After a 14-year break, Ubisoft surprised everyone at the Summer Game Fest on June 8, 2023, and announced Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, which is expected on all platforms starting January 18, 2024. Now, the game comes out on the 15th, and you will discover Sargon, a new character in this 2.5D game, explore the mysterious Mount Kaf, and immerse yourself in an adventure inspired by Persian mythology! Experience a stylish and immersive action-adventure platformer set in a mythological Persian world where you control the boundaries of time and space. For me, games from Ubisoft have been a pleasant surprise lately, from their quality at release to their beauty. This was true of Avatar, and now they have created another excellent game that returns the series to its roots and pleasantly surprises with beautiful and fast gameplay. Today, we will discuss the new Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown to learn why it is as surprising and exciting as it is.
It’s worth talking about my acquaintance with this series for a better understanding. Oddly enough, my first game was the original Prince of Persia, which came out in the 90s and was like a retelling of Aladdin. Only the next game in the series was Prince of Persia: Warrior Within in 2004 on PC, and after Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones on PSP in 2007, which I spent countless hours playing. And yes, after that, there was a reboot of Prince of Persia in 2008, which, oddly enough, I liked it because of its graphics and characters but was put off by its strange plot and repetitive gameplay.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a franchise reboot inspired by the Metroidvania genre and games like Hollow Knight and Ori. The Dark Souls series also inspired it. A limited number of potions can only be replenished at checkpoints, enemies are reborn after using checkpoints, and it’s not like the combat is arcade-style but more tactical and calculated.
In this game, players take on the role of Sargon, a skilled young warrior and member of the elite group “The Immortals”. Just before celebrating his final victory in the defense of Persia, the titular Prince Hassan is kidnapped, and the Immortals are betrayed by one of their own, with the mighty warriors of our group in pursuit.
The Immortals are a group of mercenaries with incredible durability, acrobatic skills, and strength; their abilities border on the supernatural, and each has a special weapon and fighting style.
They find themselves on Mount Qaf, a fantastical place that has become cursed and traps all who enter. Monsters roam, and time itself collapses. The Immortals must stop their former friend from using the Prince to obtain a mysterious blessing. The adventure takes place on Mount Kaf, a once wonderful but now cursed and hostile place we must explore. The power of time and unique abilities that can be learned in battle help our hero gradually uncover the secrets of this world and discover the secrets within himself.
Like the original Prince of Persia, The Lost Crown is all about exploration. The game unceremoniously throws you into a dungeon. Here, Sargon finds himself in the thick of things while the rest of the Immortals scatter to explore the palace.
One of the main problems with this game, which will be noticeable to me and many others, stems from the fact that you are not actually playing as the titular prince but as a warrior named Sargon – a member of an elite group of the country defenders who serves him in the legendary versions of Persia.
In my opinion, this makes the title of Prince of Persia the title of Prince of Persia. The Lost Crown shares a fair amount of DNA with the first one, which is a very enjoyable experience. In fact, for me, there is only one stumbling block: the lack of serious manipulations with time, as was the case in the last parts of the series. Yes, one of our hero’s abilities creates a kind of temporary checkpoint (as before with time rewind), to which he can return the second time he presses the button, so this is not only one similarity of the game that will haunt us.
Wak-Wak trees (bonfires) are your save points and are also where you can equip amulets and waves. Amulets allow you to strengthen Sargon. The character’s movement seems smooth, which is very important because while looking for a path, there may be many branches of the map. After all, the scale provided for exploration is huge. There are a decent number of different areas of Mount Qaf. Luckily, the different areas are quite different with their types of enemies and obstacles. In the forest there are mushroom platforms and wilder versions of cursed enemies, in the sewers everything is rotten and there are many strange and ancient monsters. Filled with books, the Sacred Archives are protected by the Jailer, who will not hesitate to capture you and let you rot in prison.
The game is riddled with inaccessible areas or sealed doors that Sargon will undoubtedly return to in the full game. When I got to some of the open areas, I liked it. A broken statue was blocking your pursuit of the prince, which was a neat quest to restore the statue and get closer to stopping the traitor.
From chests containing valuable resources to lore-filled items, from hidden quests to challenging platforming challenges, and even completely hidden rooms hidden behind hidden, breakable walls, the game gives you so many reasons to return to test the limits of your newest abilities, return to previous areas and explore all the intricacies of the map to find all the secrets. There’s also a very useful element that allows you to take screenshots of areas and attach them to the map, helping you keep track of where you think there might be secrets you can’t get to yet.
Sometimes I would have multiple attempts to get somewhere seemingly out of reach. Wall jumping helps you get to tight spots, and abilities like dash, introduced early on, make movement even more enjoyable. Simply holding down the trigger to start sprinting provides a speed boost, which helps when navigating familiar areas or even just maintaining speed.
Sargon also completely relies on the world around him like all the other princes, this is a feature of the series and uses everything possible to overcome a couple of obstacles. Everything is as usual here: fights, tackles, jumping through deadly traps, and finding the right path to your goal using all possible methods and gaining new abilities. There are also constant battles and many types of enemies that kill in 2 to 3 hits, even at an above-average level. So, if you were worried that the game was too simple, throw that thought away immediately.
At its core, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is the perfect combination of Metroidvania exploration and one of the most complex combat mechanics, namely combos, like a mix of DMC games and Mortal Kombat, namely targeted combos using ground and air, and then in During boss fights, combo breakers and other techniques appear.
