Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown — Finally A Ubisoft Game Free Of Formulaic Worlds

A creative game or two like this keeps monotony at bay.

Story Highlights

  • Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is so much fun I can’t believe it’s a Ubisoft game.
  • Ubisoft’s formulaic and repetitive open worlds with scripted checklists are the root of the evil.
  • The Lost Crown is a step away from this tedium, and I hope it steers the company away from it. 

Whether it’s gaming or any other media, nostalgia is a pretty powerful factor in determining someone’s preference. I can certainly vouch for this statement, as I’m probably the biggest sucker for nostalgia bait. However, it’s not necessarily a bait every time. Sometimes, nostalgia is used in the most effective way possible, and that is when you know something is going to be epic. Getting to see authentic recreations from my past is the greatest pleasure for me.

And recently, we got a very solid example of this. You guessed it, I’m talking about Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown. Prince of Persia was one of my favorite franchises growing up, from that ingenious parkour implementation to creative-level design and combat, it was the full package. The series went somewhat downhill over time, but now it’s back with a new look, something a lot closer to its roots.

YouTube video

Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown Is Loads Of Fun

I’ll be honest with you, when The Lost Crown was announced, I was highly skeptical. And could you blame? I mean it was the modern Ubisoft we’re talking about, I was afraid it’ll mess things up. The first trailer didn’t help, either. The new character design and the poor choice of music cemented a pretty bad initial image. You might say I was judging very quickly, but Ubisoft’s poor marketing genuinely fooled me. 

Prince Of Persia Creator Responds To Backlash Over Newest Games Protagonist
byu/bxgang invideogames

However, subsequent trailers showcasing gameplay were nothing if not fascinating. Then came the demo and the rest is history. I’ve been playing that little sneak-peak nonstop, and it’s safe to say Ubisoft has crafted a masterpiece when it comes to gameplay. I mean, the story and character design are still pretty out of place in a Prince of Persia game, but the gameplay is enough to fall in love with the game, and honestly, that’s what matters.

The best part of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is most certainly the gameplay
The best part of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is most certainly the gameplay

The story’s weak presentation aside, controlling Sargon feels extremely satisfying. The game looks like Metroidvania at first glance, but trust me it’s a lot more. For a side-scrolling adventure, the depth of combat is insane. With exceptional and flashy basic moves, a solid weight behind your attacks, creative aerial and evasive maneuvers, a parry that’s extremely satisfying to execute, and the Athra abilities to mix things up, you shouldn’t sleep on this game.

I Was Tired Of Ubisoft’s Formulaic Open Worlds

I mentioned above the modern Ubisoft’s poor image, so you might be wondering, where does this image come from? Well, it’s because of all the robotic and monotonous open worlds the developer creates. I mean, they all are so similar that if you play one game, you feel like you’ve played all of them. Moreover, they’re also filled with similar kinds of monotonous tasks you quickly get tired of doing. Thus, I was positively shocked by POP: The Lost Crown.

The Ubisoft Formula: once you’ve played one Ubisoft game, you’ve played them all
byu/tokki32 inpatientgamers

The greatest flaw of Ubisoft’s open worlds is how formulaic they feel. It’s like the company created a single draft and then based all of its worlds around that. Playing these games, I feel like they all strictly follow a script. You have a big open world, most of it empty, while the rest is filled with a checklist of sorts. You have to go through that checklist, crossing objectives as you complete, and keep moving through a robotic, soul-less world.

And you know what makes it all even more frustrating? The UI and map design. Ubisoft will fill the map with 20 different markers to give you a false sense of overwhelming content. In fact, it’s not the content that’s overwhelming but those markers. The maps are needlessly cluttered with them, when in reality it’s all the same sorts of objectives you’re accustomed to. Honestly, I was pretty fed up with these monotonous and formulaic worlds.

How to identify a Ubisoft game
byu/CR1MS9N inIndianGaming

Above All, Ubisoft’s Recent AAA Entries Were All Filled With It

If this soulless open-world implementation was in only one or two games, I don’t think it would be this much of a problem. Regrettably, Ubisoft’s recent games have mostly all been like this. Take a look at the Assassin’s Creed series. I’ve always found the new RPG-fication of Assassin’s Creed to be a step backward. It was no longer Assassin’s Creed for me. But, the even bigger problem was the open-world design that came along.

