May 27, 2024
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

Since the release of Jordan Mechner’s seminal game in 1989, the Prince of Persia franchise has seen its fair share of highs and lows. After Sands of Time (2003), the franchise achieved its zenith and has since made more mistakes than correctives. Despite the unfortunate conclusion of the game, I adored the 2008 remake. But today, we’re talking about a 2.5D Metroidvania called Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown. To cut to the chase, Price of Persia: The Lost Crown is a must-play game if you enjoy titles like Metroid Dread, Ori and the Blind Forest, Guacamelee!, and more! It features amazing navigation, amazing combat, and a plot that may not get off to the best start but has a satisfying ending!

Rating: 9 / 10

Story: A reimagined Eastern folktale

Take on the role of Sargon, one of the Immortals sent on a quest to free the abducted Prince of Persia. The fact that you don’t play as the Prince of Persia himself has drawn some hate mail online, but believe me when I say that the tale IS about the Prince of Persia, and I’ll stop there to avoid giving anything away. Just so you know, the hero in Mechner’s original game wasn’t exactly a prince.

On your quest to save the prince, you come to Mount Qaf, where time is more like an ocean during a storm than a river that flows “swift and sure in one direction.” Yes, there are activities at Mount Qaf that are impacted by the nonlinear passage of time; the specifics become clearer as the narrative develops. I thought that was a nice modern interpretation of the butterfly effect, albeit a little broader.

You also have some side missions to complete, as in most current games, and some of them are really intriguing, particularly the one that asks you to uncover all of the game’s secrets or the one where you have to exact revenge on a mother who is grieving. There’s another that makes you look for the moon. Although it may sound strange, they make some sense given the game’s setting.

I liked the narrative overall, especially the parts about the little child you meet and some of the plot’s twists. The plot gets a little predictable after a few discoveries, but it’s still entertaining.

Gameplay: The Real Warrior Within

It had been a long since I was on the edge of my seat, trying to use a variety of abilities to achieve the ideal jump across a set of traps, but I really enjoyed it. My all-time favorite Metroidvanias for navigating challenging environments are Ori and the Blind Forest and Guacamelee!, and I’m pleased to add Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown to that list as well. While there are some platforms for you to jump on and obstacles to avoid in the beginning of the game, parkour becomes more difficult as you advance and acquire new abilities. The skills include some common ones, which I won’t reveal here, including the capacity to run, double leap, pull oneself up to specific objects in the surroundings, and more.

It had been a while since I was tensely attempting to employ a range of skills to make the perfect leap over a series of traps, but I thoroughly liked it. Ori and the Blind Forest and Guacamelee! are my all-time favorite Metroidvanias for negotiating difficult environments, and I’m happy to add Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown to that list as well. In the game’s beginning, there are simple platforms to jump on and obstacles to dodge, but as you progress and unlock more skills, parkour gets harder. The abilities include several basic ones that I won’t discuss here, including the ability to run, double jump, and raise oneself to particular objects in the surroundings, and more.

Aside from the conventional four difficulty settings (Rookie, Warrior, Hero, and Immortal), every aspect of the game can be customized to create a unique gaming experience. For instance, if that’s how you choose to play, you can fully disable environmental damage while maintaining a high level of adversary difficulty. The best accessibility feature, in my opinion, is custom difficulty, especially for older players like me who find easy mode a bit too simple and normal a bit too demanding due to aging reflexes.

Additional accessibility options include remapable controls, text, and audio, as well as the ability to customize the visuals (high contrast mode, etc.).

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown has excellent playability overall. While the combat is simple to pick up, mastering some of the trickier combos may take some time. Because of the various terrain, the level design is a parkour treat and the general structure is enjoyable to explore.

Graphics and Sound

On my PS5, I played the game for review, and it runs at a silky smooth 4K 120FPS. It’s not that demanding, given that the game plays at 1080p 60FPS in docked mode on the Nintendo Switch, but I’ll leave the visual analysis and console comparison to the professionals at Digital Foundry.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a worthy companion game to Ori and the Will of the Wisps, which is still a fantastic game in my opinion. The artwork of the game is distinctly anime, especially when using some of the unique fighting skills. The background appears to be a vibrant watercolor painting come to life. Every environment has its own unique aesthetic, such as the Crossroads of Time, which resembles something out of a fantasy book with broken environmental elements depicting frozen time, the Sacred Archives, which resembles an Egyptian hall of learning, and the Raging Sea, which is a stormy, picturesque ocean straight out of Moby Dick. Every time you explore a new environment, it feels exciting and novel because of its own style.

Regarding the audio, I believed that the voice acting in the game was too Western, especially when compared to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. I wasn’t unhappy with the voice acting, though, because I got used to it as the game went on. If you want a more genuine Persian experience, Farsi is another language option available, but I stayed with English. This is just me being picky, but I wish the voice acting accent sounded more like it does in Ghost of Tsushima. There are five voice acting languages available for the game: English, French, Spanish, German, and Farsi.

The sounds of the battles, the swish and thud, and the ambient traps are precisely what you would anticipate from the game. The protagonist or boss will yell when you use a special attack; this is reminiscent of Tekken or Dragon Ball Z, and I find it appealing. The majority of the time, the noises of the environment overwhelm you as you move through the game, though there is a background soundtrack when you enter a cutscene or at important places.

Verdict

As I mentioned before, Price of Persia: The Lost Crown is unquestionably for you if you enjoy Metroidvania titles like Metroid Dread, Ori and the Blind Forest, Guacamelee!, and more! After a slow beginning, the plot quickens, and you’ll need to perform a few side missions to solve the whole mystery of Mount Qaf. In relation to that, Mount Qaf is a great place to explore. The majority of the action will have you on the edge of your seat thanks to the game’s rapid combat and smooth traversal! I completed the game in 22 hours, but there are still a few side missions and some secret locations I need to find. A Metroidvania fan’s must-play!

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