Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown was one of several games that I spent hands-on time with during last year’s Summer Games Fest Ubisoft Forward event. Having never played any of the previous entries in the series, I was blown away by the beautiful 2.5D art style and side-scrolling platforming aesthetics so much so that I already had this title firmly slotted at the very top of my most anticipated video games of 2024 list.
After playing through the game these last few weeks, I’m pleased to say that Ubisoft Montpellier knocked this gripping action-adventure game right out of the ballpark. If you love side-scrolling games that are easy to pick up and play but also challenging and rewarding at the same time, then Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown should be on your radar. Here are more of my thoughts on the game and why it’s well worth the price of admission.
The Chosen One
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown follows the journey of Sargon, a gifted young prodigy who is also a member of an elite group of warriors known as the Immortals. Shortly after Prince Ghassan is abducted, Queen Thomyris sends the team on a rescue mission to Mount Oaf, a mysterious city once protected by The God of Time and Knowledge known as Simurgh. As of result of his absence, timelines have been altered and the mythical Persian land is now cursed by dangerous creatures, possessed warriors, and puzzling anomalities at every corner.
One aspect that I loved about the storyline is the pacing and how key moments are designed to leave you on the edge of your seat. The very first mission does a great job of teaching you the core gameplay mechanics while also establishing the relationships that Sargon shares with his teammates. As the narrative begins to unravel, Sargon endures betrayal and gains new powers that allow him to adapt and grow even further as both a character and warrior. The framework of how this is all beautifully pieced together really highlights the attention to detail in character development and creating an engaging world full of complexity.
A Metrovania-Inspired Platformer
As I mentioned above, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a 2.5D action-adventure platformer with a Metrovania-stylized formula. Right as soon as you start playing the game, you can choose either Exploration or Guided mode to navigate through your adventure. While the world map is extensive and there’s a total of 13 different environments to explore, there are certain areas and secrets that aren’t accessible right away meaning you’ll need to revisit at a later time after you’ve acquired new abilities.
Sargon is a naturally agile dual-sword combat specialist with the ability to parry, slide, and dodge most reckless attacks. As you progress through the campaign, you’ll unlock a new weapon in the Bow/Chakram, Amulets, Athra Surges, and Time powers.
The Bow/Chakram is very useful because it doubles as both an arrow-shooting weapon and a boomerang capable of accessing hard-to-reach areas. Amulets grant passive bonuses when equipped in combat while Athra Surges are special abilities that you can unleash on opponents after your meter has been built up. Lastly, Time Powers are unlocked as you continue to find Feathers of the Simurgh and allow you to manipulate time in a multitude of ways.
All of the abilities that I described above are essential to your overall progression and survival in Mount Oaf. The world is filled with several puzzles that you’ll need to solve to uncover every secret. In addition to this, the time powers make facing off against enemies and traversing through landscapes even more fun. There are a total of 10 Atha Surges and 6 Time powers for you to discover.
It’s worth noting that as you get deeper into the game, the puzzles and enemies get even more challenging. Luckily as you continue to explore your surroundings, there are numerous Wak-Wak Trees where you can save your progression, and equip your Amulets and Atha Surges accordingly. Overall, I like how the game challenges you to rethink how you approach a puzzle or boss battle and you feel a great sense of accomplishment after you’ve solved the problem.
Aside from focusing on the main quest which should take you 20-25 hours to complete, you do have the option of talking to several characters along the way including the local guide named Fariba, Mage The Shopkeeper, Kaheva The Blacksmith, and Artaban The Swordmaster and your fellow Immortal colleague. Fariba can be found in several places throughout the world and can give you hints in exchange for crystals. Likewise, Mage and Kaheva can help you upgrade your weapons and Amulets for a fee while Artaban is your one-stop shop for training techniques. There are also a total of 9 side quests and epic boss battles to participate in.
On Xbox Series X, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown looks incredible and performed beautifully with no graphical hiccups or performance issues. The game currently runs at 4K 60 fps and is expected to increase to 120 fps after the Day One patch. The standard edition of the game costs $49.99 while the Deluxe Edition is available for $59.99. There is also a free demo dropping today on every console so you’ll have an opportunity to check it out for yourself.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is an incredible action-adventure side-scrolling game and the perfect way to start a new year. The beautiful art style, gripping storyline, and addictive gameplay mechanics make this an outstanding package and worth checking even if you are only remotely interested.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown for Xbox Series X provided by Ubisoft.