The Prince of Persia franchise has been on a roller coaster ride for the past 35 years, with highs like the groundbreaking original in 1989 and lows like the disappointingly dull 2008 remake. But amidst the mediocrity, a few gems have managed to withstand the test of time. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is undoubtedly one of those, and it seems that Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is set to join its ranks.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown breathes new life into the long-running action/adventure series by venturing into uncharted territory. It not only pays homage to the series' 2D roots but also embraces the Metroidvania genre for the first time. While it feels refreshingly original, The Lost Crown also features numerous significant moments that hark back to the legacy of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
In the beloved classic, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (released in 2003), players were granted immediate access to the game's iconic time manipulation powers. Right from the start, these powers allowed players to rewind time by a few seconds, saving them from the fatal consequences of a mistimed parry or a misguided leap. In Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, players don't technically possess the Sands of Time themselves, but they do have access to a range of abilities that seemingly bend time.
Some of the time-based abilities in Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown are more overt than others. For example, the Shield of Mithra Amulet bears a striking resemblance to Sands of Time's Power of Delay and Power of Haste, enabling players to slow down time in an arc around them after a successful parry. Other time-based abilities in The Lost Crown are more subtly woven into the gameplay, like the air dash, which appears to show Sargon running along a fracture in time, although not explicitly explained to the player.
While Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown's abilities cleverly reference and reimagine beloved mechanics from Sands of Time, there is one particular cutscene that directly plays with fan expectations. A few hours into The Lost Crown, players are hit with a twist: Vahram, one of Sargon's fellow Immortals and essentially his father figure, is revealed to be the main villain. After killing the kidnapped Prince, Vahram turns his attention to Sargon, utilizing abilities that may evoke a sense of familiarity among Sands of Time fans.
In a brutal showdown, Vahram pummels Sargon to within an inch of his life, slamming him against a wall and impaling him with a sword. Then, in a dramatic gesture, Vahram triggers a sound effect and visual filter instantly recognizable to fans of Sands of Time—the signature rewind power of the Prince. What follows is a deliciously dark twist on fan service, as Vahram rewinds time not to rectify his mistakes but to continue his relentless assault on Sargon.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a triumphant return for the franchise, offering a fresh take on time-bending mechanics while paying homage to its storied history. The game's fusion of nostalgia and innovation is a treat for long-time fans and newcomers alike. As players navigate the treacherous landscapes and unravel the mysteries of this new installment, they'll find themselves captivated by the artful blending of humor, action, and platforming. Prince of Persia has reclaimed its crown, and it's a delight to witness its triumphant return.
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