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Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown | REVIEW | PS5

''FIND THAT CROWN''

 

Developed: Ubisoft Montpellier

Published: Ubisoft

Genre: Metroidvania platformer

Release Date: Jan 18th, 2024

Platforms: PS4/PS5/Xbox Series/PC/NSW

*Review copy provided to me by Ubisoft


Prince Of Persia The Lost Crown is a metroidvania spin on the Prince Of Persia franchise and it is developed by Ubisoft Montepellier and published by Ubisoft. With Prince Of Persia being dormant for quite sometime, Ubisoft decided it was high time to bring it out of hibernation with a brand new spin on the metroidvania formula. But was it a wise decision turning it into a metrdoivania? or a costly one that can sink the franchise?. Only one way to find out, so lets go!



''I HAVE THE HIGH GROUND''

 

GAMEPLAY:


I had the opportunity to play this title a few months ago back in 2023 thanks to an invitation from Ubisoft and I got to say I was quite surprised at it, in a very good way. It had been so long since the last entry that I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but needless to say, the preview video I made on the game was in a very positive light. However, that was only for roughly 4 hours of the game, before I could be completely convinced on the title, I had to see for myself how the FULL game stood up to the early positives and if it held up to the same standard and quality, you know, the complete opposite of seeing a McDonalds commercial, seeing this big juicy burger and being like ''aw man my fat butt is hungry'', then you go to buy one and find nothing but soggy sloppy squished burger and it ruins your whole day. Oh yeah, I had to make sure this title wasn't going to end up like that, and this is why we are here today. The Prince Of Persia history has an extremely extensive background that dates back literal decades with lots and hits or misses for the franchise. Now with the franchise having been dormant for what feels like a decade now, Ubisoft Montpellier has decided a revival and face lift for the series is in order and thus giving birth to a first in the franchise, a Metroidvania style of game. Seeing this title announced for the first time, the only thing I can think of is Robin Williams in Jumanji after he emerges from the board game screaming ''WHAT YEAR IS IT'', because that's how gaming has been lately. With revivals of Gargoyles, TMNT, Crash Bandicoot, 2D style games for both Mario and Sonic, it feels like were going back in time, which isnt a bad thing at all. Because this is a Metroidvania style of game, the focus now shifts towards more platforming elements, more intricate combat mechanics and new inventive ways to make it stand out in a gaming field that's already robustly filled with Metroidvania style games. Like I mean a lot, feels like every other game that comes out nowadays from the indie scene is either a Rogue Like or Metroidvania, which isn't necessarily always a bad thing, it just means the market is a bit too oversaturated at the moment - much like everyone wanting to copy Limbo back in the Xbox 360 days. But... were getting way off topic now.


Off the bat, the narrative of the game is the weak point of this title, its a typical cliche type of story telling of a man who's destined for greatness and ultimately goes on to find out the power was inside of him all along type of tropes. Its not bad, don't get me wrong, its not like Kingdom Hearts level random or face palm worthy, it's just not as strong as you'd hope it would be, mainly because of two reasons in my opinion. One of these reasons being the stark shift in focus on the gameplay aspects of this title over narrative to keep the player engaged for longer periods of time and then the second reason is... well, you aren't even a prince in this game. That's right, in a game and franchise called Prince Of Persia, there is no prince to be found to play as. Its like eating a box of Little Debbies, feeling good, binging your favorite TV show and then you reach back into that box and its empty, there's nothing left. WHERE IS MY LITTLE CAKE SNACKS!? or in this case, my prince. Don't worry though, not having a full fledged prince doesn't hurt the game too much, but instead allows it to venture outside the usual comfort zone and freshens up the format that is typically used, ala the same type of route that Nintendo has taken with Zelda. Here in Lost Crown you play as Sargon, one of the seven Immortals tasked with defending Persia, along with its queen and soon to be prince as well. However things do not go as planned when the would be prince, named Ghassan, is abducted from within and Sargon and rest of the immortals give chase to Mount Qaf in order to save him from certain doom as you go through multiple labyrinthine challenges, sliding, wall jumping, new abilities to use that allows for amazing and diverse ecosystems, secret rooms to discover after mastering your abilities of time stopping and multi-jumping alongside puzzle filled platforms that require split second decisions, or die outright . It gets pretty hectic for sure. Much like any other Metroidvania on the market, the map isn't always open to you to see fully, instead, you must explore and traverse yourself to unlock a visible map and only then will the game start to open up to you to how truly big it really is as far as the map structure goes for Mount Qaf. The only downside to this winding and turning map with dozens of multiple paths is there's no easy way for backtracking to a SPECIFIC location. While yes you can fast travel by unlocking statues, which helps backtracking quite a bit, you still start at a relative distance away from where you were or want to go due to how spaced out they are. It's not a great system, but it does alleviate some of the headache of backtracking though, so that's always win, especially since backtracking is one of my biggest cardinal sins for a game, and if you've seen some of my past reviews, it can get me in a rage - but... despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.