"The enemy has five levels on you, so you can't sneak up on him and attack even if he is blind. Go grind or spend money"
“The enemy has five levels on you, so you can’t sneak up on him and attack even if he is blind. Go grind or spend money”

Origins was still good, but Odyssey and Valhalla were the prime examples of bad open-world design. They had all of the Ubisoft formulaic elements I have now come to despise. Vast yet barren worlds, a checklist of things to do, scripted progression routes, and a ton of markers to mask monotony, they had everything. And if Ubisoft’s strongest franchise was in this state, it wasn’t long before the formula seeped into others.

Why are ubisoft games so disappointing? Not bad but disappointing.
byu/Skinnybane ingaming

The next example on the list is Far Cry 6. The ambitious addition to the rich series was filled with the same kind of open-world tediousness Ubisoft became known for. Watch Dogs Legion fared no better in this case. And these are just the bigger names. Safe to say Ubisoft’s formulaic open worlds are as frequent as they are hated. So much so that they made a permanent image in my mind I’m glad is starting to turn around with POP: The Lost Crown.

The Lost Crown Is A Throwback To Ubisoft’s Creative Times

You know what’s The Lost Crown’s greatest accomplishment? It’s a breath of fresh air from all these repetitive monotonous open worlds Ubisoft creates. It reminded me that Ubisoft was not always like this, and refreshed the image of when Ubisoft made creative and original gems. The original Prince of Persia is a good example of this. Sands of Time is a legendary game and it was all about pouring everything into the uniqueness of the parkour-fueled platforming.

The Sands of Time was a parkour and platforming marvel
The Sands of Time was a parkour and platforming marvel

Similarly, take a look at the start of Assassin’s Creed. It was inspired by Prince of Persia, yes, but can you call it an exact copy of it? I’m sure you can’t, and it isn’t one either. Assassin’s Creed took out the parkour, yes, but it also made you embody an Assassin in the most creative way possible. Oh, and while I’m at it, let me give you the best example of Ubisoft’s creative goodness: Rayman. For me, Rayman is the most fun I had in a Ubisoft game.

When I first saw Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, the first thing that came to my mind was Rayman Origins and Legends. Imagine my surprise when I learned it was from the same developer, too: Ubisoft Montpellier. That’s when my interest in the game skyrocketed. Rayman Legends is a game I’ll recommend as if my life depended on it, it’s just that good. It’s a shame Ubisoft never did anything about it after that.

If you haven't played Rayman Legends yet, you're genuinely missing out on one of the best platformers
If you haven’t played Rayman Legends yet, you’re genuinely missing out on one of the best platformers

Ubisoft Needs To Reconsider Its Priorities

Playing through Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown made me realize once again how much good Ubisoft can do when it’s not set on using formulaic and robotic open worlds. I sincerely hope this game performs well so that it makes Ubisoft realize how much its open-world formula has ruined games. It’s a good time to either recreate its formula from the ground up or make it less frequent and focus on creative adventures like this and Rayman.

Would love to see a Rayman game in the same style/engine as Crash 4 honestly!
byu/XxLockdownZxX incrashbandicoot

Of course, the best outcome would be to revamp Ubisoft’s open-world philosophy. My discussion might have given you the impression that I hate open-world games, but that’s not the case. I just hate Ubisoft’s version of them. I’d love to play even a Ubisoft open-world game provided it’s not the same formulaic design. The new Star Wars Outlaws game is upcoming and it’s supposed to be a fresh experience. And I genuinely hope it is.

Plus, why not have both? A renewed open world design, as well as creative games in between the AAA giants. I think that would be a great step towards Ubisoft’s redemption. And I have the best starting point for Ubisoft. Bring back Rayman in the same quality as the new Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown. I’d give anything to have a new Rayman game, and now I know that Ubisoft is capable of creating an excellent game of this genre.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown arrives for the PlayStation 4, 5, Xbox One, Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC on January 18, 2024. Early access to the game is currently available for those who pre-ordered, and a demo is also ongoing if you wish to give it a try.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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