Sceptics of the art design and character choice will need help to stay away from this game. It’s not one of those games that grows on you, it’s a bloody good game and if you’re a Prince of Persia fan, it’s downright addictive. The combat is simple yet layered, the puzzles are thought-provoking, the level design is gorgeous, the platforming challenges are sweaty and the lore isn’t edgy.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown review
Time to get back
You play as Sargon who is the youngest member of the Immortals. A group of elite warriors trained to serve and protect the Persian Empire. It’s a rescue mission which goes sideways and turns into a time-bending rigmarole. Prince Ghassan, the actual Prince of Persia, is abducted and taken to Mount Qaf which is a cursed place where time is moving like a melted ice cream. The premise is simple at first but soon you’ll find alternative personas, time-skipping traitors and unlikely allies.
Although at times you lose track of why you’re running around the place, it never really mattered to us. The 13 biomes are so vibrant and thoughtfully designed that they pretty much drive the story forward through chin-stroking intrigue and delightful platforming.
Platforming and combat
In typical Metroidvania fashion, you will be moving fast and jumping across levels only to be blocked by something you can’t access till you show up with the requisite power to either smash through the wall or teleport past it. It’s one big map interconnected to a citadel and filled with challenging traps, spooky dungeons, starry skies, a ghastly harbour, pretty forests and sand… Yes, there’s sand! Even though this is a 2D platformer, the scale of the citadel and the adjacent biomes are truly breathtaking.
Every time-bending power can be used for combat and platforming too. You never feel overburdened with unnecessary power-ups or upgrade paths. Everything is precisely there for a reason and you will need to use every bit of Sargon’s time abilities, acrobatics and precise movement to win boss battles and clear through tough but fair platforming sections of the game. Even weapon upgrades are locked behind resource hunting and some side quests which never overindulge, unlike many current Ubisoft games.
Amulets offer minor adjustments to your combat experience. Like to dish out more damage? Then extending the sword combo through the amulet is the best way. Confident in your timing and parrying skills? Then slot on an amulet that activates a time-slowing bubble and another amulet for health regen every time you parry.
The fluid movement also makes the whole game feel precise and engaging. We played it at hard difficulty and the timing of parries and incoming attacks was crucial in combat and platforming puzzle challenges. The 2D platforming is as challenging as Celeste and in beautiful-looking backdrops that are as good as Ori and the Blind Forest. If your path is blocked by something you can’t unlock or a puzzle you cannot complete, you can save a picture of the location which will be pinned to your map so you can come back to it when you have more abilities and or more grey matter.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a very fast-paced game but the simplicity of the combat makes the game truly fun. Initially, everything is limited to the sword fights along with one or two Athra Surges. If land a good amount of attacks you can unleash a devastating finishing power move called Athra Surge. You can also parry ‘yellow’ attacks that let you do a cinematic finisher. As with all video games, the red attacks are best dodged. Slowly you learn that kicking enemies in the air and executing combos is encouraged.
The game takes a lot of inspiration from anime and brings a very unique flavour to its cinematics. Striking a pose and unleashing a Dragon Ball Z-like Super Saiyan aura before executing a finishing move is oddly exhilarating and makes you feel like Sargon means business. Sargon is also not a lost puppy that stumbles into personal inadequacies like most video games these days. He’s a headstrong character who is brash and dives into fights like a bull chasing a red flag. We love it. Everything about Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is fresh, engaging and thoroughly entertaining.
It’s not a graphically intensive game either. We wished to play it on a handheld PC or Nintendo Switch soon but right now the PS5 was the best place because of a bigger controller. This game will test your finger dexterity with its platforming and boss battles so be prepared to crack your knuckles from time to time.
One of the best games of 2024 that is challenging, rewarding and filled with fresh lore. Everyone who loves platformer games is going to enjoy this a lot and the 25-hour story is perfectly long enough to not overstay its welcome.
It’s also one of the few Ubisoft games that took me by surprise, and that doesn’t happen a lot. After Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013), this has to be my favourite Ubisoft game of all time.
Some learnings from Ubisoft’s other titles have also been incorporated like the detailed world-building. The Persian mythology is so intriguing that I rang up all my Parsi friends (our office is owned by one) to encourage them to play this game. The game is voiced in Farsi as well!
Challenging, rewarding and simply the best game of 2024. Play it now!