When the first trailer for Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown was revealed, many fans of the franchise weren’t happy. The Prince of Persia franchise has traditionally been a series of 3D action adventure games, and not only have we not gotten a proper new Prince of Persia game in over a decade, but the Sands of Time Remake that Ubisoft announced years ago has been in development hell with no goal in sight ever since. As such, it’s somewhat understandable that fans weren’t ecstatic about this new 2D metroidvania from Ubisoft Montpellier that had very little to do with the original DNA of the Prince of Persia franchise. But once you remove expectations of what you want from a Prince of Persia, it was also pretty easy to see that Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown looked like a spectacular new metroidvania game.
And I had high expectations going into The Lost Crown because Ubisoft Montpellier knows how to make 2D platformers. Sure, it’s been 11 years at this point since the release of Rayman Legends, but that’s a phenomenal 2D platformer, and so I was trusting them to continue to deliver in that department. And they absolutely did! It’s weird how 90% of Ubisoft’s output seems to be the same kind of Ubisoft open-world RPG checklist games that most of us seem to be tired of by now, but every time they move outside of that, they deliver. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is not a game you’d expect to come out of current Ubisoft, but it’s the best game they’ve made in years. I’m part way through Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, and these are my thoughts so far.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is an extremely solid 2D metroidvania that, so far, does everything you could possibly want from it. Very solid platforming, great combat, and puzzles that aren’t too easy but also won’t break your mind. It looks gorgeous as well, and it features a great soundtrack. That’s all well and good, but what really surprised me about the game is that it’s not just a great entry into the genre; it builds upon the conventions and moves it forward. Yes, an Ubisoft game that’s inventive. The most obvious way in which it does that is through the Eye of the Wanderer.
What it does is very simple, but without exaggeration, revolutionizes the genre. It allows you to take a screenshot at any point in the game and mark its location on your minimap, allowing you to easily remember any spot on the map where you need a future ability to proceed, which, given that it’s a metroidvania, happens all the time. I know this might seem like a small thing, something you could so easily replicate with a simple note pad, but let’s be honest, how many people actually take notes while gaming? It’s hard to overstate how much this shapes how you play. Yes, it’s obviously a quality of life improvement, but I do believe that beyond that, it also changes how you explore the world in a meaningful way.
All I know is that every time I play a metroidvania now, I want this feature in it, and if I don’t get it, there will be at least a disappointed sigh uttered by me. Which does raise the question: is it worth it to delay Silksong another time to add this feature, or do I have to accept the fact that I’ll have to make due without it?
Nairon is playing Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown on PC with a review key.