Review of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown – a great comeback

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We have also prepared a video review.

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This year the Prince of Persia series will celebrate its 35th anniversary. However, over such a long period, many different names have appeared, so when this name is pronounced today, everyone can imagine something different. Some will remember the legendary original from Jordan Mechner, others will remember the 3D games from Ubisoft. However, in recent years the series has been completely frozen. Yes, a remake of the famous Sands of Time was announced some Friday, but it was taken away from the original studio and development was actually resumed at Ubisoft Montreal, so we will have to wait for it.

Therefore, it was no small surprise when last summer we saw the announcement of a new game in the Prince of Persia series with the subtitle The Lost Crown from the Ubisoft Montpellier studio, which gave us, for example, the Rayman series. And although many were skeptical about the game, I was looking forward to it from the very beginning. This is not even another 3D game and not even a full-fledged return to roots, because it is a 2D (or in this case 2.5D) platformer, and first of all a metroidvania. However, this is what attracted me most to the game. So how did she end up?

  • Platform: PC (review version), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch
  • Publication date: 01/18/2024
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Genre: Metroidvania, platformer
  • Czech localization: No
  • Multiplayer: No
  • Download data: 25 GB
  • Game time: ~20 hours
  • Price: €49.99 (Ubisoft Store), available on Ubisoft+.

Played on Steam Deck OLED and the following PC build:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-13600K
  • FRAME: 32 GB DDR5 6000 MT/s
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 (16 GB VRAM)
  • Storage: Solidigm P44 Pro (1TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD)

Return to Persia

Although the prince himself appears in Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, you may be surprised to learn that he only plays a minor role. You will take on the role of the young warrior Sargon, part of a seven-member squad called the Immortals, who defends all of Persia in the name of Queen Tomyris. However, Prince Hassan is kidnapped, and the soldiers go on a rescue mission to Mount Kaf and the old city located there. But this is a special place where time flows differently for each person, and saving the prince will not be easy at all.

At first glance, the game can amaze you with its beautiful visual style with bright locations. Whether you’re in the city itself, in the forest, in the archives or even in the dark dungeons and catacombs, you can count on a wonderful spectacle that, together with the sound system, creates a wonderful atmosphere. I really need to highlight this part of the game because few games have such high environmental variability as well as such a unique design that plays with time.

The level of detail isn’t very high, but for most of the game it doesn’t matter at all, you only notice it in cutscenes that don’t look very good due to the poor quality of the character models or facial animations. . The icing on the cake is a series of pre-recorded movies that are played back at absolutely insane quality with extreme artifacts caused by compression.

It’s a shame because the voice actors did an excellent job and the story is actually very interesting and full of unexpected twists. One would expect an emphasis on gameplay from a metroidvania, but the game doesn’t skimp on cutscenes, further plot development, or lore. I wasn’t too excited about the ending, but the overall impressions of the story were definitely positive.

And before moving on to the gameplay, I must mention the fantastic soundtrack, which is behind the Iranian composer Mentrix and the famous British composer Gareth Cocker, who has music from the Ori series, for example. Lost Crown interestingly combines traditional music with a touch of modern genres and creates an incredibly interesting mix that I will listen to with great pleasure even after its release. Whether it’s calm melodies or tense moments during a boss battle, you definitely won’t be bored. It’s just a shame that the audio mix seemed a little unbalanced to me and the music played too quietly, so I recommend adjusting this in the settings.

No walks in the park

Now finally onto the gameplay, and I’d start with movement, which is incredibly important in a platformer and especially in a metroidvania, and so I’m glad this actually worked out. Jumping, sliding, and running are just the starting options, but when you add later abilities like dash or teleport, you have an extremely varied mix that can be used to achieve great results. And as you walk through the rooms, you don’t lose a certain “flow,” which is simply extremely pleasing. But, unfortunately, I can’t say that it would be completely without problems. Firstly, my character has had a few glitches when jumping, and secondly, what has burned me the most is that the controls, especially with dash, aren’t as responsive as I’d like, so maybe you want to jump. right, but Sargon jumps to the left, causing you to lose valuable progress.

If I had to mention one thing Lost Crown has in common with other entries in the series, it would be traps and traps of all kinds. You encounter them quite regularly and they are definitely not easy to overcome. You’ll have to use not only all of Sargon’s skills, but also your logical thinking to even figure out how to get through this section. I enjoyed most of these rooms, however some of the passages are quite frustrating and you have to go a long stretch without a checkpoint. The problem is that the difficulty of these parts of the game fluctuates wildly and can skyrocket. The game is sure to test your patience many times.

