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    “Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown” will be the crown jewel for gamers

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    Some “Prince of Persia” games are considered classics and formative. “Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown” would also like to be given this title. A new story with a comic look is combined with a previously unfamiliar genre. ntv tests whether the mixture rises.

    If you think of the most iconic video games, you can’t ignore Prince of Persia, because the titles are usually impressive with the charm of the Arabian setting and innovative gameplay. However, the remakes in recent years have not succeeded. Ubisoft is now making another attempt with “Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown”: a new story with a comic look and a genre that is unfamiliar to the series should excite gamers. ntv.de tested the game.

    As a player you take on the role of the saber-wielding Sargon. He is one of the seven “Immortals”, a group of warriors who – like so many elements in the game – are based on Persian mythology. With Anahita there is an opponent who wants to become queen of the Persian Empire and simply kidnaps Prince Ghassan to do so. She goes to Mount Qaf – similar to Olympus, there are the gods who can appoint a new king. Because only the royal family has access there, the prince has to act as a door opener. A chase begins for Sargon with mythical creatures, puzzles and daring parkour passages.

    The latest edition from the “Prince of Persia” cosmos is a Metroidvania. The portmanteau comes from Metroid and Castlevania, two formative video games in which you explore a large, nested but interconnected world without a clear goal. Ubisoft’s work also uses this subcategory of action-adventure. The platforming passages are in 2D, the beautifully animated cutscenes in the story and fights are in 3D. As usual in the genre, the world opens up as you learn new skills as the story progresses. At the beginning, Sargon can only jump over obstacles and slide through gaps, but as he progresses he learns how to use a grappling hook or catapult himself through the air.

    Armed with bow and chakram

    The individual sections of the world can also be influenced as you progress in the game. You can temporarily activate stairs with a bow, and you can use the chakram – a throwing ring – to drive gears or throw door openers. Later on you have to combine the different mechanics to discover new sections and hidden treasure chests.

    There is also one for the genre Relatively complex combat system, which is not based on pure button combinations: attacking, counterattacking, dodging – the whole thing combined with the various movement actions in combat is rather standard. However, you have to adapt to your opponents. For example, shield bearers must first be lured out of cover, slip under them or be thrown into the air before you can strike the final blow. Even the standard enemies that appear in almost every section of the game have a dangerous attack, which the player can parry with the right timing. If this is successful, the game briefly switches to 3D animation and Sargon performs an attack that immediately eliminates standard opponents. There is also an attack that cannot be parried you have to avoid it.

    Mythical creatures like the manticore are suddenly confronted with jargon. Mythical creatures like the manticore are suddenly confronted with jargon.

    Mythical creatures like the manticore are suddenly confronted with jargon.

    (Photo: Ubisoft)

    Jargon itself also has several special abilities. During battles he collects athra, a type of energy. If the corresponding bar is charged, you can carry out a particularly violent attack or, for example, receive an aura that restores life energy. Here too it goes into 3D and an effective animation.

    While exploring Qaf and solving puzzles are the quiet part of “Prince of Persia”, the fights are impressive with their pace and dynamism. Even the boss fights are really well animated and even challenging for a 2D platformer. There are also four levels of difficulty, which can make for even tougher combat. When it comes to exploration, you can choose between an almost completely free mode and a groundbreaking mode. If you choose the free mode, you can’t ignore a new feature – and that is the photo mode, which is often laughed at in other games. While this is usually an annoying side quest, in “Prince of Persia” it becomes a great memory function. Because the map of the world is only shown in outline. With the screenshot you can remember: Ah, we couldn’t go any further here for the time being or there was a treasure chest hidden there that was still out of reach.

    Persian sound as a big plus

    There are plenty of obstacle courses with deadly consequences in the game. There are plenty of obstacle courses with deadly consequences in the game.

    There are plenty of obstacle courses with deadly consequences in the game.

    (Photo: Ubisoft)

    When it comes to movement and the combat system, you get better and better as the game progresses. Elements such as life energy or weapon strength are improved using an upgrade system. To do this, you collect time crystals, metals or amulets in the game. The latter can be attached to your own necklace and give a small boost in different areas, but can also slow down time briefly if you use the chakram. The time crystals are intended as currency with which you can buy another healing potion or a slot for more decorative pendants from a merchant. The divine blacksmith Kaheva brings the weapons into shape – this is where the collected metals are used.

    Overall, the crafting system, if you can even call it that, is pleasantly manageable. Whatever your opponents drop in battle – mostly crystals – you take with you. You can also occasionally find amulet pendants and metals in passing. However, you are not forced to level up Sargon in any way; with skill and practice, all of the game’s challenges can be overcome.

    The comic look may take some getting used to, but it fits perfectly into the diverse world of Qaf. Various scenes come together here, such as old temple ruins, forests, dungeons and water worlds. The level of detail is extremely high and despite it being 2D, there is always something happening in the background levels. “Prince of Persia” is full of life. The whole thing is topped off by a strong soundtrack provided by the Berlin artist “Mentrix”. The mostly atmospheric-orchestral sounds adapt to the action and provide the necessary drama. “Who wouldn’t want to contribute the music to an adventure like this,” said “Mentrix” in an interview with ntv. “I wanted to highlight the colors and tones of Iranian music. That is the center of Persian culture. People tend to generalize a bit – like with music from the Middle East. Ultimately, the music should convey that you are on one level journey and somewhere else at the moment of playing.”

    The plan is working

    And that succeeds. As far as mood goes, pretty much everything in “Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown” fits. The gameplay is impressive in the areas of freedom of movement, exploration and the combat system throughout the entire duration of the more than 20 hours of playing time. There are only a few weaknesses: the carefully constructed world around the “Immortals” and Mount Qaf is really extensive, but can only be reconstructed using the narrative panels. Unfortunately, there is no encyclopedia that you fill in over the course of the game.

    Also in the area of ​​user-friendliness is the lack of an overview of the attack combinations. Although there is a training arena where you learn to carry out various attacks, you have to go there again first and there is no fast travel function available, especially at the beginning. Despite shortcuts that you unlock here and there, you often have to cover long passages.

    However, these are actually no stumbling blocks for gamblers. For developers, this should even be able to be fixed fairly quickly with a patch. In the end, even the full price of 50 euros for “Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown” is justified because you get a really coherent and dynamic action adventure that challenges and entertains at the same time. The idea behind a new “Prince of Persia” game works. The charm of the old titles is noticeable, a new coat of paint and the best features of a Metroidvania ensure a unique gaming experience. After a decent year with big but solid titles like “Assassin’s Creed: Mirage” or “Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora”, Ubisoft has added a real crown jewel to its collection – and the players ultimately benefit from it.

    “Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown” will be released on January 18th for Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and PC.

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