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Prince of Persia The Lost Crown Review: A Bold New Metroidvania

Prince of Persia The Lost Crown Review: A Bold New Metroidvania

After a lengthy hiatus, the Prince of Persia series is back with its latest installment, "Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown," set to release on January 18, 2024. This new chapter marks a significant shift in the series, returning to its 2D roots while embracing the modern Metroidvania style.

Development Journey

The development of "The Lost Crown" represents a deliberate choice by Ubisoft Montpellier, under the guidance of game director Mounir Radi. The team, including senior producer Abdelhak Elguess, was keen to create a game that would be a proud addition to the franchise. The development, which began in 2019, was not dictated by Ubisoft's higher management but was a passion project for Radi and his team. This approach allowed the team to channel their expertise in platforming and world-building, exploring what fans loved about the franchise and bringing a modern twist to it​​.

Gameplay Mechanics

"The Lost Crown" features Sargon, not a prince but a warrior of great prowess. The game imbues its combat with influences from fighting games, as Radi is a self-proclaimed fan of the genre. This influence is evident in the combat mechanics, where Sargon performs attacks reminiscent of fighting game characters, using straightforward, thoughtful movements and counters. This design philosophy makes every encounter feel seamless and engaging​​.

Moreover, the game benefits from the team's experience in developing titles like Rayman Origins and Legends. This expertise translates into a rhythm and fluidity in the platforming aspects, ensuring that the action feels like music and is both dynamic and engaging​​.

Narrative and Setting

The game starts with a dramatic scene where Persia is defending itself against the Kushans. The player controls Sargon, the youngest of The Immortals, a group of warriors with magical abilities. The narrative quickly unfolds, leading Sargon on a quest to rescue Prince Ghassan, the titular Prince of Persia, and uncover the mysteries of Mount Qaf, a magical and perilous location where time behaves unpredictably​​.

Innovative Features

A unique feature in "The Lost Crown" is the Memory Shards mechanic. This allows players to take pictures of their surroundings, effectively making notes on their map, which aids in navigation and puzzle-solving. This feature adds a strategic layer to the exploration, encouraging players to engage more deeply with the game world​​.

The game's narrative is filled with intriguing twists and surprises, as seen in the first three hours of gameplay. It promises a rich story filled with discovery, taking players through diverse environments like a library of alchemists, mushroom-filled forests, and even a sewage-soaked underworld​​.

Critical Reception

While some have criticized "The Lost Crown" for lacking the excitement of the Sands of Time trilogy, others have praised its solid and challenging combat and platforming foundations. The game has generated mixed reviews, indicating a divergence in player expectations and experiences​​.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

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Final Thoughts

"Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown" is not just a return to the series' 2D roots but a bold step forward, integrating modern gameplay mechanics with a rich narrative. The game's development journey, under the vision of Mounir Radi, has been a labor of love, aiming to deliver a title that honors the legacy of the series while charting its own unique course. With its engaging combat, intriguing narrative, and innovative features, "The Lost Crown" is set to offer a fresh and exciting experience for both long-time fans and newcomers to the Prince of Persia saga.