Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review – Satisfying Metroidvania

It’s a new year, and with it comes some games I have been excited about since their reveal last year. One of these is Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, a remake of my old childhood love. However, this time around, Ubisoft has reimagined the entire line by looking at things in a new light. Fortunately, it has become one of the best Ubisoft launches this fiscal year. Small in budget yet rich all the same, Lost Crown brings many brand new things to the game. Some things are a welcome addition to the Metroidvania genre.

Thanks to an early copy provided by Ubisoft, we’ve been frolicking through the beautiful world of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, and here are my thoughts about the game.

The Immortals Stand Together

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is set in the classic Prince of Persia universe. However, instead of returning to the same age-old characters, the game explores new ones this time around. We play as Sargon, a member of Immortals, who are elite warriors with mystical powers.

One day, when the Prince of the Persian empire, Ghassan, gets kidnapped, it falls on the shoulders of Sargon and the Immortals to rescue him and bring him back home. This takes our protagonist and his fellow members through the mystical Mount Qaf, the home of the time god Simurgh.

And as you would have expected, time doesn’t flow as intended here. It’s a Prince of Persia game, after all. Trapped here while trying to rescue the prince, Sargon is stuck in this entire ordeal and chooses to go on a journey through the mountain while trying to understand what is happening.

The Immortals in Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

Ubisoft has put a lot of thought and effort into the story. It is true that given its Metroidvania nature, it might become an afterthought. However, there are systems in place to ensure you can enjoy the main beats of the game instead of feeling lost.

To supplement the storyline, world-building has been done through lore collectibles. These add to the exploration part. However, there is no forced inclusion. So unless you’re hellbent on knowing the game’s entire backdrop, you don’t really have to find them.

Furthermore, there are side-quests in-game, which help build out the universe considerably. Thus, I’d recommend doing some exploration solely because they add to the gameplay experience. I had a hell of a time with them, and I’m sure you will too.

There have been a series of earnest attempts to create an original storyline. I say that after clocking in roughly 18 hours into the game. And while it doesn’t have the entire energy of the Sands of Time trilogy, it comes very close. Sargon and his band of cohorts are good characters who breathe a decent amount of life into it. The bosses in the Prince of Persia remake are a fun addition, thus, offering challenges while keeping things interesting.

But I do have a problem. Neither Sargon nor the supporting cast of characters have that radiating aura that came from the Sands of Time trilogy. This applies to not only the other characters but also the enemies.

As such, if someone were to ask me to pinpoint a single enemy or character besides Sargon in a few years, I would have a hard time with it. And that is where my only real issue with Lost Crown begins and ends.

Thankfully, Prince of Persia isn’t trying to be that. Its aim and motivations are different, and it pulls off what it wants to be.

Venture The Metroidvania Mount Qaf

One of the first things that caught my attention while playing was the gameplay loop. The game is a Metroidvania and a solid one at that. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown heavily takes inspiration from existing titles like Blasphemous, Hollow Knight, and Castlevania to create its own take on the series. And I’m pleased to say that a fine job has been done here.

For starters, this has to be the most accessible Metroidvania created. Whether you want to play it in an old-school fashion or want a little handholding, Ubisoft has taken care of that too. The game will provide you with an option of guided or an old-school experience.

This option was quite literally a game-changer for me and completely revamped how I enjoy my Metroidvanias on days when I want to take it easy. However, it doesn’t end there.

During your journey, there will be puzzles and points that you gradually get access to. And to help you remember these places, you can use memories. You get limited access to them, and using it creates a screenshot on the map of that particular area. So, later on, you can check your map and consult it. I love the trendsetting here as this system is unheard of in metroidvanias, and other games can benefit from it. I cannot stress how perfect it feels for a game like this.

This same approach to accessibility also translates to difficulty, where complete customization is available. Be it enemy damage or environmental damage, everything is customizable. Of course, you have the usual four difficulty choices but custom difficulty has become a favorite feature of mine. I’ve tweaked my difficulty, where I wanted the enemies to be forgiving while keeping environmental damage intact.

But, outside these two features, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a usual Metroidvania. You get different biomes, and how you explore them is on you. Each level also has various traversal puzzles, and most levels interconnect together to form coherency.

This makes exploration extremely rewarding and fulfilling. My first eight hours in the game went into unraveling the map for future explorations, and the experience was so satisfying.

Later on, you can fast-travel to each biome, making the journey more forgiving while saving time. And progressing the story will give you access to the fun portion of the game.

Bend Time to Your Will

Of course, given this game carries the Prince of Persia title, time plays a role here. To that end, you have Time Powers to thank for that. Unlocked by progressing through the main storyline, these allow altering time and space to your favor. One lets you dash mid-air, while another can help you rewind to your last position.

Each of these time powers helps you progress the story and using them is super fun. To complement the powers properly, the game’s environments have also been made according to them. This makes using the powers all the more satisfying while traversing through the map.

Time powers also allow you to solve environmental puzzles gradually. At points, you’ll find puzzles that you wish you could complete. Unfortunately, they will be far out of your reach. Fortunately, the more of these time powers you unlock, the easier it gets for you to solve the environmental puzzles.

