entry in the series since 2010’s The Forgotten Sands. Furthermore, it’s a bit of a departure for the series.

For Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, the series’ 3D action adventure gameplay has been thrown out of the window. Instead, this latest entry leans into one of the most popular genres at the moment – the Metroidvania. And with its side-on gameplay, it’s actually reminiscent of the original Prince of Persia games by Jordan Mechner. There’s another twist, too: you don’t actually play as the prince. Whereas in previous games you’re typically charged with rescuing a princess, here it’s the prince himself that needs saving. And so that’s what you’re tasked to do, taking control of Sargon, a member of a mighty band of warriors known as the Immortals.

Kidnapped for unknown reasons, the prince is taken to the mysterious Mount Qaf where pretty much the entirety of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown plays out. As the story unfolds, unveiling twists and turns aplenty, you’ll revel in the range of environments that Mount Qaf offers – everything from ornate temples to dirty sewers to a shipwreck frozen in time. Each of these locations is connected to another in some form, and all have nooks and crannies that you likely won’t be able to explore on your first visit, promoting that you return when you have more skills at your disposal in order to sweep up goodies that you might have missed.

Prince of Persia The Lost Crown 1 review

Alongside typical upgrades you’d find in a Metroidvania game, such as the ability to double jump, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown of course has a number of time control powers for you to unearth and make use of and more. You can record yourself in a certain place in time, for example, and then revert to that position with the push of a button. You can also switch dimensions to make use of certain platforms, grab and thrown certain environmental objects, and use your sash to hoist yourself to airborne hoops and also pull certain enemies towards you. All in all, Sargon has a wealth of abilities at his disposal, meaning the moment-to-moment gameplay feels very varied indeed.

Related: The Best Metroidvania Games on PS5

Many of the abilities that Sargon acquires are useful in combat, too, bolstering a system that’s surprisingly deep and rewarding. While there’s only one standard attack button, it can be combined with directions and more to produce a number of attacks such as launchers and follow-ups. You can’t wildly go on the offence here, though. Even basic enemies can be tough even on normal difficulty, meaning you need to carefully watch for their attacks and either dodge or parry appropriately. Bosses in particular can prove to be troublesome at times, unleashing attacks that can be hard to read and even harder to avoid. More bothersome is that if some of these attacks hit, you’re forced to watch flashy animations that pull you out of the action for a short while, breaking your flow.

It’s not just the combat that proves to be challenging here, either. The series’ penchant for acrobatics thankfully hasn’t been forgotten, with Sargon frequently being required to pull off some nifty moves in order to progress. You might have to simply chain wall jumps and air dashes to proceed through a mountainous area. Or when the game’s feeling really devious, you might also have to add some dimensional shifts, pole swings and more into the mix. Mess up and you’ll find that you’re never treated all that harshly – you’ll likely just be taken back to the last place where you had both feet on the ground, albeit with a small bit of health taken off you.

Prince of Persia The Lost Crown 2 review

Playing on PS5 for review, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown looks quite nice during gameplay, with the camera zoomed out to give you a decent view of the action. Even better, there are zero performance issues and loading times are pretty much non-existent. When the camera gets up close to characters during story scenes, however, they’re not all that impressive. On the plus side, the game’s soundtrack is consistently pleasant, and the voice acting is solid throughout, too.

Having been away from our consoles for some 14 years, we’re glad that Prince of Persia has made a return. And while we’d welcome another 3D action adventure entry with open arms, Ubisoft’s choice to adopt a 2.5D Metroidvania format for this foray is a shrewd one. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown has everything you’d expect of a Prince of Persia game, from tense, thoughtful combat to challenging platforming. Yet thanks to its youthful flair and genre-shift, it feels fresh and unlike anything else currently in the Ubisoft library. For Prince of Persia fans and those who enjoy Metroidvanias in general, this is very much worthy of a recommendation.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.
Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!