‘Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown’ game review: Metroidvania meets mythological epic

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown’s new direction pays off with stunning visuals, deep gameplay, and a captivating story

February 10, 2024 10:22 am | Updated 10:22 am IST

Still from the game.

Still from the game. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Jordan Mechner’s 1989 Prince of Persia remains an unforgettable classic, praised for its fluid rotoscoped animation and swashbuckling swordplay. Since then, the unnamed prince has embarked on several reboots, with The Sands of Time introducing Ubisoft’s signature parkour and time-bending mechanics, later echoing in the Assassin’s Creed series. Now, we have The Lost Crown, a remake that revisits the side-scrolling roots with stunning 2D-meets-3D graphics. Does this new title earn its place in the Prince of Persia legacy, and can it recapture interest after so long?

I initially expected a predictable “save the prince” story, but was surprised by the story’s depth. As one of The Immortals, elite warriors defending the Persian Empire, our hero, Sargon, is tasked with rescuing a kidnapped prince, with a traitor amongst them. The quest leads to Mount Quaf, a cursed mountain steeped in mythology, hinting at a darker plot involving sorcery.

The Lost Crown‘s world, steeped in history and mythology, is engrossing. As Sargon wields time magic and battles mythical beasts and undead, encounters often evoke God of War‘s epic scale. The cast, particularly The Immortals, are well-designed and add personality. The game’s time disruptions create visually interesting platforming challenges, adding variety to the story.

For fans of anime, the combat is a treat. Expect quick strikes, neon slashes, screen-filling powers, and stylish 2D finishers with dynamic camera angles and vibrant backgrounds. Platforming features acrobatic double jumps and evades leaving blue trails, while cinematically-shot cutscenes complement the hand-painted art style, reminiscent of the Spiderverse films. This side-scroller packs a visual punch with blockbuster production values.

The Lost Crown follows the Metroidvania style (popularised by the side-scrolling games Metroid and Castlevania), offering large, interconnected levels that require exploration to unlock new paths. However, it differentiates itself with a more dynamic combat system. Risky aggression is rewarded with precise evades, parries, and mastery of mechanics. Combat becomes a beautiful dance of blades, each successful parry offering a satisfying visual and tactile burst. However, mistakes are punished swiftly.

The game’s bosses are intelligent, well-designed, and unforgiving. More than just tests of skill, they force you to learn their patterns and adapt. The key to victory is aggressive study and persistence.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Developer:Ubisoft Montpellier
Publisher: Ubisoft
Price: ₹3499 on Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5 and PC, Nintendo Switch

The platforming levels often evoke the 1989 game, offering challenging puzzle-like obstacle courses with spikes and traps. While the action and platforming might seem daunting, the controls are simple, mechanics easy to learn, and the combat system engaging.

I reviewed this game on the ageing Nintendo Switch, and it ran smoothly with no slowdown, looking great on both the big screen and the Switch’s OLED display. While the bigger consoles might offer slight graphical enhancements, having this game on the go is a major plus. Consider the Steam Deck or Switch version if you’re a frequent traveler.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a superb game. Crafted with love and brimming with new lore, it revitalises the series by embracing the Metroidvania genre and offering a dynamic, visually stunning experience. Whether this new direction attracts existing fans remains to be seen.

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