[PlayStation 4] Vane Review
Vane from indie Japanese studio Friend and Foe has finally landed on PlayStation 4. Learn more about this anticipated release in our Vane review!
Vane starts during a massive storm that is tearing the whole area to pieces. As lighting strikes left, right and all over the place, and as large pieces of the floor and the structures around you are sent flying into oblivion, you take control of a boy all dressed out in black and blue that is carrying a mysterious objects in his hands. As you take control of the kid and run towards a large structure on the other side of town, you must avoid the lighting strikes and the dangerous pits created by the storm. In the end you, unfortunately, meet a large dark entity all decked out in black that sends you flying down the stairs, only to be engulfed by the storm.
Youâ€™ll then find yourself in control of a black bird in a rather polygonal, colorful, and minimalist world â€“ it is then that your true journey begins, and adventure that might be an issue for some players. Vane favors exploration, and the game is not going to be holding your hand. Other than being told you can press the X button to fly around as the bird and speed up, and that pressing the Circle button will allow you to slow down and perch the bird on top of the beams you might find here and there in the desolated area you will be exploring, you wonâ€™t be told what to do or where to go.
This is an issue since you might find yourself flying full speed ahead in one direction thinking youâ€™re doing the right thing only realize minutes later that there is nothing there to help you bring you closer to your goal. In other games you might get a gust of wind that is animated in a way that you realize it is actually pointing you where you need to go. Or perhaps you will see some local flora that is arranged in a particular way, or fauna that is moving towards a lake or something. In Vane, none of that exists, so you can probably get an idea of how your gaming session(s) are going to be.
If you do end up finding your way, as you explore the area you might notice some small metal arch-like structures here and there. Slowdown enough to have your bird perch up on it by pressing and holding down the Circle button, and after a few seconds of standing still in that spot you will be treated to an Assassinâ€™s Creed like sequence where the camera pulls up and you get a glimpse of the vast area that surrounds your rather small black bird.
Speaking of the camera, this is something that is going to prove to be an issue during your time with the game, both when flying and when on foot – more on that in a bit.
For some reason, when flying the camera decides to move around from one side of the bird to the other, not allowing you to focus on the path you are flying through. Since the camera can be manually moved with the right analog stick, and since pressing the X button over and over again is needed to gain maximum flight speed and speed up the process, that means you canâ€™t move your bird around, speed up with the X button and place the camera just right to make the whole thing less of a chore.
And this is all without even talking about the sections during which you transform back into the child that you to play as during the prologue sequence. During that sequence, the boy tumbling around and not being able to run particularly well sort of made sense since there was a nasty storm going on and that would stress anyone to the point of forgetting how to properly walk.
But once the game throws you into its more laidback side of the equations, the sections with the boy feel too slow for its own good, monotonously repeating the same issue as when youâ€™re playing as the bird: you have idea of where you need to go or what you have to do to progress, so you will find yourself aimlessly walking, very slowly, and then realize youâ€™re going the wrong way. Oh, and the boy sometimes drops to the ground and stops moving for no reason. This made me think I had found a weird bug or something, but it turns out the boy just does this every now and then.
Itâ€™s all a shame since Vane looks great, has a good soundtrack that feels very different from what youâ€™d expect to hear in a game like this, and all the previews I had seen of the game made me anticipate playing it for my review. In the end, things just come together but donâ€™t end up clicking, so we are left with a game that is too cryptic for its own good, with a camera that has a mind of its own, and gameplay mechanics that are not very enticing.
This Vane review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Friend and Foe.