Every 3D Prince of Persia Game, Ranked From Worst to Best

Prince of Persia The Two Thrones

Prince of Persia is a storied franchise featuring an incredible combination of parkour, platforming, and combat. While the series first debuted in 1989, it’s a little hard to find the original games these days so this list is focused on the 3D entries in the franchise. The franchise has offered some incredible storytelling with a good balance of platforming and combat that has had a profound impact on modern action platformers.

With Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown taking the series back to its 2D roots, let’s take a look back at the franchise’s most iconic entries. Here are the best 3D Prince of Persia games ranked from best to worst.

Prince of Persia 3D

<p>Ubisoft</p>

Ubisoft

For what it’s worth, I had a blast playing this game before I could critically think about the medium. Prince of Persia 3D, like any first 3D installment in a 2D franchise, stumbled through a lot of building blocks. The game’s frustrating controls and claustrophobic atmosphere didn’t help, and it’s clear to see how hard it was for developer Mindscape to figure out the franchise’s transition from 2D to 3D. This is easily the worst in the franchise when played today, but it does have some charm and remains an important stepping stone in the evolution of the Prince of Persia series.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

<p>Ubisoft</p>

Ubisoft

When it comes to Prince of Persia games, The Forgotten Sands lives up to its name by being one of the more unmemorable adventures. The game was released at an awkward time and was hastily put together to combat the middling reception to the 2008 reboot. Oh, and the game was developed to be a tie-in for the Sands of Time movie, and we all know how that’s never a good idea.

Still, by bringing the aesthetics of the classic Sands of Time trilogy back, The Forgotten Sands has its fair share of fans. The game’s big weakness though was the lack of innovation, a focus on repetitive combat, and a story that lacked the charm of the original trilogy. The game’s story was sandwiched between The Sands of Time and Warrior Within but felt tonally disconnected from those games, ending up looking like an HD imitation of better games.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

<p>Ubisoft</p>

Ubisoft

The Warrior Within is seen as the black sheep of the franchise, but it still offers plenty of good combat encounters and a cool story involving time-loops. The game is certainly the most detached from the franchise with its personality, with writing and presentation that seemed to have been the result of an edgy teenager’s ramblings in the mid-2000s. Featuring plenty of heavy metal and an intensely mature tone, Warrior Within hasn’t aged gracefully.

The island of time offered plenty of map variety, and the time loop was utilized in smart ways to unlock new areas. Featuring a far darker story with some heart-pounding sequences thanks to the villainous Dahaka, Warrior Within puts the unnamed Prince in a precarious position where he challenges destiny itself. The game featured multiple endings, and it was fun to play through the challenging combat thanks to the Prince’s more stylized, and gory, attacks. It certainly features the most fast-paced combat in the trilogy, with a slice first, ask questions later attitude.

Prince of Persia (2008)

<p>Ubisoft</p>

Ubisoft

The franchise was rebooted in 2008 with a much more stylized art style, a new unnamed Prince, and a lively world that strayed a little too far into fantasy land. The platforming and combat difficulty were paired down, and the game lost a bit of focus by offering a somewhat open world. Instead of having the sands of time, the Prince could now rewind time thanks to the magical abilities of Elika, a new female lead. There is one good thing about it though - the redesigned art style inspired by cel shading and hand-drawn animation. It took some years but the game has finally found its fans and is now regarded as an underrated gem.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

<p>Ubisoft</p>

Ubisoft

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time revitalized the franchise with an interesting narrative structure and an instantly recognizable cast of characters. Learning from the failures of Prince of Persia 3D, The Sands of Time told a timeless love story paired with art direction that still holds up to this day. The rewind mechanic of the dagger of time became a staple of the trilogy and opened up new possibilities in platforming sections.

The titular sands of time were also a big part of combat, requiring players to capture the sand from fallen enemies to clear combat encounters. This mechanic was dropped from its sequels, which is a shame because the simple system made combat more challenging even if the Prince’s moveset was simple. The upcoming remake may be stuck in development hell, but you can always go back to the original which runs flawlessly on modern PCs.

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones

<p>Ubisoft</p>

Ubisoft

The Two Thrones was a near-perfect conclusion to the Sands of Time Trilogy. The game learned the right lessons from the failures of the previous entry, with a more uplifting and fantastical tone. The Dark Prince was utilized well by bringing more traversal and combat options to players, and the game struck a good balance between the two. With the Vizier back from the dead, and a new Farah oblivious of the first game’s events, this game pulled on all the nostalgia strings hard but with some good twists.

The Two Thrones also features bigger levels and some great boss battles. The final game in the franchise (before being rebooted) was a huge inspiration for Assassin’s Creed, a series that started development as the spiritual successor to Prince of Persia.

Except for PoP 3D, all other games on this list can be bought on Steam and the Epic Games Store for cheap. The franchise’s latest entry, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, goes back to the series’ 2D roots and is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch consoles.