Ubisoft had a busy end to the year in terms of releases after a few difficult months. If, in September, we were able to discover Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and just before Christmas, the famous title Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, the beginning of 2024 is not to be outdone. Players will soon be able to get their hands on Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, a game that is coming with great fanfare despite the initial criticism it faced when announced.
The franchise is indeed getting a makeover with a modern hero, cartoonish drawings, and an untold story propelling us to Mount Qaaf. Sargon has a duty to save the Persian prince when he is kidnapped for obscure reasons. During our preview, we were able to discover the introduction of the game, which lasts more or less 3 hours. Is it worth the wait? Find the answer in this first review of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown.
Conditions of the preview:
- Remote on PC
- Xbox Handcuffs
- Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
A true renaissance…
Right off the bat, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown has a few strings to its bow. We have three difficulty levels to choose from, which is quite rare in a metroidvania. This is a feature that is always good for potential players who may feel impressed by a unique and often unattainable difficulty. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is, therefore, logically opening up to a new audience while respecting and honoring its first fan base.
From what we’ve seen, the storylines aren’t very surprising. Still, we find ourselves caught up in the mystery that resides in Mount Qaaf, as well as the intrigue around the sands of time. The Lost Crown takes up the charm of Hades-style storytelling with comic book dialogues that are enjoyable to both the eye and the ear. The game is dubbed in Farsi for even more immersion (we recognize Ubisoft there). However, we regret the visual quality of the more classic cutscenes, especially when it comes to the graphic treatment of the characters.
The cartoon side doesn’t follow in all situations, and we sometimes face a game that seems to come straight out of the 2010s at best. We’re hoping for some work on the textures and contours of the cutscenes by the time of release, or at least a real stance on the artistic direction that tends to get lost.
… that respects traditions
The excellent point is that the game mechanics alone are enough to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown has all the right ingredients, at least for this early game, to appeal to a wide range of players. Like metroidvania, it excels at juggling exploration and action. That’s how only 20 minutes separate us from the first boss, while we are still learning the basics of the title.
Once you’re in the field, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of features that allow you to improve your skills, including amulets and leveling up your weapons. But most of the time, it’s a question of timing that governs the clashes. In this respect, The Lost Crown doesn’t reinvent anything but handles, in its way, the notions of light attacks, special attacks, dodges, and parries. You have to be able to alternate super moves and lucky shots to succeed in defeating your enemies.
In the more exploratory phases, challenges are also present. As in any metroidvania, there are save points scattered around the world. They allow you to regenerate your health, but also to access your skill points and amulet assignments. While it’s not at all surprising to see defeated enemies respawn with each save, it’s much more surprising to see that this action isn’t limited to this mechanic alone.
Even if you don’t go through these points, it’s possible to see some of your light opponents respawn. It’s unclear at this point whether this is a normal or unusual feature within the context of the preview, but it’s certainly not as punishing as it sounds. This makes it possible to challenge even those who have good management of their resources during the longer exploration phases.
A crazy first experience (sometimes literally)
We were pleasantly surprised by the level design, which is well enough built to keep the excitement going throughout the game. Exploration is allowed, even encouraged, and the map is revealed as cryptically as one would have liked. The game even has some clever additions that will help even the most novice find their way around. This is the case with photo tags that allow you to take a pictorial capture of an inaccessible place, locate it on your map, and return to it later when the required skill is in your possession.
It is agreed that some areas seem more empty than useful, but these are not many. The game offers several distinct environments, and the ones we visited are not many. But the game knows how to keep its players on the edge of their seats with several environmental obstacles and puzzles worthy of a few minutes of reflection and several tries for some. The level remains moderate, as does the entire experience of the game, which can be summed up in an agile balance.
According to the latest information received, the adventure lasts between 20 and 25 hours, which is quite reasonable for this type of game. The music is incredibly stimulating during the active phases and pleasant to listen to during the moments of contemplation or listening to the cutscenes. The entire musical environment is a real asset for this revival that is both traditional and modern. It remains to be seen if these first hours full of promise will materialize when the game is released on January 18th.