BGS 2023 Hands-on – Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
One of the few previews for high-profile, yet-to-be-released games available at this year’s somewhat disappointing edition of Brasil Game Show was a demo session for the upcoming Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, from Ubisoft Montpellier. After an obnoxious absence from the gaming scene, as well as the disappointment regarding the perpetually delayed remake of The Sands of Time, the initial reveal for a brand new Prince of Persia game, and a metroidvania at that, was enough to make fans excited.
The demo itself was short, lasting about fifteen minutes or so, and it didn’t answer all of my questions regarding the game’s progression system. I wasn’t able to find out what abilities my protagonist will earn later down the line, as the demo itself was just a brief introductory area with a handful of enemies and puzzles, preceded by a neat, high-quality in-engine cinematic. But was it enough for me to realize that, gameplay-wise, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is going to be a killer? Oh yes. Absolutely.
Not many abilities were available to me at the demo, and I have no idea if they were all initial items or if the demo had given me some extra items for the sake of giving me a more vertical showcase of what Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown has to offer. Still, I could perform air dashes, attack foes with arrows and daggers, perform neat (and easily manageable) parries, avoid attack with crouched dashes, attack in all directions (both ranged and melee), and perform two kinds of charged attacks. One of them involved holding down the arrow button, allowing me to unleash a shield-like boomerang. The other one could be done by holding down L2 and the attack button, letting me unleash a badass shockwave attack which nullified enemy shields.
Furthermore, in order to reach higher sections of the map, I can perform wall jumps, which can be linked to my air dashes to let me play my own version of “The Floor is Lava”. Finally, being a modern Prince of Persia game, I had access to a small time manipulation technique. In short, I could create a “shadow marker”, as the game calls it, which is an instantaneous checkpoint. For instance, imagine you’re out of arrows: you can create a marker in front of a place which requires a ranged attack in order to complete a puzzle, explore the map in search of arrows, and press a button to instantly teleport back to that area. You can also take screenshots of puzzles and pin them to your map, as a reminder of where to go after unlocking a new ability.
Even though this demo was short, and I still have no idea of what to expect in terms of unlockables or new abilities, I had a blast with what little I could play of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown. What started off as a clunky, slow-paced 2D platformer in the late 80s has now finally made a comeback to its side-scrolling roots, but as a stylish, fast-paced metroidvania with slick combat, great visuals, and neat accessibility options. Can January 18th come soon? I don’t even mind if they decide to cancel the remake of The Sands of Time. I never thought a fast-paced Prince of Persia metroidvania was something I’d so desperately want in my life.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is slated for a January 18, 2024 release for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC and Switch.