After a 13-year hiatus, the Prince of Persia series returns triumphantly with Ubisoft's latest instalment, "Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown." Departing from the 3D action platforming of the early 2000s, the game rewinds the clock over three decades, embracing the series' 2D roots in a full-blown Metroidvania adventure.
Developed by Rayman Legends studio Ubisoft Montpellier, this new rendition promises a refreshing take on the beloved franchise, blending classic Prince of Persia elements with innovative gameplay. This review will explore the game's narrative, mechanics, and overall gameplay experience.
Ninth-Century Persia Beckons
The Lost Crown takes players through ninth-century Persia, reminiscent of the original 1989 Prince of Persia. As the warrior Sargon, players navigate perilous side-scrolling landscapes, avoiding deadly traps and uncovering the mystery of the missing Prince.
The game's rich narrative unfolds in a beautifully crafted, interconnected map that spans from haunted dungeons to the mythical Mount Qaf, showcasing the vastness and diversity of Persian mythology.
In a departure from the classic Prince of Persia protagonist, players assume the role of Sargon, a warrior from a group known as The Immortals. The characters exude a clear comic book and manga influence, featuring larger-than-life personalities and muscles. This shift hints at a departure from the classic games, offering a fresh perspective while maintaining the essence of the series. The Immortals' mission revolves around rescuing the missing Prince, introducing a unique dynamic to the gameplay.
Metroidvania at its Core
Embracing the Metroidvania genre, The Lost Crown offers a sprawling, interconnected map with branching pathways and intricate level design. The game adheres to the genre's traditions, with challenging platforming sections that demand precision and strategic thinking.
The map's layout often requires players to backtrack, forming complex loops that enhance the overall exploration experience. The smooth 60fps frame rate ensures a seamless gameplay experience, even on platforms like the Switch.
Swordplay and Spectacular Boss Battles
The combat system in The Lost Crown introduces precise swordplay with extensive use of parries reminiscent of the Metroidvania greats. Sargon's stylish blade deflects trigger visually stunning animations, fulfilling Ubisoft Montpellier's anime ambitions. Boss battles, exemplified by a formidable manticore, showcase the game's intent for challenging encounters. The two-stage battles progressively become complex, providing thrilling challenges that demand skill and strategic prowess.
Sargon's arsenal includes both time powers and amulets, adding layers of depth to the gameplay. Time powers, though less flashy than Sands of Time predecessors, have a dash that can evade attacks. The ability to place shadow markers and instantly 'rewind' to them introduces a strategic element, acting as makeshift checkpoints. Amulets further enhance Sargon's abilities, offering unique twists to skills. From firing laser beams to setting arrows ablaze, the variety of amulets promises diverse and dynamic combat scenarios.
Innovative Enemies and Creative Challenges
The Lost Crown introduces innovative enemies, such as a towering correctional officer surrounded by mist, representing his senses. This adversary requires players to employ carefully timed jumps and slides to avoid capture, showcasing Ubisoft Montpellier's commitment to creative challenges. These moments add depth to the overall experience, making encounters memorable and engaging.
In the two hours of hands-on gameplay, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown has already proven to be a worthy pivot for the series. Combining classic Prince of Persia elements with Metroidvania mechanics, innovative enemies, and a rich narrative creates a promising foundation.
As the game progresses, fans can anticipate returning to the series' glory days with a fresh and captivating twist. Ubisoft Montpellier's dedication to delivering a well-crafted and visually stunning experience suggests that the sands of time may finally favour Prince of Persia enthusiasts.