Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review

Before The Sands of Time, the Prince of Persia games were primarily known for being cinematic platformers, and puzzle-focused adventures with weighty and fluid animation. Each death-defying leap demanded commitment. These were tense and punishing games, and around the mid-90s you would see them become rare.

Modern gamers seem to prefer fast action and immediate responsiveness, leading to the decline of this genre. When Ubisoft finally revived The Prince as a 2D game, they threw out Jordan Mechner’s vision in favor of copying what made Metroid Dread so popular.

Perhaps a step-based cinematic platformer was too risky in today’s market, but Ubisoft saw an opportunity to leverage the seemingly endless metroidvania craze. Can Ubisoft Montpellier capture the magic of Metroid Dread with The Lost Crown? Read on to find out in our review!

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Developer: Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montpellier
Publisher: Ubisoft

Platforms:  Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (reviewed)
Release Date: January 18, 2024
Price: $49.99 USD

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown establishes itself as a reboot by diminishing the role of the Prince, who is now known as Ghassan and relegated to the role of victim. Instead, players step into the sandals of Sargon (no, not the Akkadian ruler or the political commentator), a somewhat generic warrior among the Prince’s elite protectors, who becomes the unlikely hero of this tale.

The Prince’s elite guards, known as “The Immortals”, were feared warriors, deadly in a scrap. However, their moniker held a grim truth: their immortality was not literal, but rather symbolic. When one fell, another would readily take their place, ensuring the Prince’s protection remained unbroken.

Sargon, raised by these stoic protectors, absorbed their unwavering loyalty and deadly skills. Now, he had sworn an oath to protect the Prince of Persia. The story begins when one of the Immortals goes rogue, shattering the illusion of their unending service.

The turncoat Immortal kidnaps Prince Ghassan, transporting him to the mystical Mount Qaf. Teeming with intrigue, this was a veritable lost civilization gone rogue, a place that exists between the tears of time and defies the laws of physics. It does not take long before Sargon is framed and he not only has to prove his innocence but also do battle with his former allies.

If this wasn’t a Prince of Persia game, this would have been an interesting scenario. Ironic how this is the first game in the series that names the Prince, yet he has no discernable character at all. It does not help that The Lost Crown overly explains the story with surprisingly lengthy visual novel-style dialogue scenes. For all its effort to give Sargon lots of speaking lines, he comes off as uninteresting.

Sargon is just a brutal meathead who has some shades of Kratos in him. The more he talks, the less interesting he becomes. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is unusually wordy for a metroidvania and the game would have been better off with a ‘less is more’ approach to its story. There are already a lot of lore-items to collect and they’re sufficient at giving details to the setting that players can opt-in.

Where The Lost Crown stumbles worst, is in its writing and authenticity to ancient Persian culture. The characters are written to be very dumb when the story requires it, otherwise the plot wouldn’t work. The main villain is very obviously attempting some shady activity and most of the Immortals go along with what he says without question.

The cast is also uncharacteristically diverse for the setting and era that inspired this fantasy. The male-to-female ratio is about 50/50, which is a haram for the Zoroastrian faith. This would have been a culture that barely saw any female warriors and this story over-represents them.

These distractions in Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown signifies ‘modern sensibilities’ getting in the way of the writers creating something that would have been more true to ancient Persian lore. It is as played out as Sargon’s anachronistic dreadlock fade hairstyle.

Getting past the dull characters and story reveals that The Lost Crown is an exceptional ‘metroidvania’ that rivals Metroid Dread. This game has it all and manages to surprise with some unexpected depth in the combat system which boasts an impressive skill-ceiling like a 2D Devil May Cry.

Sargon is very flexible in battle and is capable of using his unlockable time powers mid-combo. Combining upward slashes, leg-sweeps, launches, and aerial downward spikes with dashing and archery are only the basics. With a bit of practice, players can devilishly juggle foes and diabolically parry or dodge incoming attacks with grace.

Gamers will need to learn how to master the technicalities of Sargon’s abilities because as deadly as he is at bending time and slicing, his enemies are more deadly. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a challenging game that isn’t afraid of punishing sloppy play. Button mashing is a sure-fire ticket to the grave, and expect to pay close attention to enemy tells and animation.

The level design is epic in scale, with many hidden areas, Dark Soulsian shortcuts, and elevator rides. Sargon may not be a Prince of anything, but he does have the mobility of a Prince of Persia. His prowess at wall-jumping and vaulting gives the platforming a rhythmic sense of momentum as he can combine air dashes with slides while avoiding deadly traps and cruel gimmicks.

The Lost Crown cleverly incorporates puzzles into the environment, making exploration engaging and rewarding. The ability to drop pinned photos on the huge map is another smart feature, letting you revisit areas with new powers. This smartly designed and forward-thinking epic metroidvania boasts exceptionally fluid and impactful combat that demands mastery.

If you thought Metroid Dread was too short, then don’t worry because Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown has your back. Clocking in at a substantial 20+ hours, it’s a generous offering for fans of the genre. Gamers are guaranteed to get their money’s worth in one of the better metroidvanias ever released.

The Lost Crown was designed to spec for Nintendo Switch to run at 60 frames per second, but that also means it has a ton of headroom on PlayStation 5 where it can run at 120 fps. The visuals resemble something out of Overwatch but with a bit of Iranian fantasy flair. This is a stylish and painterly-looking game that achieves a certain look that will keep it timeless in the future.

Ubisoft has finally shed its reputation for releasing buggy games. The days of Assassin’s Creed Unity character faces glitching are long behind us now because Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a magnificently polished and slick action game that spellbinds with its lush visuals.

Apart from the skin-crawling modern sensibilities affecting the narrative and an unmemorable soundtrack, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown swings for the fences and hits an impressive balance of action, exploration, and puzzle-solving. This is a hearty and beefy epic that will satisfy veterans of the genre and push them to their limits.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown was reviewed on PlayStation 5 using a code provided by Ubisoft. Additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy can be found herePrince of Persia: The Lost Crown is now available for Windows PC (via Epic Games Store and Ubisoft), Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.

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The Verdict: 8

The Good

  • Stylish and timeless art direction
  • Tight and polished gameplay
  • Deep combat system that fosters high skill play
  • Impressive and massive varied interconnected metroidavania map full of secrets and fiendish puzzles
  • Lengthy and epic quest with cheeky puzzles that make use of the hero's powers

The Bad

  • Boring and generic protagonist
  • Inauthentic trite story and sloppy writing
  • Forgettable music


A youth destined for damnation.

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