 


''SLICE AND DICE''

 


Having played both the PC and console versions, I can safely say that the Playstation 5 version of the game, runs just as smoothly as its PC counterpart, which honestly i think is due to the artistic direction and design of the games levels both environmentally and engine wise. It's not a bad looking game at all, but it's not graphically extensive in the powerhouse department either, which is why it can fit perfectly on any platform Ubisoft deems its a good sale on, which is always a win. At the beginning of the title, your hand is held a bit, letting you learn the basics and ins and out of combat such as how to properly utilize the parry system with Yellow indicators letting you know that if timed right, you will be able to counter those attacks into an instant kill animation or at the very least, stun them. While indicators marked in Red, it means, get the hell out of dodge fool, you cant block that and are about to get super messed up if you dont. Which honestly it kind of gave me PTSD of my time in Final Fantasy 14 when I would be doing a raid and one person gets told, ok when the ground tuns orange in this spot, GET OUT OF THAT DAMN SPOT, since it causes massive AOE damage... but they NEVER listen and constantly stay in it, causing our party to wipe since they were our healing White Mage. Ugh. PTSD though aside, you as a player may customize Sargon to a really engaging degree by collecting various amulets that offer new abilities like stronger melee damage, self healing for a span of 10 seconds, time stopping abilities for short periods, Athra Surges using combat energy that can turn a situation of grief into success immediately, but also using it for a strong melee attack that slices through your foes with ease like a hot knife through a human brain.. I mean through butter, I'm not hannibal lecter I swear. It makes for a unique experience with each playthrough because through the use of abilities and collectibles to find to bolster your skillset, no playthrough, should you do more than one, is ever going to play out the same. Especially when factoring in the powers you unlock also include new ways to use your bow and arrow for puzzles, swinging and cutting rope for puzzles, which unlocks new ways to combat flying enemies or new ways to explore via areas you could never reach earlier in the game. It still didnt stop me from being dumb though and trying to do cool jumping and shooting arrow moves, but completely fumbling it and falling off a ledge into a pit and dying though, so that was pretty embarrassing. Especially after it was done in front of a Ubisoft representative months ago during my early preview.


As you platform through the large mazes of areas to explore, learning new abilities for easier and more smooth traversal, with quicker respawn times and locations more lenient to the player than other times of annoyance in other Metroidvania titles, it allows you to learn with trial by error, but to a lesser degree of frustration. This ultimately ends up making your journey feel more satisfactory and more complimentary to player rather than feeling like a game is purposely trying to slap your face off like in a Souls game or something. But you aren't in the clear yet, even as you put together your entire arsenal of skills and items to use for your platforming and normal enemy combat by parrying, sliding under them and then proceeding to pop off a five to 10 hit combo - you will have to of course take on the many boss fights of the game, all with their own challenge levels and different ways to beat them that makes you use a different strategy every time. For example, early on you will face a commander on a horse who's trying to spear you to death, but the only way to get the advantage on him is using your agility to doge and then parry within a fraction of a second in order to damage him, likewise with the fight in the colosseum where you fight a giant beast that stabs you with a stinger, shoots poison up from the ground giving you poison damage, and even charging at you full speed, you need to learn your parry's, watch his Red indicator signals, dodge, time your hits and stick and move and dodge everything you can, its extremely challenging, but when he's defeated, you feel great about yourself. The boss fights in Lost Crown are just too damn fun and for me are one of the main highlights of the game to go alongside its exploration. The Lost Crown with its traversal, moment to moment intense combat, secrets to uncover, plethora of skills and abilities to use, the right amount of difficulty with its platforming and combat with boss fights, makes this one of the most accessible games in the franchises long storied history. It didnt stop me from getting lost due to being stupid at not being able to follow the simplest instructions though, but then again, I'm not exactly the sharpest Spork in the fish tank. What?


 


''STICK AND MOVE''

 

OVERALL:


At the end of the day, Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown ends up as return to form for the series. Its not perfect of course with some of the backtracking getting tedious at times, some bosses requiring split second reaction timing for parries that can frustrate you a bit and some missable power ups that you will not find unless you search for them, etc. However even with the negatives, the adjustable parry windows, damage settings, finding ways to get across hazardous challenges using your brain, map pins that let you mark places you want to revisit or remember, having the urge to delve deeper into the large map to uncover new mysteries, smooth and fluid platforming, fun and engaging combat and a really good skill and ability progression system, make this game a blast to play from start to finish. If you're a fan of Prince Of Persia or maybe even the older 2D games in the franchise themselves, then you owe it to yourself to at least play this one time, you won't regret it I feel. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW



 

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