I had the opportunity to play Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown at a Ubisoft event as part of Summer Game Fest. It’s been over a decade since we last saw an entry in the Prince of Persia franchise, and I am happy to say The Lost Crown makes the wait worth it.
I played as Sargon, one of the immortals blessed with supernatural abilities. Early on, Prince Ghassan is kidnapped and the immortals, including Sargon, are sent to rescue him. Dispatched to the cursed city of Mount Qaf, I had to cut my way through enemies in my search for the prince.
From the movement to swinging my blades, everything in The Lost Crown just felt crisp. It is obvious a lot of time and care has been put into honing the animations and responsive combat. From knocking enemies into the air, to slamming them in the ground, I can see the potential for some pretty serious combos.
Sargon’s arsenal includes his two swords, a bow, a chakra that bounces around the battlefield, and some special abilities I’m sure will expand as the game progresses. One of those special abilities was a huge wave of damage that had decent range, while the other allowed me to put down a circle of light that healed me when I stood in it.
Using those abilities required me to build up some meter, which built up every time I attacked something, but the quickest way was to parry enemy attacks.
While I could get by without parrying in some of the demo I played, it is pretty clear that precisely timed parries will be the key to success in The Lost Crown. Not only does it build up your meter for special abilities, it often opens enemies up for an immediate counterattack.
I’m sure a lot of us were happy to hear the ability to manipulate time has returned. I wish I had messed with it more in the demo, as my time was short, but this has the most potential to make The Lost Crown’s combat reach crazy heights.
My only time-related ability in the demo allowed me to create a clone of Sargon on the screen that I could then return to at any time with a press of a button. When returning to that clone, whatever attack or movement you were in the middle of while making the clone will be stored and then released upon your return as well.
For example, you can hold down the attack button to charge up an attack, create a clone, then time that for the start of a devastating combo. It’s also really useful to quickly teleport to a clone to avoid taking damage with just a quick button press – assuming you have one set up.
All of that is a pretty simple toolkit, including a dash to dodge out of the way of enemies, but each mechanic has a high level of craft behind it, meaning there is a depth of mastery the easy to use controls will reward to those that want to do some crazy stuff.
The demo culminated in a boss fight against a chimera-like creature with the face of a lion and tail of a scorpion. It was a great fight to showcase the importance of parrying and really tested my ability to get everything out of Sargon’s movement abilities as possible.
The combat is frantic fun that rewards quick reflexes and making decisions on the fly. It’s incredibly rewarding and something that I can’t wait to see more of soon. Hollow Knight fans waiting for Silksong, which is supposedly coming out this year, will definitely have this to tide them over in the meantime in case we don’t see it until 2024.
I didn’t get much of an opportunity to engage with much of the more classic metroidvania elements in the game, but it is pretty obvious there will be a lot to explore in The Lost Crown. To streamline the demo, those tantalizing offshoots we all love to get lost in exploring were blocked off so I could make the most of my time with the game.
Running around a level was satisfying, with the crisp controls in combat translating perfectly to platforming. You can jump, dash in mid air to get a little further, and wall jump to get up even higher. While there was no double jump in the demo I played, I think it’s a safe bet to see it in the future.
With the amount of content to engage with already when running around the level, from spikes to avoid to sneakily hidden areas accessible by wall jumping,, we should all be in for a great time on both sides of the gameplay. Even if they’re only half as creative on the platforming side of things compared to combat.
All of this is the foundation for a fantastic action platformer with Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown. Everything looked awesome on screen and it made you feel cool doing it. Honestly, I don’t know what more I could want from something like this.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown was previewed on a PC at a Ubisoft event. All screenshots were from a capture of my gameplay at the event.