It must be said that Lost Crown offers a solid amount of accessibility settings. First of all, Explore mode (which is the default option) and Guided mode are available. In the first you will have to figure out a lot of things on your own, as is usually the case in metroidvanias, the guided mode, as the name suggests, will guide you a little. Either way, you’ll have to go back a different way, but luckily there are quite a few places to fast travel. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed this exploration and returning to familiar places with new abilities, but it’s definitely worth noting that if this is your first Metroidvania, you’ll have to be prepared. This genre is not for everyone.

But back to the traps and puzzles, which vary from location to location and each time you try something a little different. In addition, each part of Mount Kaf hides treasures, items related to the history of this place and all of Persia, and you will even come across side quests. Some aren’t very creative and just want to bring you certain items, while others introduce you to interesting characters, solve other puzzles, or go on a pilgrimage to save the moon. The side quests are definitely good fun if you don’t want to just follow the main line. With the crystals or coins you receive, you can then buy interesting upgrades and slightly adapt your playing style to your needs.

Difficult fights

While the puzzles are still important, the bulk of the game is the combat. And although I was a little skeptical, they ended up being much more difficult than I thought. I highly recommend going through the full tutorial as it will teach you a lot of tricks that you may not have figured out on your own. You have basic sword attacks (fast and charged), as well as the ability to throw enemies away, throw them into the air or, conversely, throw them down, and perhaps slide under the enemy’s feet and go behind his vulnerable back. In any case, there are many defenseless enemies in the air, so it is advantageous to stay above the ground as long as possible and perform various combos. Two other weapons will help you with this: a bow and a chakram, which works on the principle of a boomerang.

However, each enemy will have to be approached slightly differently. Some of them are small and can be missed, some can fly, some have shields, and I could go on. There are dozens of types of enemies and you definitely don’t have to worry about some variability; the game pleasantly surprised me in this regard. They’re also inventive in terms of design, and I’ll probably never forget the scary monster in the catacombs.

However, the highlight of some areas, of course, are boss battles. Some of them are truly epic and I enjoyed learning their attacks over time so I could effectively dodge them, but I have two things about this. Firstly, the third boss is designed in a completely incomprehensible way, and until now I did not understand how to avoid some of the attacks, I just had to “tank” him.

Technical condition

I consider the second problem to be a rather serious mistake, because it happened to me with one boss that there was no music playing at all, after the first stage the boss completely disappeared and I suddenly found myself in the next room. We had to return to the last checkpoint, but this meant going through the rather difficult platform passage again. Unfortunately, I know I’m not the only one this has happened to, and there are many more serious bugs in the game. It was clearly emphasized to reviewers that they were playing the version with the day one patch, but that’s not at all how I imagine the day one patch. Therefore, I would rather recommend waiting for further fixes.

Finally, I would like to mention the general technical aspect, which is very good, apart from the bugs and glitches. You can run the game without any problems even on old machines. I ended up playing it mostly on PC, where I could afford to drop the resolution from 3240p to 4K at a solid 120fps, but I also spent a few hours on the Steam Deck OLED. In less demanding passages, the game at 720p could hold even 90 frames per second, but during some larger battles or boss battles the frame rate dropped. Despite this, the game can be recommended for Steam Deck and portable devices in general, since it is made for them. Unfortunately, on all platforms you can expect occasional freezing during playthroughs. More noticeable on Steam Deck, but luckily it’s not a big deal on PC.

Metroidvania with everything

Overall, I think Lost Crown did well. This is a somewhat unconventional concept for this series, which on the other hand has never had a completely unified definition. It works very well in conjunction with a metroidvania, and fans of the genre are sure to find something to their liking. Thanks to the accessibility options, the game could theoretically serve as an entry point into a Metroidvania, however you should expect large jumps in difficulty, which itself is set quite high. But if you can forgive some of the shortcomings, you’re sure to have a good time. I would just be wary of buying the game on release day as the game still has some pretty serious bugs.


Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

We like

  • Beautiful visual style
  • Beautiful and very diverse environment
  • Great movement and related mechanics
  • Unconventional but absolutely great soundtrack
  • Surprisingly interesting story
  • Unusual puzzles
  • Complex combat system
  • High enemy variety
  • Accessibility options (not only) for those new to the genre

This worries us

  • Serious bugs and glitches
  • Big jumps in difficulty
  • Controls are sometimes not responsive enough
  • Low level of detail and cut scenes.

Source :Indian TV

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