Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown – Everything You Need to Know

We recently had about four hours of hands-off time with the upcoming action-adventure title- here's everything that we learned about it.

Posted By | On 14th, Dec. 2023

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown – Everything You Need to Know

Ubisoft’s handling of Prince of Persia has been woeful ever since the Sands of Time trilogy ended, but the long-dormant franchise is finally set to make its comeback soon with the upcoming Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown. Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier – the team behind the Rayman games – the 2D action-platformer is set to launch on January 18 for PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC, and based om everything that we’ve seen of it so far, there’s plenty of reasons for series fans to be excited. We recently had the chance to watch about the first 3-4 hours of the game in action in a hands-off session, and here, we’re going to talk about some key details that we learned about it, as well as some of our impressions of how it seems to be shaping up so far.

STORY DETAILS

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is going to be the first game in the series where you won’t be playing as the titular Prince. Instead, you play as Sargon, a member of the Immortals, a group comprised of seven of Persia’s most elite and skilled warriors. As the game kicks off, Sargon and his fellow Immortals fend off an attack on Persia by the Kushan army, though their celebrations are short-lived, as not long afterward, Prince Ghassan is kidnapped by Anahita, a woman who was thought by everyone to be loyal to the Persian crown, and taken to Mount Qaf. Believing that she intends to use the Prince to sieze power and take control of Persia, Sargon and the Immortals head to the ruined formal citadel on the mountain under orders from the Queen, hoping to find and rescue the Prince.

VISUALS AND CUTSCENES

One of the things that we were instantly impressed by in the hours of footage we saw of The Lost Crown was how impressive it looks from a presentation perspective. Cutscenes range between fully animated cinematics and series of stills, but regardless of what form they take, they boast quite a bit of personality and flair. Graphically, the game is brimming with unique visual flourishes in everything from combat to animations to details in the environments, all of which is coming together in rather impressive fashion. Combined with the art style, which is drawing heavily on Persian mythology, The Lost Crown is certainly looking like a solid visual experience.

METROIDVANIA

prince of persia the lost crown

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is going to be a return to 2D sidescrolling action for the series, but it’s doing so in a way that we haven’t ever seen in the franchise before- with a Metroidvania structure. Mount Qaf is promising to be a large and varied setting, with a complex and interconnected map that’ll throw plenty of obstacles and hurdles your way. Different abilities will allow you to make it to new areas, which, of course, means there will also be plenty of backtracking, as well as plenty of freedom of exploration. And as you do explore, you’ll find plenty of collectibles, upgrades, shortcuts to unlock, side quests to track down, NPCs to meet, and more.

BIOMES

As you’d expect from any Metroidvania worth its salt, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown’s map is also promising some interesting variety in the biomes and environments you’ll explore. In the footage that we saw, Sargon explored abandoned and ruined remains of Mount Qaf’s citadel, its dilapidated and deadly dungeons and depths, and a forest biome close by that was teeming with flora and wild beasts to fight. Each biome sported not only its own unique look, but also different enemies, hazards, platforming challenges, and more.

WAK-WAK TREES

prince of persia the lost crown

As you explore Mount Qaf in Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, you will, of course, need areas of rest and respite. You’ll find those in the form of Wak-Wak trees, which are essentially save points and checkpoints that you’ll return to every time you die. In addition to that, you can also use Wak-Wak trees to tweak other aspects of your experience, such as the Amulets and Athra Surge attacks that you have equipped (more on that in a bit).

MOVEMENT

Movement and traversal have always been fundamental to the Prince of Persia for pretty much as long as it’s been around, and The Lost Crown is very much doubling down on that. In addition to your regular jumps, long jumps, and slides, Sargon can also jump off walls, swing off bars, grab onto and jump off of handholds, and more. With all of that in mind, as you might imagine, platforming is looking like it’s going to be a big focal point in The Lost Crown, appropriately enough for a Prince of Persia game. Speaking of which…

PLATFORMING

prince of persia the lost crown

In all the footage we recently saw of The Lost Crown, it was abundantly clear that platforming is going to be a crucial part of the experience. With its Metroidvania trappings, the abilities Sargon employs, and the kinds of challenges you run into, it certainly looks like the game is taking its fair share of cues from the likes of Hollow Knight and the Ori games, with spikes jutting off of walls, moving spikes contraptions to jump over or slide under, platforms that disappear from under your feet if you stand on them for too long, and more. It’s safe to assume that things will only get more complex and challenging as you play more of the game and, more importantly, as you unlock more abilities.

