Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown review

Ubisoft’s modern tribute to the 1989 all-time classic is as enjoyable and stylish as anyone could reasonably ask for

The protagonist of the new Prince of Persia is certainly no prince to begin with, but he is an interesting enough character who players will come to like by the end of this adventure. (Image: Ubisoft)

Oh, the irony. After spending literally decades trying to “reimagine” the 90s classic Prince of Persia series in 3D, modernizing its graphics, sound and presentation while expanding its gameplay mechanics in different ways – with varying degrees of critical and commercial success – Ubisoft now does the most obvious thing… and it just works. The company essentially brings the original, 1989 title – which many consider to be the grandfather of the Metroidvania genre as a whole – to modern platforms as a quality production that’s stylized, enriched but unmistakably true to its heritage. A Prince of Persia title that more than 600 million gaming systems – across PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Switch and the majority of today’s gaming PCs – can play at 60 frames per second with perfect controls. There! Was it that hard, Ubisoft?

So, yes. It is ironic… but also fitting in 2024 terms, if only because of the timing involved. After a year full of large-scale AAA productions, this is exactly the kind of title the gaming industry needs right now: a smaller but focused, deep but accessible, highly polished entertainment experience, a labor of love that pays attention to detail without ever breaking its flow. A reminder of simpler times, when the success of failure of each new release depended on gameplay, not on scale, visuals or marketing budgets. This is what Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, out today, strived to be from the very beginning – and this is how it actually pulls it off.

So-so narrative, enjoyable exploration, great upgrades and controls

In this stand-alone adventure players will not be controlling the titular Persian prince, but rather trying to save him: the protagonist, named Sargon, is part of an elite team called the Immortals who are tasked with protecting the prince and the Persian kingdom. Sargon’s mentor Anahita kidnaps the prince for some reason and moves him to Mount Qaf, where Sargon and his comrades follow… but it quickly becomes apparent that there’s something seriously wrong with that place, so it’s up to Sargon to figure out what’s really going on.

It’s true that The Lost Crown‘s narrative can get somewhat convoluted and even incomprehensible at times, as a fair amount of what’s happening and some characters’ motives are often not fully explained (certain tablets or books that can be read throughout the story do not help all that much). It serves as an adequate background for the action, which is all that’s really needed for a title like this, but it would have been nice to be able to follow a coherent story all the way through – especially during the first half of the adventure where things are picking up steam in a rather slow pace.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown offers the kind of combat that is accessible to beginners while offering veterans enough depth to reward experimentation and flair – especially during the last few hours of the game. (Image: Ubisoft)

Any Prince of Persia fan – or every Metroidvania fan, for that matter – more or less knows what to expect from The Lost Crown in terms of gameplay: a lot of exploration, quite a bit of puzzle solving and non-stop combat enriched by certain set pieces and boss encounters. Paying homage to the original 1989 title, The Lost Crown focuses on platforming more than such titles usually do, taking advantage of a number of environmental and architectural elements in order to add movement variety to the mix, ranging from wall jumping or wall running to sliding, grappling, double jumping, acrobatics and everything in between. It’s all done really smoothly, which is definitely a good thing as players will often have to execute many of those moves in quick, precise succession if they mean to reach the final level of this game.

Ubisoft Montpellier has built a huge map of more than a dozen different locations for The Lost Crown, all interconnected and laid out in a manner that makes sense within the context of its narrative. As is usually the case with such titles, not every spot in every location is accessible at first: players will have to earn certain skills and/or equipment in order to explore every nook and cranny in each level, while some puzzles are unsolvable and certain paths remain closed on purpose until they do so. As one can easily imagine, there’s a lot of backtracking involved but – thankfully – developers have implemented one of the smartest features yours truly has come across in any title of this type. It’s called Memory Shards: these are “markers” one can pin on the map of The Lost Crown, complete with a screenshot attached, so players can remember exactly what puzzle they could not previously solve or what they are supposed to come back for. Backtracking, yes, aimless wandering around, no: this is how it should have been all along!

Time Powers are excellent tools that come in handy in both exploration and combat in the new Prince of Persia. Players will have to use at least a few of those in order to overcome certain obstacles and bosses. (Image: Ubisoft)

Talking about skills, there are more than 30 different ones to acquire during this adventure’s playthrough, addressing different aspects of Sargon’s abilities. There are only so many available slots for those, so gamers will have to choose the ones that suit their particular playstyle best and combine them as effectively as possible. There are also options for upgrading Sargon’s weapons and equipping him with health potions, both of which become absolutely necessary later on in the game.

The most important special skills available to players are none other than the various Time Powers, though, which come in handy in both exploration and combat in different forms. Players will pretty much have to use those in combination with regular moves in order to get through the trickiest parts of the game – let alone solve some of the most difficult puzzles offered by a Metroidvania title to date.

Challenging combat, stylish graphics, stellar performance

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a somewhat uneven title, in the sense that it’s rather easy to get into but very difficult (even extremely difficult near the end) to complete if players do not adjust the game accordingly. Navigating the environment is tough at times – especially during sequences where a single mistake can’t be corrected on the spot, leading back to the most recent checkpoint – but ultimately doable. Puzzles, most of them anyway, are demanding but fair. It’s the combat that gets abruptly harder in certain parts of the story, either when facing multiple coordinating enemies (even normal ones can deliver a lot of damage quickly), or when facing boss characters of vastly different styles, requiring totally different strategies every time.

