Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a thrilling and stylish action-adventure Metroidvania set in the backdrop of a mythological Persian setting, my full review.
Prince of Persia is a legendary series that has been around for more than three decades and in this time, left an indelible mark on many other blockbuster franchises. Games like Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted and even Jedi Fallen Order feature the DNA of the franchise in their adventures. Sadly, the Prince went dormant and many fans (myself included) have been waiting for a new entry that would hopefully bring back the magic of the Sands of Time. After 13-years Ubisoft Montpellier has delivered with Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, but was the wait worth it?
The Lost Crown is a homage to the series’ roots while offering many fresh and modern twists to the visuals and gameplay. Ubisoft opted for a highly stylized 2.5D side-scrolling action-adventure game. This, in combination with excellent platforming, excellent combat, and time-bending mechanics make for one incredible experience. It’s been what feels like an eternity since the last Prince of Persia adventure, let’s dive in and see if the prince has returned as a king.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Luna
Developer(s): Ubisoft Montpellier
Genre: Action Adventure
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
A tale of betrayal and mystery
In The Lost Crown, you play as Sargon, a dual sword wielding warrior. As part of an elite group called the Immortals, you are tasked with protecting Persia. Early in the story you are led to Mount Qaf, a cursed city where you must save the prince, who has been kidnapped by a mysterious foe. As you begin your quest to rescue the prince supernatural foes, puzzles and unexpected betrayals create plenty of challenges. When it comes to experiencing the main game you are looking at 20 – 25 hours of playtime.
The story itself is fairly “paint by numbers” but I found it had enough intrigue to keep me interested in the characters and wanting to see it through to the end. One area it would have been great to see more production value is the story cutscenes as they are still images with voiceovers. At the start of the game all the plot is introduced in this manner, and it leaves a lot to the imagination. Outside of these smaller qualms the game’s biggest draws are in gameplay, graphics, and audio design. Let’s look at what makes those areas in The Lost Crown so special next.
Fast paced and satisfying gameplay
The gameplay in Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a mix of platforming, combat, and puzzle-solving. You’ll have to use Sargon’s skills and abilities to navigate levels, which is divided into different regions, each with its own theme and challenges. Some of these powers are time-based, such as the Rush of the Simurgh, which lets you dash forward through time, or the Shadow of the Simurgh, which lets you place a shadow marker that you can return to at any moment.
Amulets and other mechanics
You will also find amulets that can alter your abilities and give you an edge in combat or platforming. They can also “de-buff” your character in other ways to created more of a challenge. The game has a Metroidvania structure, meaning that you will have to backtrack and explore previously inaccessible areas as you unlock new powers and weapons. The backtracking can become a little onerous at times, but the fun traversal and combat make the journey a great experience.
Memory Shards mechanic
One of the most interesting systems that The Lost Crown that I hope appears in other games are “Memory Shards.” This is a special feature that lets you capture and mark any location you see in the game. You can use them to remember important places that you want to revisit later, such as areas with hidden secrets or obstacles that require special abilities to overcome. For example, if you see an area you can’t reach with your current build, you can screenshot it and it will appear on your in-game map. When you pick up an upgrade later that adds to your jump height or overall dexterity you can return to that area faster using the picture as a reminder. The picture appears as an orb on your map, and you can view it anytime. You have a limited number of Memory Shards, but you can delete the ones you don’t need any more and get more as you progress through the game. These aren’t unlimited, by the end game, I had around 15 at my disposal, but they saved a lot of time trying to find points of interest that I had already discovered.
The combat is fast and fluid, requiring you to use your blades, bows, the Chakram and parries to defeat your enemies. You’ll face a variety of foes, from human soldiers to mythical beasts, and you will have to adapt your strategy accordingly. There is also no shortage of enemies types, I experienced over 60 different types of foes along my adventure.
I did find some of the boss encounters really had a dramatic spike in difficultly but were otherwise fun. Wielding and upgrading the Dual blades feel great and offers a lot high-intensity combat. The ranged weapons like the Chakram also add some variety to the gameplay as you progress. Overall, I found the combat was a massive highlight that brought me back again and again. All the mechanics working in concert from combat, traversal and puzzles made for an incredible feel to every encounter.
Graphics and Performance
The Lost Crown has a unique style all its own that I absolutely love. The graphics engine blends 2D and 3D elements but also pans around characters during combat. This creates Dragon Ball Z-style Super Saiyan moments with Sargon that really amp up the movement and energy on screen.
The game has a colourful and vibrant aesthetic that draws inspiration from anime and classic Persian art. This modern fusion of art styles creates an instantly recognizable visual aesthetic for the series, and I hope the team carries it forward. There are also a variety of environments, from lush gardens to dark caves, each one with its own atmosphere and mood. In total the game has 13 distinct biomes chalk full of detail, unique animations, and its own unique visual style.
The game runs smoothly and is very responsive on the PS5. Ubisoft targeted 60 frames per second, even on the Nintendo Switch. The game also supports 4K resolution and HDR at 120 Hz on compatible screens. Testing on the PS5 with a TV that was able to hit a 120 Hz refresh rate keeps the action looking buttery smooth.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown’s Sound Design
The Lost Crown has a dynamic and adaptive soundtrack that changes according to the situation and the environment. The game’s composers, Gareth Coker and Mentrix, have created a musical score that combines traditional Persian instruments and melodies with modern sound. The game also features voice acting and sound effects that enhance the game’s narrative and gameplay. One drawback that pulled me out of the experience is the lack of lip-synced animation, characters speak but their lips don’t always move in-game. Voice actors have done a great job of bringing the characters to life, and the game supports multiple languages and subtitles. Sound effects are realistic and satisfying, from the clashing of swords to the roaring of monsters.
Final thoughts on Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Whether you are returning to the series, or a new player, The Lost Crown will appeal to both audiences. The latest iteration respects the legacy of the franchise while offering a fresh and modern take on it. It combines fluid and dynamic gameplay with stunning and diverse graphics and an excellent score. If you are looking for a stylish and thrilling action-adventure platformer, look no further than Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown it’s one of 2024’s first “must play” titles.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown PROS
+Stylish and thrilling action-adventure platformer game
+Fluid platforming and combat
+Time-bending powers and abilities that add variety and depth to the gameplay
+Stunning and diverse world inspired by Persian mythology
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown CONS
-Puzzles and enemies can be frustrating or repetitive
-More fast travel points would be ideal
-OG Fans may not like the departure from the previous games
Overall Rating: 34/40 (85%)
A copy of the game was provided by Ubisoft for the purpose of this review.
About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on multiple social platforms with the handle @dapper_tux via "X", Instagram, Threads, TikTok and join in on the fun!
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