COMBAT

It’s not just the movement mechanics in Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown that will emphasize agility and speed- combat looks to be cut from the same cloth. Right off the bat, the game’s combat quite a lot going on. In addition to his basic and charged attacks, Sargon can kick enemies into the air, dole out upward and downward slashes, and even use environmental hazards to his advantage, like, say, by kicking an enemy into a wall full of spikes. Meanwhile, he can also block and parry attacks, while certain special attacks can also be parried with a special move called Vengeful Counter, which sees him turn an enemy’s attack on themselves with a flashy and cinematic move.

ATHRA SURGE

prince of persia the lost crown

Another combat ability that Sargon gains access to pretty early on in The Lost Crown is the Athra Surge, using which he can channel the energy inside him to use special, powerful moves. Each attack you gain builds up your Athra meter, while taking damage depletes it. Once your meter is full, you can unleash an Athra Surge, though different Athra Surges – which obviously come with their own unique benefits and attributes – can require different levels of Athra gauge buildup. The first Surge that you unlock only requires the gauge to be filled up to its first level, but more powerful Surges will have higher demands.

ENEMIES AND BOSSES

In the first few hours of gameplay footage that we saw for Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, we also came away impressed with the variety it exhibited in its enemies and bosses. The bosses in particular are seemingly going to be an important part of the experience. In the 3-4 hours of footage that we saw, Sargon took on five different bosses, from a hulking horse-mounted general swiping at him with a massive weapon, to a monstrous beast that was a cross between an elk and a boar, to a giant manticore that capped off the section of the game that we saw. Meanwhile, there was plenty of variation across the pool of regular enemies as well- some came at Sargon with swift movements and dancing spears, others took a slower approach and fended off his attacks with giant shields, others were different manner of creatures with their own unique attributes.

ITEMS

prince of persia the lost crown

Throughout the gameplay footage that we saw, we also saw Sargon gaining access to and utilizing items that players will be using frequently throughout their time with the game. There’s the Eye of the Wanderer, which lets you map out areas as you explore them, and Memory Shards, which allow you to take a snapshot of an area where you spot out-of-reach treasure so you can mark it on your map and return to it later. Towards the end of the section that we saw, Sargon also found a bow that gives him more ranged abilities in addition to his up-close attacks.

PROGRESSION

Amulets – which effectively work like Charms in Hollow Knight or Spirit Shards in Ori and the Will of the Wisps – will also be crucial, with different Amulets affording unique benefits, like having slightly more maximum health. Though you can only have one Amulet equipped at the outset, Sargon can find upgrades that allow him to equip more. Meanwhile, you can also seek out Soma Tree Petals- collect four of these, and each time, you increase your max health. Finally, throughout Mount Qaf, you’ll also find plenty of Time Crystals to collect, which is currency that you can use to purchase maps, forge special upgrades, and more.

TIME SHENANIGANS

prince of persia the lost crown

Unsurprisingly for a Prince of Persia game, there’s plenty of time-based shenanigans to go around in The Lost Crown. As soon as Sargon and his fellow Immortals enter the Mount Qaf citadel, they find that time is behaving strangely, with some areas having localized effects of time having frozen entirely, while certain conversations that Sargon has with NPCs also suggest that though they only arrived in the citadel a day before he did, for them, thirty years have passed. Clearly, finding out what exactly happened in Mount Qaf and how it affected time will be a central part of the game’s story. And yes, as you may have guessed, those time shenanigans will bleed into the gameplay experience as well, from Sargon’s own abilities to environmental manipulation (which we did see a little bit of in our hands-off time with the game).

GAME MODES AND DIFFICULTY LEVELS

An increasing number of recent Ubisoft releases have had options for Exploration and Guided modes, and The Lost Crown is joining that list. Exploration mode will give you minimal map information, while Guided mode will bring map icons to display the location of your next objective, areas that are blocked off, and paths that have opened up for exploration. You’ll have the option to swap between the two freely.

Meanwhile, the game will also come with four difficulty options in Rookie, Warrior (which is the standard difficulty), Hero, and Immortal. Additionally, players will also be able to set their own custom difficulty level, which will let you tweak with a number of settings, including enemy damage, enemy health, environmental damage, parry difficulty, dodge windows, and the rate at which your Athra gauge depletes upon taking damage.

FARSI VO

prince of persia the lost crown

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is looking like it’s going to be heavily steeped in Persian mythology and folklore, and to double down on its setting and premise, Ubisoft is also including Farsi VO. While you can, of course, play the game in English (and a number of other languages), if you’re looking for a more authentic experience where all characters speak in their native tongue, consider opting for the Farsi voiceovers.


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