The intense adventures of the video game universe’s favourite prince are back with a new title release in January 2024 —Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown.
While most can’t wait to play it, some of you might be wary about jumping into a series with so many prior entries. This makes sense. It’s no fun if you’ve missed half the story.
As the new title is a reboot, though, there’s nothing to worry about. In fact, Prince of Persia might be the most rebooted gaming franchise of all time.
That is, outside of Final Fantasy, whose whole premise is a reboot with every new title.
But even with the new game providing an entry point, is there a best place to start with the Prince of Persia series?
The franchise has been around for over three decades and has over 10 games. We reckon now is a good time to look back at the many Princes of Persia games.
‘Prince of Persia’ games in release date order
Let’s take a quick look at all the Prince of Persia games in the order they came out. Playing them in this order has a nice sentiment because you’re watching the games evolve over time.
It’s also how those who have been fans since day one experienced the series. So, if you don’t mind retro gaming, we recommend starting with:
Prince of Persia (1989 | Apple II, with later ports)
Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame (1993 | DOS, Mac OS, SNES)
Prince of Persia 3D (1999 | PC, Dreamcast)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003 | PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC)
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (2004 | PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC)
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (2005 | PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC)
Battles of Prince of Persia (2005 | Nintendo DS)
Prince of Persia (2008 | PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Prince of Persia: The Fallen King (2008 | Nintendo DS)
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (2010 | PS3, PSP, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360)
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown (2024 | PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Switch, Amazo Luna)
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‘Prince of Persia’ games in chronological story order
As we’ve said, the Prince of Persia franchise reinvents itself with a new setting, and a new prince, so often that there isn’t an overarching narrative over the whole series.
However, there is a trilogy that certainly does follow a continuation in the middle. So we still recommend playing the games in the aforementioned order. In any case, let’s take a look at the complete series in more detail.
Prince of Persia
The game that started it all back in 1989 might feel like a regular platformer, but the use of rotoscoping for character animations gives it a unique look. For a game that’s over 30 years old, it still looks beautiful today, thanks to the flowing movements of the prince.
Players take control of an unnamed protagonist as he attempts to thwart an evil wizard’s plan. The combination of platforming and combat provides a nice variety and lays the blueprint for what’s to come.
Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame
Taking place almost immediately after the first game, The Shadow and the Flame ramped up the combat and made the prince the swashbuckling swordsman we know today. He often takes on four enemies, unlike the one-on-one duels in the first instalment.
There’s still plenty of platforming, though, and the storytelling is vastly more intricate than the first. The game ends on a cliffhanger which, sadly, was never resolved. The third in the planned trilogy was scrapped.
Prince of Persia 3D
The first entry in 3D dropped in 1999 on the PC and was later ported to the Dreamcast. With tank controls, it’s nowhere near as fluid as later titles (or previous ones, come to think of it), but it has a certain charm. Think of one of the old Tomb Raiders in Medieval Persia.
The gameplay is a complete reboot (the first of many in the series), in which we take control of a new prince in a new, dire situation. Imprisoned by the sultan’s brother, he must fight, sneak and, of course, jump his way to save the princess.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Here is where a new generation fell in love with the Prince of Persia. The Sands of Time was a game-changing release, with its funny story and narration, beautiful environments, fluid combat and exploration, and the nifty ability to rewind time when we messed up.
This reboot is the first incarnation of a prince that would star in an epic trilogy that defined an era.
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
We wouldn’t recommend playing these 2010 releases between Sands of Time and Warrior Within, but chronologically that’s where they lie. They fill in the seven-year gap between these two games, chronicling the same prince’s escapades in that period.
You might have noticed we’re using the plural, and that’s no mistake. The Forgotten Sands has multiple versions, all with separate stories and gameplay. The PS3, Xbox and PC versions are considered the main ones, but the Wii release is a different game entirely. As is the PSP and DS version.
So, while this is technically a few games in one, we’re considering it a single release. If you have the time, give them all a go (they’re all pretty fun).
But we recommend playing the original trilogy first. Speaking of which, let’s get back to that…
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
The second in the Sands of Time trilogy did what many sequels do: it got darker. The grim tone and excessive violence weren’t to everyone’s taste, but the combat – especially the boss fights – made Warrior Within a solid title.
Set seven years after Sands of Time, the weary prince embarks on an epic quest to change his fate. He’s not as likeable as in the first game, and his amoral attitude paved the way for God of War’s Kratos a year later. Still, the gameplay remains excellent, even if the subtle tone of the first is lost.
Buy on Steam.
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
The final game in the Sands of Time trilogy omitted the grimness of the sequel and brought back the wonder of the first. In The Two Thrones, the challenging puzzles of Sands of Time make a return. While the combat was still there, that was never what the Prince of Persia franchise was about.
This prince’s final adventure has a satisfying conclusion, and it’s a joy to play.
Battles of Prince of Persia
This DS release, much like Forgotten Sands would later do, tells a story between Sand of Time and Warrior Within. The gameplay sets it apart from other Prince of Persia titles, in that it’s a turn-based tactical game. Not the most memorable, but worth a go if you have a DS lying around.
Prince of Persia
The franchise jumped to the next generation with the 2008 reboot, simply titled Prince of Persia. Incorporating open-world elements, and a beautiful art style reminiscent of Okami, this Prince is unlike any of the previous games.
It feels like playing Zelda or Shadow of the Colossus at times, the majestic views drawing us into the rich world and lore. If you’re playing through the series, don’t miss this one.
Prince of Persia: The Fallen King
The only game set in the continuity of the 2008 reboot, this Nintendo DS title doesn’t go the route of Battles of Prince of Persia. It’s a 2D platformer – much like the classics – in which you control either the prince or Zal using the stylus. The controls can be a bit finicky, but we still reckon it’s worth a go.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
And we’re suddenly at the present day! It’s been a long hiatus for the prince, but he’s finally regenerated in the shredded form of Sargon. (Even if he’s technically not the prince, he’s the protagonist of Prince of Persia.)
With elements of Metroidvania, The Lost Crown takes the series back to its 2D roots. With combat, puzzles and traps galore, it keeps to the series’s themes while bringing in the new.
The visuals look stunning, too, with bosses and views to take your breath away.
Like 20 years ago, Prince of Persia has reinvented itself not to fit into a current trend, but to to lead a generation.
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This story first appeared on www.radiotimes.com
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