Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review

Style and substance rolled into one

By Paul Hunter

I still remember the awe and excitement of playing the original Prince of Persia game on my Commodore 64. In the thirty-plus years since few franchises have been as influential as Ubisoft's Prince of Persia. However, with the franchise long being dormant and delays of Prince of Persia The Sands of Time Remake how are fans supposed to scratch that platforming and action game itch? With none other than Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, an all-new entry and the first to feature a 2.5D side-scrolling Metroidvania setup. It's been a long wait but the prince is back and I think better than ever. Let's dive in and explore what makes this new Prince of Persia game so darn great.

Liked: Loaded With Story

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown sets you in the role of the dual-sword-wielding warrior Sargon, a member of the elite group of warriors protecting the Persian empire known as the Immortals. I was not five minutes into the game when I was already impressed at the quality of the storytelling and cutscenes, which is leagues above what I've seen in most other Metroidvania games.

The story, while simple and straightforward, instantly hooked me as we see Sargon's mentor Anahita betray the empire by snatching the prince and taking him to Mount Qaf, a cursed city seemingly under a time spell. Sargon and his crew of Immortals head to the hostile lands where he embarks on a mission to save the prince while warding off supernatural foes and solving the land's many puzzles.

Offering around 20 hours of game time, and more if you fully explore this vast interconnected world, this is a big game with an absorbing tale to tell. There are unforeseen betrayals and sharp twists and turns that keep the story moving forward at a brisk pace.

Beyond the superb voice acting and gorgeous hand-drawn cutscenes, it was interesting to play a game that so tightly embraces its Persian origins by introducing characters, bosses and friendly gods taken from Persian history and lore. There were some creatures like the Chimera, which I had long thought originated in Greek mythology only to learn it's part of Persian history as well. I normally play these types of games strictly for the exploration, but it was a nice change of pace to be equally as thrilled for the game's worldbuilding and lore.

Liked: Fast, Strategic Satisfying Combat

The Lost Crown features a mixture of precision platforming, deep strategic combat and puzzle-solving—and it excels at all three. To progress in the game you'll need to employ all of Sargon's abilities, which starts out with basic attacks, jumps, dashes and parries, but quickly grows as he defeats enemies and grows his toolkit.

There are some excellent new abilities to acquire, including genre staples like an air dash and double jump, but also some new abilities that spice up the gameplay in big ways. One such ability is the Shadow of Simurgh, which lets you place a shadow version of Sargon and then warp to it later. This lets you perform actions like teleporting behind a boss to deliver damaging blows to its backside, or retreating to safety should a boss unleash punishing attacks. What's cool is your shadow Sargon will also repeat whatever move you were doing, enabling you to unleash two super moves back to back if you time it right.

The Lost Crown gives you a ton of tools to play with from your dual blades to your bow to Chakrams to dodging and parrying. There's a nice variety of enemies both human and mythological and each one requires adjustments to your strategy to overcome. Boss battles are particular highlights with most foes having great cinematic introductions and some of the beasts being as large as the screen. Once you learn and master all of Sargon's moves there's an elegant finesse to battle as you dash, dodge and counterattack your way to victory.

Over the adventure, you'll discover amulets that can modify your abilities or even add new powers to your attacks. One amulet I got mid-way through the game let me unleash a power wave every few strikes, which enabled me to attack enemies from a distance and gave me a huge advantage in battle. Other amulets will give you extra health, boost your arrow damage, or even let you fire three arrows at once. Amulets are game-changers and absolutely worth taking on some of the game's hardest platforming sections or bosses to acquire new ones.

Liked: Beautiful Graphics and Great Performance

I can't express enough how utterly gorgeous Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is. It expertly blends 2D and 3D elements with a hand-drawn flair on par with Ubisoft greats like Rayman Legends. I also love how during battle if you parry at just the right time you can initiate mini-cinematic cutscenes with visual effects rivalling those of the Persona series.

The visuals have a nice mixture of traditional Prince of Persia aesthetics with modern art styles. There's beautiful Persian art and architecture abound in the variety of biomes that span posh temples, dark caves, lush forests and deadly oceans.

From a purely technical perspective, The Lost Crown runs at a smooth 60 frames per second on PS5. The game also outputs at 4K resolution with HDR, and believe me, the visuals take full advantage of that high pixel count. No matter how many enemies were on screen or how large the boss that I was facing, the entire game was buttery smooth fast action.

Liked: So Many Secrets

As you might expect, the map for The Lost Crown is large, featuring interconnected worlds and many secrets to uncover. What I didn't expect though is how dense the secrets are in this game, with so many areas you can revisit with newly acquired power to find even more hidden items.

This game is also filled with some of the most challenging optional platforming sections I've seen in a Metroidvania game since Ori and the Blind Forest. There are sections where you need to string together multiple moves with pixel precision to reach a coveted item at the end, only to have to retrace your steps to the beginning before you can actually claim the item. Completing these challenges was tough, but the satisfaction afterwards was more than worth it.

Final Thoughts

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown with surely satisfy longtime fans while welcoming newcomers to the series with its superb blend of action and adventure. The gameplay is fast and precise, the graphics are attractive and crisp, the map is huge and chock full of secrets, and the excellent story is the icing on the cake. 2024 is off to an incredible start all thanks to Ubisoft and The Lost Crown.

Final Score: 9/10 - Amazing

Prince of Persia The Lost Crown details

Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Action-adventure, Platformer, Metroidvania
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

A key was provided by the publisher.