Reviews - Updated on April 10, 2022

Vane’s debut trailer, shown during the PlayStation Experience 2016, looked chic. Even though the game looked like another attempt by indie developers to make their own Journey, the visual component of the project instantly captivated. Vane seemed like a beautiful adventure in the spirit of Ico and The Last Guardian, which would hardly be as memorable, but at least could brighten up the evening and leave a pleasant aftertaste.

mind blowing boredom

However, during development, apparently, something went wrong. The game can really amaze with its views, including in the starting location, where, as a boy with some valuable thing in your hands, you run to the tower and try to get into it in time. Lightning flashes all around, from which the floor is destroyed, a strong wind blows small trash to the sides, the camera sways as if everything will really collapse soon. The guy almost gets to the right place, goes to the door, but an unknown force stops him.

Suddenly we find ourselves in a completely different place and fly over the desert in the form of a raven. Here and there there are ruins and tiny pools, but there is nothing else around. What do we have to do? The game does not explain in any way – think for yourself. After several minutes of aimless flights, the task becomes more or less clear, but just throwing a player into such a vast territory is clearly not the best game design decision.

Vane consists entirely of such episodes – you go somewhere (or fly in), understand that this is not a tiny room, but a rather large location, and start solving “puzzles”. There would be nothing wrong with this if the game at least somehow designated the objects with which it is allowed to interact, but it does this only half the time. For example, if you need to push a ball, it will surely glow. But the perches and planks that a raven can sit on are not marked – you have to try everything on your own.

It is clear why this was done. The reason is not the desire of the developers to make you think or look for logic in the world they created. They wanted to stretch the gameplay – if you know what to do, you will be able to complete the game in about an hour and a half. And those who cannot quickly find all the solutions will have to spend in the region of two or even three hours. At the same time, at no time does the player feel smart, cracking down on local puzzles, because he is just trying to do something with objects scattered somehow. If you’re lucky, you’ll move on.

Vane game review

As a game, Vane is so-so, but the screenshots are excellent.

The hero doesn’t have many abilities. Raven can only fly, accelerate, stop in the air and scream. In the form of a boy, he only runs, grabs objects with his hands and also screams. To turn into a bird, he just needs to jump from a high platform into the abyss, and he will automatically transform. The reverse process is possible upon contact with a mountain of golden sequins – what it really is is not explained in any way.

Fight game

Both appearances of the protagonist have a common feature – the camera is completely inadequate in one case and in the other. I don’t remember the last time this element annoyed me so much, but it’s as if no one has ever tested Vane – as they assembled, they sell it. When the character becomes a bird, the camera literally drives into its tail, instead of hanging far behind the raven. It is painful to turn around because of the clumsy control, and even aiming at the desired bar is sometimes even a big problem – it doesn’t always work out the first time.

With the boy, things are a little better until you find yourself in narrow corridors or start running along the walls. In these situations, the camera “sausages” for several seconds: it shakes, quickly approaches and moves away, climbs out of the map and demonstrates what the player should not see. Not to mention the fact that the guy himself is very clumsy – even a small pebble can stop him, and when he jumps off the platform, it is rarely possible to predict exactly where he will land and whether he will roll. And it is not always clear whether he will be able to jump over a small gap between the platforms or not.

In addition, Vane is full of bugs, even after installing the latest patch. Sometimes the game does not react to your actions – if you need to use a shout to solve the puzzle, sitting in the form of a bird on a beam, in some cases nothing will happen. It is worth taking off and landing on the same point again, when suddenly everything will work. Turning into a boy, I once got stuck in the floor – due to lightning and wind, the environment is sometimes destroyed, and the guy fell into one of the holes formed in the middle of the passage without the ability to get out.

Vane game review

Frames are annoying at first, but you have to put up with their presence.

At that moment, it became clear that the trip was not worth it. There is no point in fighting the camera, solving idiotic puzzles and looking for logic in what is happening. As well as there is no sense in the “story” that the developers are trying to tell. Everything here is built on symbolism, but what is the use of these images and allusions if they are not helped in any way to understand? Judging by the description, we are unraveling the secrets of the long-disappeared inhabitants of the deserted lands, but what does it have to do with birds that turn into people, and vice versa? The authors do not want to explain it, and the player has no desire to understand.

It’s a shame that the picture in Vane is magnificent, a lot of effort has obviously been put into the creation of the world. In the middle of the game there will be an episode in which the boy needs to push the ball from one location to another, and when approaching ruins and destroyed bridges, the ball will restore buildings. It all looks fascinating – I didn’t even roll the sphere along the path, but simply moved with it from one corner to another in order to once again look at this beauty. But even here the game regularly stumbles – the frame rate in these spectacular episodes sags so often that it completely destroys the excellent atmosphere.

Vane reminded me of Bound, another contemplative game with beautiful effects and a story told without words. Gameplay-wise, it was far from outstanding, but I rarely had any complaints about it. It also offered breathtaking locations, picturesque sequences with fantastic music, a mysterious plot, but it was also understandable and enjoyable to play. Vane, on the other hand, is like a game whose development was restarted a year before the release, which is why almost everything in it is poorly done.

One of the coolest episodes that can even be remembered.

***

The problem is that no Vane patches can fix it. Even if the camera becomes as comfortable as possible, the frame rate will stop falling at every turn, and the bugs will disappear, the game will remain the same beautiful dummy. In some episodes, she becomes like Journey, in others she suddenly starts to look like Inside, but she is infinitely far from both of these games. She tries to draw attention with her appearance, but the impressive effects and atmospheric deserts are not able to hide the problems with the storytelling and logic.

Pros: mesmerizing locations; good music.

Cons: inadequate camera; what is happening is not explained in any way; all riddles turn into a “guessing game”; short duration; bad optimization.

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