While each Time Powers is fun, air dashing in this game has to be my favorite. The feeling of zooming through platforms and puzzles while air-dashing is something I cannot convey properly in words. You have to be in-game to experience it.

Combat Lets You Lock Horns with the Enemies in Style

Traversal isn’t the only place where you use these time powers. Enemies are all over Mount Qaf. Fortunately, our Sargon is a competent fighter. As we all wished for, our hero arms himself with two Twin-Swords and a bow.

You don’t have a combo meter to worry about in this game but that didn’t stop me from styling on my opponents. You have over sixty different types of enemies to defeat throughout the game. And, at points, you’ll have bosses to conquer. Mix and match your time powers and combat to gain an edge over your opponents.

As someone who loves beat-em-up and fighting games, nothing puts a bigger smile on my face when developers allow you to fight with style. You can perform ground combos, ground-to-air combos, air combos, and so much more. Additionally, you can parry almost every incoming attack. And doing so is preferable, as it fills up your Athra gauge.

Athra energy gets used on Athra surges, which are special attacks. You’ll get numerous of them, and outside of a few, most of them require you to explore. However, the important ones are provided from the main progression and immensely help during combat. You can even use two at a time.

If exploration didn’t cement the value of this game, the combat reaffirms my claims of the Lost Crown being a solid Metroidvania. It again proves my point that Ubisoft wants this game to be an accessible entry for people jumping into the Metroidvania genre for the first time. And for veterans, the essence stays intact through features they can opt out of.

Level up Sargon to Even the Playing Field

Finally, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown brings over a neat leveling system that isn’t overwhelming. At Haven, you’ll find a few people who will help you to even the playing field. You can upgrade your health potion, buy medallions that provide Sargon with passives, and also upgrade your weapons. You can even get hints for the story progression if you are clueless enough.

Time crystals, dropped by enemies, get used for these things. And in a way, this system is optional. You are never forced to return to Haven to upgrade or purchase. I’ve only traveled back here a handful of times. However, it once again ensures that newcomers to the genre aren’t overwhelmed.

You don’t have to worry about leveling up or anything of that sort. If you want to ignore this place, feel free to. However, after a few hours into the game, you’ll feel like having a well-deserved edge over your opponents. And Haven will live up to its name, becoming second nature.

When you condense all of these systems into a single package, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a solid game that barely leaves any complaints. The gameplay is sharp and full of style for you to explore and enjoy.


As Prince of Persia: Lost Crown follows a 2.5D gameplay, naturally, the developers opted for a stylized art style. As such, the gameplay performance on PC is impressive. We tested the game on our review rig using the following components:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5600, running at base clocks
RAM: 16GB DDR4, 3200 Mhz
SSD: 512GB WD SN570
Running at 1080p

The review copy had the 1.0 patch applied. This means our performance and gameplay experience will be similar to the launch experience for everyone else. As for the performance, we went for the highest possible graphics settings available in-game.

For starters, this game doesn’t allow you to set custom graphics settings and none of the upscaling technology. It makes sense since this isn’t a visual masterpiece and the developer team preferred this style.

You do get two anti-aliasing techs – SMAA and FXAA, and depending on which one you pick, the performance metric changes. And so do the jagged edges of the environment and characters.

As for the actual metric, the game runs and performs without any hiccups. We’ve gone as high as 350+ FPS at numerous points in the game, and that has been consistent throughout. You have a frame limiter, but as a whole, the game ran effortlessly in our systems. Even the CPU and GPU utilization stayed below 40% at all times.

Overall, the gameplay is optimized, and you will enjoy it even on a lower-end NVIDIA card or an AMD equivalent without any problems.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown – Worth Buying?

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a solid foray into the Metroidvania genre by Ubisoft. When you play it, you’ll question why the studio never greenlit such titles earlier. After all, the company has a track record of creating solid 2.5D titles such as Child of Light or the Rayman series. Hence, it feels right at home when you consider the existence of this title.

Sure, the usage of Prince of Persia for this game feels a little unnecessary. However, I am sure they did it to justify the time powers. Then again, it is simply my nostalgia complaining about the name because there is barely anything else for me to complain about in this title. Be it the main story or the approachable gameplay, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown left me in awe.

This is hands down one of the best titles produced by the studio in a long time. Sure, the characters might not have the same personality as their predecessors. However, that barely matters when the gameplay is, for a better choice of words, fun.

I cannot recommend this title enough, and I hope this isn’t the only time Ubisoft explores such low-budget but well-made games in different genres.

Pros and Cons
The Pros
Solid addition to the overarching Prince of Persia universe
Accessible Metroidvania, delivers a challenge to veterans and welcomes newcomers
Combo and traversal is smooth and fun
Custom difficulty allows you to tailor experience to your wants
Memories feature is a revolutionary addition needed in future metroidvanias
The Cons
Cast of characters barely carry over the aura and memorability of their predecessors
Final Verdict
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown packs a solid Metroidvania package into a brand-new entry in the long-running beloved series by Ubisoft. While the characters can feel forgettable down the line, the story and gameplay makes up for this only shortcoming, creating possibly one of the best Ubisoft launches in recent memory.
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