Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Hands-on Preview

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to visit Ubisoft Toronto, where I was granted the exciting opportunity to get hands-on with the upcoming "Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown." For fans like me, it's been a staggering 13 years since the last installment in this beloved series, making the anticipation for this new addition all the more palpable.

"The Lost Crown" takes a bold step, shifting from the 3D landscapes of its predecessors to a side-scrolling adventure set in 9th-century Persia. The game's environment is perilous, demanding nimble maneuvering to navigate deadly traps such as spikes and murderous pendulums. The art style is a captivating fusion of realism and cartoon aesthetics, creating a visually stunning world that immerses players in the rich history of Persia.

One of the standout features of the gameplay is its smooth combat mechanics. As I engaged with adversaries, I found myself effortlessly juggling enemies, a feat that left me yearning for a combo counter to measure my prowess. The combat is punishing yet rewarding, with various weapons and skills at the player's disposal.

Ubisoft's decision to transform "Prince of Persia" into a 2D Metroidvania-style game is a masterstroke. The game shares similarities with MercurySteam's "Metroid Dread," offering a sprawling 2D map filled with diverse biomes, secret rooms, puzzles, and formidable enemies. What sets "The Lost Crown" apart is the meticulous attention to detail from Ubisoft Montpellier, a team renowned for shaping the iconic "Rayman" series.

Stepping into the shoes of Sargon, a warrior leading a group known as The Immortals, players embark on a mission to rescue the Prince of Persia. While some fans may initially miss the classic Persian prince, Sargon is a breath of fresh air—a charismatic and acrobatic swordfighter.

The combat dynamics add a layer of strategy, allowing players to switch between dual blades, ranged attacks with arrows, and the versatile chakram. A unique parry system enhances the experience, making every encounter a dance of precision and skill. The combat's ability to counter and unleash special moves adds a satisfying depth.

A nod to the series' iconic time-rewinding mechanic, Sargon possesses the ability to teleport back to a past location. This adds a strategic element to the gameplay, offering opportunities for surprise attacks or recovering from missed jumps.

The game's level design, featuring familiar elements like spike pads, pits, and swinging from poles, evokes a nostalgic sense of the series' roots. A midair dash and wall-hanging abilities contribute to a dynamic and engaging exploration experience.

Surprisingly, the game performs admirably on the Nintendo Switch, a testament to the developers' commitment to optimizing the experience for the platform. The cel-shaded art style showcases the Switch's capabilities, delivering a visually impressive and smooth gaming experience.

As we eagerly await the game's release on January 18, 2024, it's evident that "Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown" is more than just a nostalgic trip down memory lane. With its captivating visuals, challenging gameplay, and a fresh take on the series, it marks a triumphant return for a franchise that has been dearly missed. The promise of a demo on January 11 and a Warrior Within pre-order bonus outfit only adds to the anticipation. After 13 long years, Prince of Persia is back, and the gaming community couldn't be more excited to embark on this new adventure.