The prince moved with ease, moving from attack to dodge and back again, with deadly results. Sargon also uses two scimitars like the other princes to deal with his opponents, flipping, sliding under them, skillfully attacking and dodging to smoothly cut down any enemy. As you progress through the story, you’ll also learn new offensive techniques, expanding Sargon’s capabilities, including stunning aerial attacks and powerful counterattacks. However, his greatest tool in his arsenal is the simple parry.
After a short walk around the mountain and exploring the environment, the Bow and Chakram will be revealed to you. The bow is, of course, great for hitting targets from afar, as long as you have arrows. In the short time I’ve used it, the Chakram has been useful for activating gears, which included some fun puzzles to solve using it for multiple gears. What was also very surprising is that you can launch a Chakram at an enemy, which will fly through the enemy, and when it returns to you, it will hit the enemy again, and you can parry it so that it will fly again.
Combat isn’t just about swinging blades: Sargon can build up a meter for various abilities you’ll earn as you play. The first meter allowed me to perform a powerful charged attack, but if I let the meter fill twice, I could create a small healing area or perform a stronger attack. Our squadmate Immortal Artaban is also willing to help teach you additional combos that can really expand your attacks and dodges. And I recommend using his knowledge to understand what Sargon is capable of in battle.
As the game progresses, you will be able to acquire the following abilities:
- RUSH OF THE SIMURGH – Grants Sargon the ability to dash in the air forward or backward. In Combat, allows Sargon to stop a fall after being hit, before reaching the ground.
- SHADOW OF THE SIMURGH – Grants Sargon the ability to create a mark, then continue moving and teleport back to it. In Combat, it can also be used to store an ongoing strike and unleash it afterwards.
- CLAIRVOYANCE – Grants Sargon the ability to see elements from another dimension (plaforms, bells). In Combat, it can also be used to see invisible enemies (Djinns).
- DIMENSIONAL CLAW – Grants Sargon the ability to trap an item or projectile in another dimension. In Combat, it can also be used to capture an enemy, then warp it against another one.
- GRAVITY WINGS – Gives Sargon the ability to jump while in-air. In Combat, this grants Sargon a double-jump to jump over most big enemies.
- FABRIC OF TIME – Allows Sargon to grab distant elements and pull. It can propel Sargon into the air. In Combat, it can also be used to grapple enemies sent upwards and close the gap.
Parrying is important in this game, and I felt its importance in The Lost Crown. I’ve probably only seen it in the Lies of P and Sekiro series. Your enemies start as old soldiers ravaged by the hand of time. They are slow, limp around like zombies, and generally don’t pose much of a threat. But they are still very dangerous because, on a difficulty above average, they will kill you in 2-3 hits, and if you parry at the wrong time, you will be punished with half your character’s life.
You will encounter faster, stronger, and armored enemies as you delve deeper into Mount Qaf and the palace. As you’d expect, each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but they all have one major weakness – you can parry their attacks. This is not every attack, mind you, but most attacks can be parried, knocking the opponent back and providing a crucial opportunity for a counterattack. Countering is a big part of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, and the sooner I can move from frantic attack to methodical combat, the more effective I will be.
As the story progresses there will be several small boss battles, are they difficult – yes, interesting – 100%. Are they complex enough in terms of mechanics… it could be a little
Like regular enemies, all bosses have recognizable characteristics, and you’re more than willing to get past them. As for the bosses, I found that they can hit hard quickly, and if you fail the parry, they will deal even more damage, and you will most likely start over.
In addition to enemies and bosses, you will meet people ranging from mundane to real gods and strange characters stuck in the same trap. Shop owners offer amulets and equipment for sale. These amulets provide additional benefits such as increased resistance to attack, added resistance to poison, extra health, and more. At first, you can only use three slots, but a little research will open up additional equipment slots. Meeting with the forge keeper can improve your equipment, create new equipment, and improve existing equipment.
Without saying too much, you eventually gain access to the powers of time. One example is a simple dash where Sargon can run forward along a wall a bit. Another power I’ve used extensively is a little more unconventional. If necessary, Sargon can cast a shadow marker and “rewind time” to instantly return to that location. Sure, it has combat applications, but I used it more as an insurance policy when trying to solve some of the game’s more treacherous platforming puzzles.
As I explored the first four biomes, I was struck by the size and depth of each area. Hidden areas opened up new challenges, as well as a chance to test everything I’d learned, and a fantastic amulet awaited as a reward. I’m a person who likes to wander around the map and look for all the little collectibles, and this game, to be honest, I could have spent all my time just exploring without delving into the storyline at all. But the storyline was exciting and kept me moving forward.
It is also not unimportant and pleasant how smoothly and without any problems this game runs; whether in 1080p or 4k, the game looks and works without any complaints or problems. And the support for controllers that I noticed in Avatar cannot be unpleasant.
I could spend pages describing everything I saw while playing the game and still not cover it all. There are vast and interesting locations, traps, and secret passages on every corner, colorful and memorable characters scattered throughout Mount Kaf and the palace, and massive and challenging bosses that lie ahead. I had a lot of concerns about this game, which doesn’t directly tie into the storyline we’ve come to know and love since the beginning of the series. I’m happy to say that this spin-off was not only successful, but the start of something surprising and exciting, but also something that I enjoyed. The game’s world is interesting, and the combo-based combat feels like a mad cross between DMC and the Ori series. The game is worth the time to explore its huge map, and will provide us with interesting characters in a reboot of the game series and a great introduction to 2024.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown will be released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on January 15/18. 2024.