If there’s one game I had to pick as the staple of my childhood, it would probably be the Prince of Persia series. Considering I wasn’t the best at gaming during my youth, the title made me feel good about my mistakes with its handy rewind abilities. The storyline and gameplay even captivated my attention to the point where I would play it over and over again.
I stood by each passing title in the trilogy, pleading with others to at least try out the rest of the series. But, unfortunately, the Assassin’s Creed takeover put all that to bed, and I still hold a minor grudge to this day. On the bright side, things shaped up with the remake tease and the brand-new entry, The Lost Crown. And I thought, “Could this be it? Could this be the revival of the Prince of Persia franchise?”
Then, there was the unfortunate pushback of the remake and the decision to turn the series back into a side-scroller. The latter made me somewhat hesitant as someone who didn’t partake in the 80’s original that started it all. You could also throw in my general bias toward more modern gaming and third-person mechanics.
It’s not that I was against The Lost Crown’s take on a side-scroller platform, but it made me a little less inclined to try out the new entry. However, that has since changed now that I’ve fully dived into the game, where I once again found myself getting lost in puzzles galore. Upon my first puzzle, it truly felt like I was a kid again, trying to wrap my brain around a classic Prince of Persia challenge.
You can see that clearly with the water wheel puzzle, which gives us a small taste of what’s to come for the rest of the storyline. After this, it gets gradually more complex, and that’s one of the things I admire about the franchise. It’s never just one puzzle in a singular area; almost every step you take requires some brain power with a plan in navigation.
With that said, you could say the entire playthrough of The Lost Crown is basically a puzzle on its own. The rest of the Prince of Persia series works the same way, and I’m happy to see it continue today. On the other hand, I feel like the newest entry has switched the mechanics up for the better. It’s incredibly fast-paced compared to its predecessors, where you not only have to solve the environmental riddles, but you also have to be quick about it.
The originals relatively included this gameplay style, but I wouldn’t say it was as drastic as The Lost Crown. While the trilogy had a few segments of precise movements, the newest title frequently makes you perform more than five consecutive jumps to add more thrill to the gameplay. The OG at least allowed you to fix your mistake with the Sands of Time, differing from TLC’s start over from your last landing point.
Although I wish the dagger made a comeback, Time Powers and the respawn after a hit produces a similar effect. The new abilities also remind me of the later powers the prince receives in the trilogy. Both titles could’ve stuck with what we know and love, yet Ubisoft always tries to diversify the selection to give us something new to look forward to.
As for the story, I think The Lost Crown has potential as a starting point. Yes, I would’ve liked to see a continuation of the trilogy, but I’ll still take the latest one for what it is. It isn’t quite on par with its predecessor regarding its past memorable characters and immersive tale. Nevertheless, I appreciate how it holds onto the mysterious nature of time and shapes Sargon’s journey.
What I think is missing is the goofy nature of the playable character. One of the first things I loved about the prince was how much he talked to himself throughout the narrative. I can’t tell you how many times he made me laugh with his conversations, and it really helped me see who he is as a character.
I get that The Lost Crown is meant to give off that feeling of isolation like the past entries, yet I would have liked to hear more of Sargon’s thoughts. Or, bring back some of that witty commentary the Two Thrones introduced with the prince’s other self. Darker tones can work from time to time, like the shift from the Warrior Within. However, we had already established the prince’s character at that point, unlike Sargon, who has recently been introduced.
Despite this setback, I remained intrigued throughout The Lost Crown’s storyline, given the character deceptions and hidden secrets of the universe. The artwork is also stunning to look at, especially when the boss fights showcase a comic book-esque pop-up that makes you want to put it into a frame. Plus, it shows a different side as the protector of the prince, rather than being a royal like the previous entries.
All in all, the game is a welcomed surprise that still holds onto the original’s core fundamentals. Though it doesn’t look it, it feels like a Prince of Persia game with all of its challenges and unique powers. I never thought I’d be scratching my head at another PoP puzzle in my adulthood, yet here I am, loving it in The Lost Crown.
The game may not be the continuation of a Prince of Persia title we’ve all been hoping for, but it does carry on its legacy. Whether it be through the consistent game over screens (maybe that’s just me) or maze-like environments, it’s a worthy successor that can cure your PoP withdrawals. And if that doesn’t work, you can always throw on the Warrior Within outfit to give off the illusion of the beloved prince.
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