Among the humongous pile of dormant Ubisoft IPs, few are as deserving as Prince of Persia to make a stellar comeback. While the company is busy releasing a product each year that snugly fits into the open-world template it has crafted with Assassin’s Creed 2, Prince of Persia, the IP that shaped modern Ubisoft is going through troubled times.
That’s until Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, the first title in the franchise in almost 14 years. Expertly helmed by the Montpellier branch responsible for the excellent Rayman series of platformers, The Lost Crown is the talented studio at its best. While it may not be the return of the prince the fans have long anticipated, The Lost Crown is an excellent game in its own right and perhaps the best game Ubisoft has put out in a decade. Presenting Gameffine’s Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown review.
THE CROWN OF PERSIA
It’s time to clear something before moving forward. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a PoP game in title only. While the franchise’s beginning can be dated back to Jordan Mechner’s groundbreaking 1989 platformer, The Lost Crown is nothing like either the originals or Ubisoft’s 3D action-adventure titles. The Lost Crown is an action-platformer with some Metroidvania elements emphasizing speed, mobility, and combat. The story, too, has nothing to do with the Legacy franchise (save for some obvious throwbacks and MacGuffins) and sports an original plot which I assume is an alternate canon.
The Lost Crown as the title suggests is about chasing the crown of Persia which has been kidnapped from the heart of the empire and taken to the cursed mountain of Qaf. Qaf once home to all sorts of trades and knowledge across the world, is now a valley of broken memories and twisted time. One may spend an hour walking a path, while others may spend a lifetime trying to cross a room.
You play as one of the Immortals named Sargon. Immortals are a group of seven highly skilled warriors who protect the crown and empire of Persia. However, in Mount Qaf, strange mysteries of a history that had already been prophesized remain. Mount Qaf was originally home to the god of time and creation who no more blesses the world. You as Sargon make your way to the dangers of Mount Qaf, exploring 7 Different biomes, recovering the crown and most importantly, uncovering the ugly truth that lies dormant in Mount Qaf.
In short, The Lost Crown is its own thing with radically different gameplay, tone, and story and those expecting a classic PoP adventure will be sorely disappointed. The name Prince of Persia is just slapped on there for brand recognition and nothing else. That being said, however, Ubisoft Montpellier has done an excellent job where it matters the most- the gameplay.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a tried and true action platform designed by people who know how to make it stick. The level design, exploration, sense of scale, ease of backtracking, controls, and combat are all expertly crafted and implemented. While it stays true to the established formula, each element of gameplay is polished to a shine. The map is sufficiently big for a game of this type and features varied biomes that constantly push for exploring the off-beaten path.
Navigating the hero through the various hazards feels buttery smooth thanks to responsive controls and fluid animations. Just when you start to tire of fighting the same old enemies or parkouring through similar obstacles, the game throws something new at you- whether it be a new power-up or new challenges. That being said, the game is quite long and it does take some time for the game to fully open up.
As your journey expands you also unlock various abilities to freely move around the map and create exciting opportunities to build a diversified fighting style fit for multiple combinations of attack. Expanding your traversal through double jump or extending the air-time bashing to your time-crazed enemies, this is your playground.
Except for the major boss fights which are a real snoozefest, the side bosses wherein you fight legendary warriors and sometimes yourself, you are always put up in a challenging quest where adapting the fighting style on the go is necessary.
Apart from the straightforward combat offered in the game, there is no real level cap as such, therefore allowing you to take on all enemies right from the start and preventing you from turning around in fear. You can also boost your abilities by equipping amulets. Similar to a roguelike game perks, you can equip a limited number of amulets that will provide your unique buffs and talents that may have a small impact but can contribute to turning the tides in an instant.
THE TIMELESS VISIONS
Prince of Persia The Lost Crown is a sketch book given life through a video game. Every background has its own story and setting to tell and each asset complimented the biome it belonged to.
Right from the start of the game, it brings out a slight anime inspired flashy combat style, which luckily is fast enough and does not become repetitive after a while. The color and tone of the world design always fit the narrative and location. Inspite of just being a 2D platformer, you can easily remember various locations all the while having an expansive map at hand.
The sound design however is one mark left unchecked by the game which is especially hard to digest from a Ubisoft title. Ubisoft has done a tremendous job over the years for it’s compositions and scores but somehow ended up with a mediocre effort on this one, especially with the evident basic pitched voices of many enemies.
Many 2D platformers take pride in their storytelling and score that leaves players thinking about the game long after it’s over, Ubisoft here nailed everything in this 2D platformer except the story and music.
Prince of Persia The Lost Crown is no way a valid successor, but a fantastic 2D platformer on it’s own. It stands strong on the level design, combat fluidity and the variety in terms of map scale, characters and more importantly – the puzzles. The story is there, and may not leave a big impact but the game does miss out on having a worthy OST for a strong title like this. The game undoubtedly comes in the ranks of best platformers of the year already.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown ReviewPrince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review
Combat and Mechanics100/100 The best
Story and OST65/100 Good
World Design90/100 Amazing