The Rogue Prince of Persia (Early Access) review for PC

Platform: PC
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Evil Empire
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Earlier this year we saw the release of Prince of Persia The Lost Crown, which was a Metroidvania-style platformer that was really well done, marking a sort of resurgence for the Ubisoft franchise that had been on the backburner for years. Now we have a new Prince of Persia project in the works, currently available via Early Access on PC, dubbed The Rogue Prince of Persia. As the name suggests, this is very much a rogue-lite adventure, definitely in the vein of Dead Cells, which makes sense considering the development team behind this venture is Evil Empire, the same team that had been developing new content for Dead Cells for years.

Being an Early Access title, this review is in no way, shape, or form meant to be a definitive take on what the final product will be. I would consider this a review-in-progress, one that I’ll revisit once The Rogue Prince of Persia hits its full, 1.0 release. However, I will say that it does appear to be shaping up nicely. I put over 10 hours into the current version of the game, which offers six stages and two bosses, with different branching paths for the end of each stage. There are story hooks already in place, but that still has some way to go, as the game abruptly ends after you defeat the second boss. You can still run back through the game and uncover some additional secrets, or unlock new weapons/abilities if you want, but you won’t be able to make any real progression past that point until future updates.

As I mentioned before, The Rogue Prince of Persia certainly owes a lot of its ideas and mechanics to Dead Cells. Evil Empire has done well with that style of game in the past, and I have no reason to believe the same won’t be true here. The groundwork in place is already solid, controlling the prince feels great, and everything moves at a brisk pace. The boss fights are challenging but fair, built around familiar patterns that you’ll become more skilled at following after each attempt. 

The upgrade system, which is currently composed of a small skill tree with three different branches, doesn’t have a whole lot going for it at the moment, but I’m sure that’ll expand in the near future. Finally, the weapons and equipable skills you can find, which is how you’ll build out the prince for each run, is already diverse, allowing for multiple ideas on how you might want to approach each playthrough.

Visually, I’m not 100 percent sold on the art style, but I did find it growing on me over time. It’s unique, and certainly not in the same vein as Dead Cells, but I’m hoping for improvements down the road to make it pop more. As it is, I don’t hate it, but it doesn’t make the game stand out all that well in my opinion. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is great so far, and I already find myself humming some of the stage tunes when I’m not playing the game, which is generally a good sign for me.  

Right now the asking price for Early Access is $19.99. For the amount of content currently available, that might be too steep of an asking price for some, especially considering what else you can currently play in the same genre for around the same price point. However, if you do decide that you’d like to get in on the ground floor with this one, I spent about 10-12 hours with what’s available so far, and while I’ve seen the “end” of the game I know I still have additional sub-quests I can likely finish up, so there’s still more stuff to do in the game’s current state. Check it out if you’re looking to scratch that Dead Cells itch right now, or give it a few months and see where things land by then, either way I think you’ll enjoy what The Rogue Prince of Persia is shaping up to be. 

Note: Ubisoft provided us with a The Rogue Prince of Persia PC code for review purposes.

Score: 8