The Rogue Prince of Persia

Hands-On Preview: The Rogue Prince of Persia

The Prince of Persia is alive and well!

One of the oldest action franchises was reinvigorated early in 2024 with The Prince of Persia: The Lost CrownWe didn’t know it then, but that was just the beginning. The game was unveiled at The Triple-i Initiative, but I was lucky to get some hands-on time with the upcoming new title, The Rogue Prince of Persia. 

Ubisoft invited Console Creatures to get a glimpse of the story and the opportunity to play the opening 30 minutes of the game.

Setting Up The Rogue Prince of Persia

Ubisoft tapped Evil Empire to develop The Rogue Prince of Persia. If the name seems familiar, they brought us great DLCs for Dead Cells, including Return to Castlevania. It’s a rare move for Ubisoft to go to an exterior studio, but it already feels like a great decision.

The story and demo started with a brief cinematic showing the Prince’s city being pillaged. With his skills and… unique ability to revert to a hub location.

This is not the same Prince we played in The Lost Crown; this is a standalone story and experience. It’s a 2D action-platformer embracing the ever-popular roguelite genre within the Prince of Persia franchise. I’ll say that from the start, it felt like a natural direction to take.

The hands-on session didn’t give me a great chance to experience the more long-term rewards and loops, so how that works and how rewarding that will feel remains to be seen.

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The game’s mechanics felt familiar yet new at the same time. There are several melee weapons, such as two daggers, a giant hammer, a spear, and projectiles like the bow, arrow, and chakram.

All of these had their feel, delivering some variety even in the early stages of play. I experimented with all of the above weapons, even getting a chance to upgrade them occasionally.

Upgrade paths are very reminiscent of what you find in Dead Cells. You can buy them with coins you’ve collected from enemies, or you might come across some in your travels, as you’ll have to choose from two different options. It works in one franchise, so why not bring it into another? I like this mechanic, and it feels well-suited for Prince of Persia.

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Fights themselves are fast but methodical. You’ll be equipped with a melee, ranged attack, dodge, and kick. The sword and shield-wielding mercenaries pack quite the punch, so I had to think about my maneuvers carefully. Timing is paramount here, as moves are fluid but not instantaneous.

This slower but more meaningful approach didn’t feel natural at first. My muscle memory had me reacting to a different flow and feel, but after just a few encounters, it felt more comfortable. I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of moves, and I anticipate stringing together a more extensive arsenal of swift acts further into the game, creating even more fun.

Tricky Traversal

Returning to its roots, The Rogue Prince of Persia uses challenging traversal to anchor the core of its gameplay. This time, there is an added element of precision to remember.

The Prince can wall run any direction, helping you reach far-reaching areas. With a pull of the left trigger or L2 button on your controller, you’ll dash and be able to string together combo jumps. This move can be used anytime, whether populated with enemies or in the challenge rooms that put your Twitch skills to the test.

It’s another mechanic that took some getting used to, but once I did, I found this new move added some unique fun.

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Steve Vegvari and I also discussed our experience with The Rogue Prince of Persia on our podcast Creature Cast. Please hop over to the show to hear a breakdown of our thoughts.

The game will hit Early Access on Steam in May and continue developing with tweaks and updates. Evil Empire and Ubisoft say while changes from the community and player feedback will happen, the core gameplay will not change before its 1.0 release.