PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is one of the early game releases of 2024 and is the newest game to come out from the Prince of Persia franchise. Set in the same universe of the previous mainline games, The Lost Crown is an action-adventure platformer game that follows the story of Sargon, a young warrior who is part of the legendary band of warriors known as the Immortals. After the current Persian prince, Prince Ghassan, has been unexpectedly abducted, Sargon and the rest of the Immortals set off to Mount Qaf to rescue the prince. Things then take a different turn when a mysterious force has taken over the entirety of Mount Qaf, making time flow differently.
Knowing very little about the game ever since its announcement early last year, I dove into the game expecting that I wouldn’t have much of a fun and refreshing time, but more or less be painfully frustrated most of the time as fast-paced platforming isn’t really my strong suit. But I was proven wrong – in a good way.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown was made to be a modernization of the franchise itself, and it has been almost a decade and a half since the last main game of the franchise came out. The dev team managed to pull it off without actually setting the game in the actual modern time, just through the striking visuals, the pace of the story, the semi-open world exploration, and the action-packed fights. Since it’s also a fresh story, it’s also a great game for people who want to know what it’s like playing a Prince of Persia game without being intimidated by the other games’ established lore.
Talking about Sargon as the protagonist, he is the determined type of person who has a strong will and an even stronger set of morals that he lives by. Even though he’s young and most of the people that surround him are way older than he is, Sargon doesn’t come off as a naive and inexperienced individual and he can show that he can stand for himself. Also, even though he is a new character whose only introduction was that he is the youngest Immortal, it wasn’t hard to learn who Sargon is as a person. It’s also a nice touch to see some of Sargon’s backstory from time to time while seeing him stronger as he fulfills his duty to save the prince. For the sake of not spoiling anything, I’m not going to put in a lot of details, but due to the time-altering phenomena in Mount Qaf, we get to see that Sargon is not infallible, and that’s what makes him easily relatable.
As for the story, it has its own twists and turns that serve the narrative well without being overly excessive and convoluted. The story isn’t really what pulls players to get into a Prince of Persia game, but it does enrich the experience, and The Lost Crown pulled it off quite well. They took the more subtle approach of leaving bits and pieces to things like prophecies, steles, and collectibles to not only tell the current story, but also create the world and retell the story of the people who once lived in Mount Qaf. I dig games who take this approach as there are times where I’d like to know more about the story in my own pace rather than watch long cutscenes and expositions.
I personally appreciate that there’s not much dialogue to go through, and if there is, it doesn’t stray too much from the point of the moment. This puts better focus and emphasis on the exploration and the action aspect of the game, making the game more substantial and a fun platformer to experience.
The main selling point of The Lost Crown is its core gameplay. Starting with the combat, the action and movements are smooth. I really appreciate that the parry is snappy and responsive. And there’s just that oomph that I like to see and feel whenever I play these kinds of action games. Although there were definitely times that I chose to slip by enemies, they were more because I was low on health and had to rush to the nearest Wak-Wak Tree, but whenever I can, I tried to fight the enemies because the action just felt so good and rewarding. The boss fights were also insane and punishing to the point that I really had to find a way and change up my tactics in each iteration until I managed to defeat them.
The customization when it comes to combat was also a welcomed feature. The amulets played a big help in tailoring Sargon’s strengths based on the challenge ahead and my style of playing. The upgrade system was also just simple, but effective and not too game breaking.
Moving on to the platforming and puzzle side of The Lost Crown’s gameplay, I think it ties up to the game’s combat for what makes the game fun. The traversal in some deeper parts of Mount Qaf were tricky to the point that they looked almost impossible to cross, excluding those that require certain abilities. There were dozens of times when I went “Dude, how?” because the path ahead was either just a gauntlet of spikes or just a barren path with almost nothing to latch on to. But after a number of tries and actually remembering to use the new ability I gained a few chapters back, I managed to cross most of them and it felt so rewarding.
This includes the puzzle rooms in which I had fun solving. There were not much visual guides that would make the experience hand-holdy and I was left to my own devices. If I remember correctly, there wasn’t a puzzle room that I stumbled into that I had to revisit because I was missing a crucial ability to complete it; I’d say that’s some good level design. Everything was there, I just had to get the gears turning in my head to find the right order of moves to clear the puzzle.
Speaking of level design, the map of Mount Qaf was made to be a semi-open world, which means that you can go wherever provided that you have the skills for its traversal. There was never a point that I got stuck in a place because of some weird glitch or happenstance that got me there when I wasn’t supposed to be. If a certain area is impassable at the moment, it can be seen through the map, if enabled, or it can be clearly seen just by the layout of the place.
There were enough save points and fast travel points to make traveling in between far points less of a drag. If there was one point that I wish the game would change, it would be just the UI of the fast travel system, change it from the list type that it is right now to a more intuitive scan-the-map cursor manner.
Now, on to the visuals which, I would say, is the second best point of The Lost Crown. I appreciate the use of the 2D-painting-on-3D kind of style thing that has been popular lately. The colors are vibrant, the elements in the environment plus the lighting are coherent, the vibes of the different biomes and locations are clear and well conveyed. The action effects, especially the ones during executions or finishers give so much treat to the eyes. Everything else is so beautifully crafted, all things considered.
As for the audio side of the game, all I could say that the voice acting was done well. I’m aware of that one Wak-Wak inhabitant that was purposefully made to sound like an AI text-to-speech bot; I found it weird at first, but it’s a neat oddity. There wasn’t really something remarkable that made me remember of the soundtrack of the game though. What I do appreciate are the sound cues during combat and while exploring. The chirping bird that helped me find treasures came to the edge of being annoying at one point, but I’m aware that it’s an option I took and that I could just unequip the amulet for it.
For the game’s performance, I encountered no issues at all during my play sessions. It’s also worthy to point out that the game’s specs are not taxing, yet we get this great experience from playing it; it really proves the point that high specs do not equate to top-notch experience.
To wrap up my review on Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, I’m glad that I got to play the game as I enjoyed most of it had to offer. It frustrated me a lot of times, but only to the point that it was still fair and that they’re nothing that a few more dozen tries can fix. The rewards that came after were well worth the effort as they were relevant to keeping Sargon on top of conquering the challenges in Mount Qaf.
Like I said before, I was proven wrong that I would only come out frustrated and defeated after playing this game; I had a good time and I found myself playing the game whenever I can, even pushed myself to take on the challenges that I would otherwise drop just five or less tries in if it were any other platformer. So far, I’m confident to say that The Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a good early contender for the Best Action-Adventure game for this year.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown – Review
Almost perfect if not for the nitty-gritty. If it’s quite there but not enough to push the boundaries, it’s still an awesome game.
Engaging combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving
Beautiful art style and visual effects
Game specs are not demanding
Accessibility features cater to a wide range of players