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Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
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Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown - Video Review

We've been on an adventure through time in Ubisoft's latest action-adventure title that takes the Prince of Persia series back to its 2D roots.

Audio transcription

"When Prince of Persia The Lost Crown was announced during Summer Game Fest last year, we were initially a little sceptical about the game. We weren't too sure about the art direction and the recent woes of the series also played on our mind too. But then a few days later we had the chance to play the game for the first time and most of our concerns were quashed."

"But the big question is, does this 2D metroidvania manage to entertain for its full duration?
The answer to that question is simple, yes, yes it does. But it's not a complete and uninhibited win for Ubisoft. First of all, we'd like to state that the 2D style works effortlessly here and the way the gameplay is presented is top notch. This is a fluid, fast paced, thrilling adventure that keeps you on your toes from minute one until the credits roll through its tricky platforming and challenging enemies. In this way, it's Prince of Persia through and through. Plus, the metroidvania elements are fairly well presented. You hit walls and won't be able to progress or explore further without the right ability or tool and this is about as predictable and familiar as any other metroidvania over the years."

"It works at a fundamental level, but Ubisoft's main problem is how it ties together the metroidvania approach and the overarching narrative of the game. The narrative takes Sargon all over the location of Mount Qaf, a legendary place where time no longer operates in a linear sense. And this is where the metroidvania elements creep in. Because you will need to visit unique biomes, complete tasks, talk with characters, acquire new abilities and gear all on the path to a destructive final battle. The idea is a fine and reasonable one, but in practice it comes across as more of a series of hoops that Sargon must jump through to reach his ultimate destination. It lacks finesse in how it conveys its narrative and likewise, with a large portion of the story being told through pop-up dialogue windows, it doesn't feature the same gravity as other action-adventure games. But fortunately, where this game lacks in a narrative sense, it does excel in many other areas. Take the platforming for example. There are sections of varying difficulty, but every part of the game allows you to flaunt your understanding of the mechanics as you see fit. And this is fantastic because so many of the abilities do slightly different things and allow Sargon to overcome challenges set out in front of him in a multitude of ways. Between using time reversal systems to teleportation to air dashes and double jumping, wall climbing and leaping plus grapple slides and more, there are a whole slew of movement techniques that are applicable to most places around Mount Kath. They are also very useful when it comes to combat, meaning the core hack and slashing systems are enhanced with a creative suite of abilities and weapons Sargon a versatile and thrilling character to operate. Mount Kath is designed in such a way that there are tons of challenges and additional side content to explore and find, but this is also not a massive and overwhelming world. It's manageable to explore and likewise, the secrets are usually offered in such a way where you won't be bashing your head against the wall in search of answers. Ubisoft has struck a pleasant balance between challenge and ease of access in an exploration sense. Where we mentioned earlier that the main narrative wasn't exactly tied into the metroidvania side of things in all too compelling of a manner and by extension this often left the main storyline with a little to be desired, the same can be said of the side quests."

"A large portion of these revolve around finding and completing collectibles quests around Mount Kath and others are minor stories that never really succeed in intriguing. It's clear that when you look at the main and side quests Ubisoft has struggled in a narrative sense for this game as well it's often completely fine and serviceable compared to the gameplay, level design, combat, exploration and even the art style which thrives when exploring and then often becoming a bit of an eyesore when in close-up cutscenes, it does lack. And to us this perfectly sums up Prince of Persia the Lost Crown. For a multitude of reasons this game is an absolute blast. We've had a huge amount of fun exploring the world and taking on all manner of dangerous beasts and beings from myth and legend but just because it has its strengths doesn't mean that the Lost Crown is a home run. There is room for improvement for this game and the way it is fundamentally designed, specifically in how the tale is weaved together in a narrative sense. With this game now in the books Ubisoft has a brilliant platform to build upon for the future and we do hope that they decide to do so because it's clear that Ubisoft has an affinity for this type of game."

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