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Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown looks like the best way to reboot the series

It might even be the sleeper hit from Ubisoft’s showcase

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Prince of Persia’s unexpected return to its side-scrolling, platforming roots continues to impress. Following its announcement Thursday at Summer Game Fest, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown got an extensive gameplay reveal on Monday that could even make it the sleeper hit of the Ubisoft Forward showcase.

Seriously! And yes, Star Wars, Avatar, and Assassin’s Creed-themed open-world games were all shown in the same 90-minute stretch. But Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown’s gameplay captivates. It’s a slick blend of modern 2D platforming with cinematic super-attacks and fully acted cutscenes.

The combos, juggles, wall-jumping, and jump-dashing all have their traditions in gameplay more than 30 years old now, and the “semi-open world” built here properly honors them, rather than trying to interpret that in a new playing space.

Honestly, I dig it all. Hang with me here, but I remember the enthusiasm when Bionic Commando: Rearmed hit, oh my Lord, 15 years ago. It was the perfect reboot for the time, conjuring not just nostalgia for the original — again, side-scroller — but also making the gameplay sing with distinction on new hardware. And the 3D, third-person, action-adventure that followed landed with a meaty splat.

Following an indefinite delay in 2021, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’s remake has since been palmed off on Ubisoft Montreal, which literally went back to the drawing board on the idea. So maybe The Lost Crown stealing the show is a good thing. This doesn’t have to be overthought; sometimes what seems like the simplest execution is actually the most correct.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown launches Jan. 18, 2024 on Amazon Luna, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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