Boss characters come in all shapes and sizes in Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown. Some are more dangerous than others, some are more well-designed than others but they all make for exciting encounters. (Image: Ubisoft)

It’s also during these challenging encounters, though, that The Lost Crown shines the brightest, proving to be an immensely enjoyable, meticulously calibrated game. Despite the fact that many boss characters require an almost Souls-like approach in order to be overcome, despite the fact that a lot of acrobatics and traversal sequences require exquisite timing and almost unreasonable precision to pull off, players will never feel that they’ve been unjustly defeated or that they failed through no fault of their own. The controls of the game are practically perfect, their responsiveness high, their flexibility unmatched, resulting in the kind of flow rarely seen in Metroidvania games, platform games, fighting games or, well, games in general.

Talking about fighting, melee combat in Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is fantastic: it is as accessible and, at the same time, as deep as any player wishes it to be. Some gamers will probably stick to basic combos, slides and parries, mixing them up with a few special moves here and there. For those who want to really express themselves in almost the same way fighting games allow – and show off in the process, why not? – Ubisoft’s title offers a number of tools to do just that, combining e.g. swordplay with arrows and air juggles while executing Time Powers special moves and completing combos with powerful finishers that light up the screen. It’s extremely rewarding stuff that’s also spectacular to watch, which is more than anyone can say about traditional 2D platformers these days.

True to the 1989 classic, this new Prince of Persia calls for some quick, ultra-precise, platforming in certain parts of Sargon’s adventure. Thankfully, excellent controls do not frustrate and patience is always rewarded. (Image: Ubisoft)

What’s also unusual for a new game these days is to be so bug-free and so consistent in terms of performance as the new Prince of Persia proved to be. Yours truly tested the PC version of The Lost Crown and did not encounter any game-breaking issues even without the Day 1 patch installed. Ubisoft’s artists made a lot of clever decisions regarding the look of this title, nailing a visual style that’s amazingly detailed without resorting to crazy polygon counts or extravagant lighting effects. Clean lines, bright colors and beautiful hand-drawn artwork reminiscent of early-2000s Disney cartoon films work well combined with the kind of energetic, lively animation the Rayman development studio is known for. It’s a match some of us have been waiting for a very long time to enjoy on a computer screen in interactive form and it’s a sight to behold.

The result of this smart art direction is exactly what this particular game needed: aesthetically pleasing, stylized graphics that move extremely smoothly at a rock-solid 60 FPS in normal gameplay, switching to more cinematic cameras and some artistic effects when specific special moves are executed successfully or when cut scenes take over. Yours truly tried it in three different PCs, two desktops and a laptop, getting it to run at 4K/60, 4K/120 and even 8K/60 with no hiccups whatsoever. There’s no HDR support, which is a shame, but other than that it’s just splendid. Sound is also well taken care of, with meaty effects, minimal atmospheric music and passable dialogue. No room for complaints, really, when it comes to the audiovisual side of The Lost Crown: this is a labor of love and it shows.

The verdict: a new Prince of Persia that’s an absolute delight

One would think that it’s almost comically early – not even mid-January! – to talk about a Metroidvania title as a serious contender for a 2024 Game of the Year award, but that’s just how amazing The Lost Crown really is: it’s a carefully crafted video game that really knows what it must do in order to be entertaining to the max and does exactly that, in style. By returning to its roots, this new Prince of Persia gets to right all the wrongs, tick all the boxes and even try a few new things in the process. This really is something more than the sum of its parts. It may take a few hours of playing to get it, yes, but once it becomes apparent it’s hard to miss: this is something special.

Ubisoft Montpellier did not re-invent the Metroidvania wheel with Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, but it is such a carefully crafted, high-quality title that it deserves to be played by practically everyone. A fantastic tribute to an all-time classic indeed. (Image: Ubisoft)

The Lost Crown is also a quality production that proves just how important is for a modern video game to deliver on every single level – gameplay, art direction, presentation, controls, graphics, sound – instead of being extremely impressive in a few of them while severely lacking in others. Yes, its scope is narrower than that of megahits costing hundreds of millions of dollars to develop – but the industry needs these laser-focused productions right now, maybe more than ever, to prove a point: it’s not budgets that ensure games are actually fun. It’s a clear vision, creative effort and attention to detail that do. The sooner other publishers realize this too, the better. In the meantime, hats off to Ubisoft and… there’d better be a sequel to this already in the works, Montpellier team!


Kostas Farkonas



One of the best 2D action platformers out there and a fitting 2024 tribute to a true classic, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown manages to get practically everything right – and do it in style. Highly recommended to all.

Excellent level design
Ultra-responsive, accurate controls
Accessible but flexible combat mechanics
Smartly, beautifully stylized graphics
Great performance across different PCs
A couple of fresh, well-implemented ideas
Somewhat confusing story
Difficulty abruptly ramping up at certain points
HDR support would have been nice


Kostas Farkonas

Veteran reporter with over 30 years of industry experience in various media, focusing on consumer tech, entertainment and digital culture. No, he will not fix your PC (again).

Veteran reporter with over 30 years of industry experience in various media, focusing on consumer tech, entertainment and digital culture. No, he will not fix your PC (again).




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