Ignore downvotes. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a blast | Digital Trends

This year’s Summer Game Fest live stream kicked off with a bang when Ubisoft revealed a surprise to open the show. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown brings the classic series back to its 2D roots in a Metroidvania-style action platformer. I was immediately convinced only by the style, but it seems that not everyone was happy. The trailer was heavily downvoted on YouTube despite that strong showing. The comments on his trailer show a wide range of complaints. Some complain that the series goes 2D rather than delivering a next-generation 3D installment, while other comments complain about the use of rap music in the trailers.

Prince of Persia The Lost Crown – Reveal Gameplay Trailer

Those players can whine all they want, but I pity them after trying the new one prince of Persia title. Based on the strong half hour I played, it’s shaping up to be the first must-play game of 2024. With a fast-paced combat system with a surprising amount of depth for Metroid-style exploration that already felt rewarding at first glance, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crownhe should have no trouble overcoming that wave of reactionary hatred.

Deceptively deep combat

The demo I played was from an early build of the game that blocked some paths and gave me some powers earlier than I normally would. Even with those changes, I was still able to get a feel for exactly how The Lost Crown it works, and that snippet left an incredibly strong first impression.

What immediately catches the eye is its excellent combat system, which goes much deeper than I expected after seeing it for the first time. The main hero, Sargon, can perform some basic sword attacks on one button and shoot arrows on another. It seems simple at first, but these two functions are deceptively complex. If I press the left stick while attacking, Sargon can knock a grounded enemy into the air. From there, I can juggle them by following up with a few arrow shots, or dashing through the air at them and unleash an aerial combo. Once they hit the ground, I can chase after them with a slam attack.

This is just a small taste of what’s possible with some basic attacks, but the system goes even deeper. Hold down the arrow button and Sargon releases a boomerang-like chakram that can strike an enemy again when they return. Sargon can expend energy to perform some special attacks, which seem customizable (I could cast a healing circle by spending two energy bars, for example). There’s a high-impact blocking system on top of all that, allowing Sargon to block most attacks with a pull of the left trigger. All those little systems stack up to create quick and varied battles with plenty of room for creativity.


This all came to the fore beautifully in the demo’s big boss fight, a stunning encounter against a Manticore that is incredibly similar to Metroid terrors Corpius fight. I need to use each of those powers to get through a tough battle, avoiding monsters poison tail and heavy body shocks. At one point, it flashes yellow and charges me. I stand like a matador and strike block at just the right moment to unleash a visually stunning counterattack that just looks great. It’s an excellent first encounter that really shows how satisfying it is to master each system.


Combat is only half of the equation, though. Based on what I’ve seen, The Lost Crownit appears to be a Metroidvania full of secret paths and areas that require a specific power-up to traverse. I found tons of extra nooks and crannies as I fluidly explored its 2D world, nailing that strong sense of reward the genre thrives on.

That exploration is also aided by some strong traversal mechanics, harking back to the origins of the series. Id wall jump between spike traps, dash under deadly traps and swing from bar to bar to reach secret spots. The fundamentals already feel strong here, making Sargon feel like a graceful acrobat who can move with speed and precision. I always felt like I had a perfect sense of control, both in and out of battles.

By the end of the demo, I couldn’t wait to see more. I’m already wondering what skills Sargon will get and I can imagine how they could shake up both sides of the game. For example, I didn’t get to see the character’s time powers in action, but there’s real potential for The Lost Crown use that idea to create unique crossing puzzles. I’m also keen to play more with character customization, as players can equip relics that have a major impact on Sargon’s abilities. At one point, I equipped one that allowed me to fire three arrows simultaneously in a wider spread.

If you have already deleted Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown to watch for yourself, you might want to bite your tongue. Its 2D art style might make it feel like a throwback, but there’s nothing retro about it. This is a very modern action platformer in the same way Metroid terrorwas in 2021, finding a way to add much more complexity and fluidity to its side-scrolling setup. I can’t wait to dive in again, downvotes be damned.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown will launch on January 17, 2024 for PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Amazon Luna.

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