Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown review - Ubisoft game release date on Steam and PlayStation, demo, is it good
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Metroidvanias can be hard. Ubisoft knows this. So how do you make a colourful, platforming reimagining of a once popular adventure franchise with broad appeal accessible to the wide range of players who are likely to try it out?
Accessibility options. Ubisoft has gone to great lengths to communicate to potential players the accessibility options they can expect to see come The Lost Crown's release.
These include features commonplace in modern gaming, like the removal of quick time events and the ability to answer the sizes of subtitles and other onscreen text - and a High Contrast Mode, a first for a Ubisoft game, which aims to make the game much easier to decipher for those with low vision.
But the age of getting told to “git gud” is also - thankfully - on its way out, and a host of difficulty options make it easy for anyone to tailor their experience.
Even this grizzled gamer, who's been sat with a controller in his hands for nigh-on 25 years at this point, played around with the sliders that allow you to essentially set your own difficulty level.
And Guided Mode - which keeps helpful icons on the in-game map, including a waypoint to your next objective - got to stay too. It essentially does what the original Metroid Prime did over 22 years ago, and I’m not going to argue with that classic.
But more on the game itself. The Lost Crown is a moreish, fluid and always intriguing action platformer.
Depending on your stomach for mysticism, the story is either a vast tapestry of fantasy and myth, or a slightly awkward attempt at matinee-style adventure, but you can almost let it take a back seat entirely, as the plot weaves its mythology with broad strokes, ensuring accessibility without bogging players down with unnecessary details.
However, amidst the splendour, there's a grumble-worthy moment. It appears that one character might be voiced by AI, raising eyebrows and causing a momentary glitch in the otherwise impeccable experience. Additionally, some cast performances fall slightly short, veering into the realm of inconsistency, but it’s not too much of a detractor.
The game boasts an impressive array of features, from its excellent and fluid combat to the precision of its platforming elements. The world within The Lost Crown is also both intriguing and diverse, inviting players to explore its intricacies while uncovering more secrets than one can fathom.
The combat mechanics are responsive, but I did find myself focusing so exclusively on upgrades to suit my play style that boss battles became a case of sliding through enemy attacks and spamming the X button to strike with my sword.
The combat system is much deeper than that suggests, and you’re even rewarded with exciting, anime-style animations for parrying certain attacks, but I saw relatively few of these as I was able to almost avoid that mechanic entirely. Mileage will vary based on individual players’ playstyles.
Traversal through the game world proves to be a joy, as the platforming elements are executed with precision and finesse. I’m not sure how far from the ending I am, but the franchise’s time powers are dished out relatively slowly, though the joy of seeing all those closed off paths open up as you acquire each one is a joy of the Metroidvania genre that never gets old.
And in terms of performance, The Lost Crown has impressively avoided any performance hiccups or glitches during my playthrough, and the game excels in delivering a smooth and glitch-free adventure
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown successfully captures the essence of both its iconic lineage and the Metroidvania genre, creating an immersive and thoroughly enjoyable gaming experience. It’s the first genuinely new Prince of Persia game since the 2008 reboot, and the fusion is so seamless that one can't help but wonder why these two hadn't joined forces sooner.
[Played on Xbox Series X]
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown releases on PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on Thursday 18 January. A free demo is available from Thursday 11 January.