If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown has a big, brewing frenemy battle on its hands, and it can't come soon enough

Bring back the old boss gauntlet, I say

A group shot of the Immortals warriors from Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Ubisoft

Back in May when I first played Ubisoft's new Metroid-like Prince Of Persia game, The Lost Crown, ahead of its reveal at this year's Summer Game Fest, I got to sample several hours' worth of some of the early areas inside its cursed mountaintop citadel of Mount Qaf. Some of protagonist Sargon's powers had been unlocked early to give us a taste of his abilities, and on the whole, I had an exceedingly good time with it. One thing was missing though, and that was any kind of narrative framing for why Sargon was here in the first place. Sure, we'd been told ahead of time that Sargon's main mission in The Lost Crown is tracking down and saving the eponymous Prince of this game, but I didn't actually see any of this in action. Anything with the slightest whiff of story about it had been expertly excised from that initial demo build, and I was left none the wiser about how those opening hours of The Lost Crown would really play out in the final game.

Now, I've been able to play the game from the beginning, with all the story bits slotted back in and Sargon's powers unlocked in the correct order. You may have got a glimpse of some of that stuff in the new trailer released during last week's Game Awards. In the space of two minutes, it sets the scene for Sargon's rescue mission by first introducing all of his fellow warrior mates, and then seconds later showing how they're all at each other's throats as they get increasingly turned around in Mount Qaf's labyrinth. And oh my, I can practically feel all the inevitable backstabbing from here. It's going to be delicious, I can tell, and I can't wait to slice them all six ways to Sunday when The Lost Crown comes out in January.

I'll save going into too much detail about the game's platforming chops, as my thoughts on all that good stuff are still the same as they were back in May. In short, this is wonderfully lithe and acrobatic Metroid 'em up that has some really neat ideas up its sleeve early on, and you can read all about them in my initial preview. I'll also spare you from going into laborious detail about how this second demo of the same area has really changed from the first in terms of its power curve. Those differences are really only interesting to me as someone who's played both versions, and you're better off discovering them for yourself when the public demo for The Lost Crown comes out on January 11th.

What's more interesting about this second glimpse at The Lost Crown is getting to see all of Sargon's mates in action. They're a boisterous lot, all brawny guffaws with a breezy and assured confidence in their own skills and capabilities, with just the slightest hint of them looking down their noses at the plebs on the street. Some of that disdainful joshing is directed at Sargon himself. He's the newest and youngest warrior in their band of Immortals, after all, but their jibes are mostly harmless and good-natured, like an extended family all fighting round the dinner table to get the last laugh. Sargon certainly takes most of it in his stride, and he gives as good as he gets when they're all chatting back at the palace after successfully pushing back a Kushan invasion as part of the game's opening tutorial siege.

Three warriors run into battle at sunset in Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Ubisoft

But his desire to prove himself becomes one of the driving forces that powers him through the rest of the game, and as the trailer makes clear, he'll need to bring more than just sharp retorts to the fray. I only get to see one of those climactic frenemy fights during my demo build, but it's one of those classic 'doomed to fail' affairs that does a very good job of setting up the inevitable come back in the game's final act. The Lost Crown is very good with its foreshadowing more generally, too, as throughout Sargon's early forays into the belly of Mount Qaf, it becomes increasingly clear that time is playing tricks on them. Fellow soldiers that arrived here last night have seemingly aged decades when Sargon and his pals pitch up, and I encountered one such chap whose final request was for Sargon to find the rest of his regiment and put them out of their misery (a meaty sidequest if ever I saw one).

The circumstances under which Sargon attains his bow-cum-chakram are similarly shrouded in mystery. After defeating The Lost Crown's BIG PIG boss (TM), Sargon spies the bow on the ground next to the fallen body of… himself? But the bow actually belongs to his mate Menalios, and there's no way Menalios would be without his bow unless something terrible had also happened to him in the process. Assuming the worst, Sargon rescues it and returns to the obstacle he went to fetch Menalios to solve in the first place, but lo and behold, minutes later Sargon runs into Menalios alive and well and still with his own bow in hand. Some of the other Immortals Sargon runs into during his travels also seem to have been trapped here for days and weeks when they meet again, too, and the change in their demeanour, not to mention the rate at which they're all clearly unravelling, makes for some potent storytelling to keep you barrelling forward.

Sargon chats to the bow-wielding Menalios in Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Ubisoft
Sargon finds a bow in Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown
Sargon fights a big pig in Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Ubisoft

It looks as though there will be plenty to sink your teeth into, in other words, especially once you factor in its healthy supply of sidequests, weapon upgrades and collectible amulets to seek out. I also got to finally try out the game's excellent screenshot memory mapping tool in this build, and it works exactly how I imagined, letting you screenshot your current position in the world - to remind yourself of a specific obstacle, say - and pin it to your overworld map, so you can refer back to it later without having to backtrack all the way there to remember, oh wait this was the lava trail I need a very specific power for, not just a locked door. It's very handy, and should make navigating the warrens of Mount Qaf much more agreeable down the line. I should note you can also choose between Guided and Exploration game modes when you begin The Lost Crown, the former marking up all objective locations and blocked paths, while the latter takes a more minimal approach to map guidance - though you can also switch between them at any time should you need assistance.

So yes, consider me still very pumped for The Lost Crown, as it's not only shaping up to be a rad-looking platformer, but it's also got a great cast of ne'er-do-wells that should hopefully make for some properly formidable boss fights in among all its even larger monsters, BIG PIGs and all. Here's hoping The Lost Crown makes good on its foreshadowed promises when it comes out on January 18th 2024.

Rock Paper Shotgun is the home of PC gaming

Sign in and join us on our journey to discover strange and compelling PC games.

In this article
Follow a topic and we'll email you when we write an article about it.

Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown

PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Nintendo Switch

Related topics
About the Author
Katharine Castle avatar

Katharine Castle


Katharine is RPS' editor-in-chief, which means she's now to blame for all this. After joining the team in 2017, she spent four years in the RPS hardware mines. Now she leads the RPS editorial team and plays pretty much anything she can get her hands on. She's very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests, but also loves strategy and turn-based tactics games and will never say no to a good Metroidvania.