Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is in some ways a tribute to the original game in the series that debuted way back in 1989, taking the game back to its roots of side-scrolling platform action mixed with sword-fighting combat. But the developers didn’t stop there, they also incorporated gameplay elements from a couple of other ground-breaking games from the 80s, Castlevania and Metroid, to create a Metroidania Prince of Persia game. However, The Lost Crown is not simply a retro-style tribute – a deep combo system, a good variety of platforming and puzzle challenges, and some gameplay innovations make this a thoroughly modern game and a joy to play.
In a first for the Prince of Persia series, you don’t play as the Prince in The Lost Crown. Instead, you are Sargon, the newest member of the Prince of Persia’s elite personal guard, the Immortals. The leader of your order, General Anahita, turns traitor, kidnapping the Prince and taking him to Mount Qaf, home to an ancient cursed fortress where she hopes to use the Prince in a ritual that will make her the new ruler of Persia. You and the rest of the Immortals pursue Anahita to Mount Qaf, but soon find that the laws of time don’t necessarily apply there. Will you be able to overcome the traps and enemies that await in Mount Qaf in time to catch Anahita and rescue the Prince?
As noted earlier, there are two primary aspects to the game – fighting and platforming. Let’s look at the fighting first. The game has a pretty impressive fighting and combo system. The battles are not a simple matter of pounding an attack button or switching between a light and heavy attack. Attacks can be varied by combining them with moves such as slides and jumps, with the combination and timing determining the type of attack that is made. In addition, there are various dodge options, as well as parries, which if well-timed will allow for a powerful riposte. You’ll need to master these moves because different enemies will require different techniques. The game has a large variety of enemies to face, each with their own attack styles, strengths, and weaknesses, and often you’ll have to face these enemies in different combinations. In addition, there are bosses, mini bosses, and even micro bosses to contended with. The battles are challenging, but not unfairly so, and feels varied and exciting. Too often the battles in these types of games eventually become boring and repetitive, but in The Lost Crown I found that I enjoyed the fights throughout the game. And if you find that you prefer exploring to facing enemies in battle, the game has numerous difficulty settings that let you fine-tune the challenge level to your preference.
Platforming and traversal also present a variety of challenges. The basic slides, jumps, wall jumps, and the like are supplemented by additional moves and aided by items that you’ll earn as you progress through the game. Some rooms are filled with traps that can only be avoided by deft maneuvering, others present a challenge to your platforming skills, and there are plenty of secret paths to discover and hidden loot to find. The Lost Crown also plays with the time-shifting dynamics of Mount Qaf in numerous ways. And like games typical for this genre, you’ll encounter paths and areas that are tantalizingly just out of reach, keeping their mysteries locked away until you gain a new ability. Unlike most other games from this genre, The Lost Crown won’t leave all of these secrets to the mercy of your memory. The game lets you tag these locations as you encounter them, marking them on your map for future reference. This is helpful, of course, but the game takes things one step further by allowing you to attach snapshots to the marked locations. You won’t have to try to remember which marker notes the location where you think you can now access a new pathway – you can use the visual to know exactly where you need to go.
Metroidvania games have always been hit or miss for me, too often the combat is simplistic and repetitive, it can be tedious trying to keep track of all of the locations that you need to revisit, and story is often an afterthought. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with The Lost Crown, though. It improves on all of the aspects of Metroidvania games that sometimes irritate me, and wraps it in a compelling story and setting. The game is a standout in the genre, and easy to recommend to anyone who has even a remote interest in Metroidvania games.
Final Rating: 94% - The new king of Metroidvania.
Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher.