Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review

A brilliant comeback and a bright future

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review
Source: Press Kit.
“Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you’ll never get to see.”

I think about this quote from the musical Hamilton a lot. Many people want to make a difference, leave something behind so that the world would remember them in a flattering way, even if they won’t live to see it. One day you’re on top of the world and the next? You’re replaced by those you inspired. No franchise demonstrates this as much as Prince of Persia.

To remove any doubt: the gaming world wouldn’t be where it is today without Jordan Mechner’s revolutionary masterpiece. Without it we wouldn’t have Another World, Tomb Raider, and we surely wouldn’t have had Assassin’s Creed. Prince of Persia was one of the first cinematic platformers, and we owe the above franchises and many more to its existence. As such, it was always a shame that it just vanished one day. Mechner got to see his seeds make a garden he was no longer relevant in…until now.

Following numerous rumors and false hopes, including an alleged remake, the Prince of Persia is finally back! Yes, it may be another reboot in a franchise that has plenty of those; and yes, it may be using Metroid as a basis for its gameplay and not reinventing the wheel like previous incarnations of the prince, but you know what? It doesn’t change the fact that after 14 years of hibernation, this great franchise is not only back – but already a front contender for one of the best games of 2024.

Yes, I just said that!

Source: Press Kit.

It doesn’t change the fact that after 14 years of hibernation, this great franchise is not only back – but already a front contender for one of the best games of 2024.

Story and presentation

In a first for the franchise, players actually don’t take control over the Prince, but instead one of his bodyguards. Sargon of The Immortals is our playable protagonist and he’s on a journey with the rest of the crew to Mount Quf, with a mission to rescue Prince Ghassan (marking the first time the Prince has a name outside of the movie). While the story at its core isn’t anything special, it does develop in a way that makes the experience engaging, leaving you eager to see what happens next.

Sargon may not be the titular prince, but I found him to be a good protagonist. He’s very skilled and efficient but not on the same level as his comrades, which makes his growth in mastering the challenges of Mount Quf similar to us, the players, getting better at the game. Despite his age and lack of experience, his comrades seem to respect him a great deal and he’s never looked upon as the underdog. Despite being skilled and headstrong, Sargon is very clearly a good guy who’s very in touch with his emotions and would follow his own path even if it meant going against orders. Is it different from other gaming protagonists we’ve seen in the past? Not at all. But Sargon is well-written and well-acted, which helped bring his character to life. 

Another thing that helps the story stand out despite its simplicity is the visual style of The Lost Crown, which looks incredible in action. Character designs are realistic in terms of their proportions and outfits, but they’re colored and shaded as if from a beautiful storybook come to life. You may think the middle ground between real and fantastic is hard to reach, but it’s an amazing blend that gives the game a unique look. Top it off with colorful finishing moves and fantastic fight choreography and you've got a seriously gorgeous game!

Sadly, I have to point out that a lot of the cutscenes are simple, with characters standing around and talking with static portraits. While the drawings are well done and the voice acting does its part, this approach feels lackluster when compared to the wonderfully animated cutscenes that are also in the game. The "portrait" talks don’t take away from the game in any way, but they make the experience feel uneven, and it’s during these where the simplicity of the story really shows, despite how enjoyable it is overall.


As mentioned earlier; the game is essentially a Metroidvania or “Search-Action", as it's been called. Sargon has to maneuver up Mount Quf and its many paths by using his acrobatics and earned abilities. While movement is restricted to a 2D plain, this is no linear affair, and the bodyguard will have to climb up, head down, and diverge from his path in order to progress the world. You have a destination, but how and when you get to that destination is up to you. It’s interesting to note that the game allows you to choose if you’d prefer to see your destination and other markers on the map, or if you’d prefer to explore without any guidelines, helping the game fit each player’s preferred experience.

If you’ve played a game in this style before then you’re aware of how this structure works, and The Lost Crown doesn’t do much in order to change what’s not broken. You have a destination, you have a map that helps you keep track of where you’ve been, and you have a bunch of side stuff to collect and do, which rewards you with new abilities and collectibles. While Sargon is more than up for the challenges ahead of him, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for secrets which will undoubtedly help in facing the later challenges of Mount Quf.

Sargon may be a capable fighter and his platforming abilities are very admirable but make no mistake; Mount Quf will test you and it’s not holding back. The enemies you face can be tricky and require your full attention. Boss encounters are aware of your strength, and they will make sure you answer to them instead of the other way around. Even some of the platforming and puzzles will make you stop and wonder who built this place and why they hate you so much. The Lost Crown isn’t an easy game and it’s going to test you…but it’s definitely possible game to beat it with enough patience.

For my playthrough, I went with the normal difficulty, without any alterations, and while the game did give me a run for my money on multiple occasions, there wasn’t a challenge I wasn’t able to conquer with some practice and stubbornness (and maybe some luck). Speaking of the alterations, in addition to just letting you choose a difficulty setting, the game allows you to determine which other aspects of the game fit your play preference. You can decide to make the enemies the weakest they can be while giving your attack an extra boost, or do the inverse if you’re feeling brave. You can also change the timing for parrying attacks and decide if objectives show up on your map or not; the game really can be as simple or as hard as you want it to be.

With that being said, my experiences on the normal difficulty can be described as challenging. Enemies may go down with a few sword swings, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for their attacks, as it’s possible to parry them and finish them off with a flashier finisher. Not only does parrying help beat their health down faster, but it can also drop health pickups and charge up Sargon’s Athra gauge. Be warned though, that some attacks can’t be parried and are very dangerous. 

Boss fights are the bigger challenges in the game, as expected of the grand enemies they’re supposed to be. Dodging and parrying will be the key to beating these guys, as well as a lot of practice and observations on their moveset. These fights are quick, and almost incomprehensible sometimes because there’s so much happening on the screen. An attack you’re not ready for can come out of nowhere, causing you to swear and try to think of how you’re supposed to avoid it. I honestly still don’t know how I got hit sometimes. But with each death and every trial, I began to understand the fights more acutely, and so they became possible to conquer.

Source: Press Kit.

You have a destination, but how and when you get to that destination is up to you.

That’s not to say the challenge vanishes with more trials, as I swear these guys are unto you just as much as you’re unto them, but the satisfaction of beating them as well as seeing Sargon delivering the final blow is amazing. These fights were the definition of a fair but challenging difficulty, and even though my butt got kicked by them many times, landing the finishing blow never failed to be satisfying and rewarding. If anything, the bosses giving me their best was an incentive for me to try my best, allowing me to experiment with the abilities I acquired throughout the journey.

Speaking of which – Sargon has plenty of upgrades and abilities he can equip that have several benefits. These can range from buffs to his physical attacks, more health bars, defenses against certain types of attacks, and many more. These can be changed at Wal-Wak trees, which also serve as save points, and mixing and matching them is key to winning fights more efficiently. Wak-Wak trees also allow Sargon to choose between his Athra abilities. As you slash and parry the enemies throughout your journey, the Athra meter will fill up and allow for the usage of devastating attacks. Some can be received from bosses while some can be found in secret areas. Knowing which attack to use and what buffs to equip is part of the fun.

Don’t let this talk about combat fool you into thinking that the traditional Prince of Persia platforming isn’t in The Lost Crown, as it’s better than ever here. As a big platformer guy and a big Prince of Persia fan, I can safely say that this is some of the best platforming in the series. The game made Sargon capable, it’ll make him even more capable, and it’ll test those capabilities in intense and fast-paced sections that are challenging and tricky at just the right level. That also includes some good old puzzles that would put all of your skills to the test, challenging not only your mind but your speed and reflexes. 

Final thoughts

Saying that I loved my time with Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown would be an understatement. Everything I just talked about in this review should be enough of an indicator as to why I love the game so much. It satisfied me as a Prince of Persia fan who longed for the franchise to return, and it just satisfied me as a great game to play. It may not be as revolutionary as the original classic, or as influential as The Sands of Time was, but I couldn’t care less when we have a tight, challenging, satisfying, beautiful game that already ranks among the series’ best.

After 14 years of absence; I can’t properly explain how happy I am to say that the new Prince of Persia game is an excellent time. It’s been so long, but the franchise didn’t skip a beat! My only fear is what’s next. The promised Sands of Time remake is still in limbo, despite reports that it’s progressing well, and there’s no promise that The Lost Crown will convince Ubisoft that Prince of Persia is a franchise worth continuing beyond that remake. Time only knows I guess…

There was a lot of love and effort put into The Lost Crown, and it paid off tremendously in the final product. Now all that’s left to do is hope that the sales numbers are there so that we can hopefully see the prince again. So, my advice is to go and buy Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown and enjoy some of the best platforming from the storied franchise.


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