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Rogue Prince of Persia Review

The Rogue Prince of Persia has made its debut on Steam Early Access, albeit in an incomplete form. Developed by Ubisoft in collaboration with Evil Empire, the studio best known for the acclaimed Dead Cells, this game sets out to blend the classic elements of Prince of Persia with modern roguelike mechanics.

A Clever Twist on Time-Loops and Roguelike Mechanics

Given the franchise’s history with time manipulation, transitioning Prince of Persia into a roguelite feels like a natural evolution. Evil Empire’s expertise with roguelites makes them a fitting choice for this venture. However, the current early access build showcases solid technical execution but falls short on imaginative depth.

Story and Setup

The setup introduces us to the titular Prince as his homeland is invaded by Huns wielding shamanic magic, easily overpowering the Persian defenses. Armed with only a Bola that lets him rewind time, the Prince faces a relentless cycle of death and retry. Each failure yanks him back to the beginning of the invasion, providing the framework for the roguelite experience.

The current build offers only a glimpse of the story, barely scratching the surface of the first act. The narrative primarily revolves around finding supporting NPCs who, while invested in Persia’s fate, prefer to offer moral support from base camp rather than join the fight. The characters are stereotypical, and the writing lacks humor and emotional weight, making the story feel safe and formulaic.

Gameplay and Mechanics

From a gameplay perspective, The Rogue Prince of Persia shows promise. The combat and movement mechanics are fluid and engaging, reminiscent of Dead Cells. Players can vault over enemies, kick them into each other, and perform flashy combos with a mix of melee and ranged weapons. The wallrunning mechanic, which allows players to traverse surfaces in the background, adds a unique layer to the platforming puzzles and enhances mobility during combat.

One standout feature is the seamless flow of movement and combat. For instance, you can dodge a boss’s attack by running along a wall, counter with a ranged weapon, and land smoothly without breaking momentum. This fluidity, supported by slick animations, is a highlight and bodes well for the game’s future development.

Areas for Improvement

Despite its strengths, the game currently feels more solid than exciting. The enemies, bosses, and puzzles lack distinctiveness, and the biome selection feels unnecessary due to the lack of meaningful differences between them. This is a stark contrast to Dead Cells, where each area felt unique and challenging.

The game includes a variety of weapons and a complex badge system for buffs, which are standard for roguelites but don’t add much excitement. The weapons feel too similar, though the badges add a bit of chaos and flavor.

Comparison and Final Thoughts

While The Rogue Prince of Persia offers a competent roguelite experience, it struggles to stand out in the crowded genre. Its combat engine is its main strength, but it lacks the originality and creativity needed to make a lasting impact. The recent release of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, a more polished and imaginative game from the same franchise, further diminishes the appeal of this early access title.

On its own, The Rogue Prince of Persia is entertaining and has potential. However, to achieve the same success as Dead Cells or The Lost Crown, it needs to take more risks and innovate beyond genre conventions. This first run has shown promise, but for future iterations, the game must unlock new tricks and push the boundaries of its formula.

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