Waiting for the review coming soon to these pages (it has finally arrived, here is the review of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown), the landing of the demo of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown – available from Jan. 11, 2024 on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Series X/S, PlayStation 4 and 5 and on PC – lasting about 30 to 40 minutes in total, gave me a chance to experience the new chapter developed by Ubisoft Montpellier of the historic metroidvania saga born in 1989. Chapter that comes before our eyes in a beautiful as well as exotic 2.5 dimensional version.
In the role of Sargon, the new protagonist of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown and young member of a clan of formidable warriors named “The Immortals“, I started the adventure at an unspecified time in the main campaign, with several upgrades already unlocked, special abilities and various amulets that enable active and passive bonuses in battle, such as the ability to recover a small amount of health with each parry executed with the right timing (speaking of parry, here’s a Guide with tricks and tips for starting Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown). My goal? Rescue the unfortunately kidnapped Prince Ghassan.
The Lost Crown, a substantial demo
Traps to avoid while jumping from one wall to another; bridges to activate that open shortcuts; secret rooms temporarily inaccessible since it is necessary to unlock the right upgrade in order to enter it, and finally, hidden mini bosses in areas seemingly invisible to even the most observant eye, the one that just opened the map to scanning every dark area so as to identify the right direction to follow.
The satisfaction, every time I got through a short platforming session, was quite high as well as it was powerful the nostalgia effect resulting from moving relentlessly through labyrinthine levels, which stimulate the player’s curiosity and within which you will have to pay a lot of attention if you want to avoid, just to give you an idea, several pendulums in succession culminating in a blade ready to slice you in two.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a metroidvania that relies, of course, on horizontal but, more importantly, vertical exploration and that in this demo appears rather classic in structure, roaming ‘mechanics’ and level design (such classicism, however, by no means should be seen in a negative light). However, what I have been able to test is just a taste of the potential of a video game which will undoubtedly still have so many cards to unveil starting with the environmental puzzles – which, at least from what I’ve read around, look to be quite challenging – and the progression of the protagonist.
The sharp blade of the Prince of Persia
In closing the article, some mention of the combat system in Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown. I want to put my hands out right away, the combat system promises to be as engaging as the exploration. Let’s say that between fast and charged attacks, the latter necessary to break the shields of the poor unfortunates who will try to get in our way; bow and arrow whose trajectory must be directed with the analog stick and special strikes, the variety in terms of playfulness and approach to combat is certainly not lacking.
I have tried several times, with success, to Combine dodges, melee and ranged attacks while I was waiting for the right moment to perform parries, which were particularly useful because stun the opponent and in some fights against stronger-than-basic enemies, they activate a cutscene anticipating a spectacular final execution. Yes, there is the perfect parry, and the window to get it right is quite wide, but don’t let those words fool you: rival swords are fast, and it can take time to sense their timing.
In general and to draw conclusions, from this demo of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown we infer a pleasant return to the origins of the series – a strategy that Ubisoft has already attempted with the latest and successful Assassin’s Creed Mirage (here’s our review of Assassin’s Creed Mirage) – which, however, also embraces the modernity typical of more recent and popular metroidvanias such as Hollow Knight and the Ori saga. Expectation is sky-high. Stay tuned to these shores for more in the coming weeks.