The Crow's Eye (PC) Review

By Greg Giddens 22.03.2017 3

Review for The Crow

The Crow's Eye is described as a psychological horror title, and indeed that depicts the experience appropriately. An eerie atmosphere achieved through excellent sound design, lighting, level design and narrative helps with a near constant state of dread and anxiety. It's a clever trick, but ultimately one that can only fool the player once. After a peek around the curtain, the whole experience loses its horror, but fortunately leaves behind an intriguing plot and set of puzzles to keep you engaged for at least one playthrough.

Exploration through a creepy medical university and its grounds, solving puzzles, finding keys and trying to escape, is the order of the day. Throughout, you'll be tormented by the head of the university, William Holtzwick, as he contacts you through the PA system, cackling insanely as the voice actor does their best impression of Mark Hamill's Joker. It's an over-the-top performance to be sure, but not an entirely inappropriate one, just not the most unique.

Meanwhile, audio tapes performed splendidly by the rest of the voice cast help bring the story to life, and well-written letters paint the rest of the narrative and do a grand job in crafting a compelling mystery of human experiments and missing people. It's a good tale that grips with its intrigue swiftly and wraps up succinctly, not overstaying its welcome, and, whilst getting quite complex near the end, also ties off all its loose threads in the final moments to a satisfying conclusion.

It's a fairly short adventure when all is said and done, offering four to five hours if you don't get too stumped on the puzzles, which very well may happen, with a couple of them stretching logic a bit far. However, mostly the puzzles are intuitive and well thought out, breaking up the exploration and item fetching elements just as they begin to grind. By the midway point, the puzzles begin to take on a Portal feel, with block moving, platforming and, in essence, teleportation playing a big part in their solutions. It feels a little odd with the 1960s setting, but low-tech enough to just about avoid breaking immersion.

Screenshot for The Crow's Eye on PC

Indeed, the exploration of the university, discovering more about the missing people and the experiments that occurred, is an entertaining journey on its own. Meanwhile, the puzzle elements do a great job in adding variety to the gameplay. However, it's the psychological aspects that really impress. For the first half of the game, every noise and chord from the particularly creepy soundtrack puts you on edge. The dark rooms and corridors of the university are scary to explore, with only the flicker of light from your lighter helping illuminate the way. Doors opening and creaking, and the thunder roaring outside, force you to stop and listen for threats or spin round frantically trying to glimpse what might be lurking in the dark.

The old, dilapidated university and its scattering of audio tapes and letters hint at horrors that occurred within its labs, and every new piece of information adds more fuel to your nightmares. Furthermore, a crafting system that initially teaches how to create health items puts thoughts of danger in your head. There's an expectation of foul creatures and grim deaths in your future, and, without spoiling it, what you end up facing plays on these expectations brilliantly on your first run through.

However, the adventure doesn't end up lasting long, and once completed and the surprises revealed, there's no incentive to return. It has one trick up its sleeve and it's crucial to the experience; once revealed, there's nothing left. Fortunately, the clever design of the experience is a delight to uncover and the compelling story spins an enjoyable tale while it lasts.

Screenshot for The Crow's Eye on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The Crow's Eye cleverly designs a spooky atmosphere that then plays on your expectations wonderfully. Furthermore, an intriguing story that's gradually revealed through well-voiced audio tapes and well-written letters helps build up expectations even more. It certainly lives up to its claim as a psychological horror, but one that will only put you on edge the first time through.

Developer

3D2 Entertainment

Publisher

Nkidu Games

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Greg - did you have any issues with the controls, or it pushing your graphics card hard? I had to adjust the speed of the cursor movement to make it much slower as it seemed far too jumpy/jittery on its default setting...and I think perhaps I need to upgrade from my GeForce GTX 770 as there was something my computer didn't like, and I presume it's the card as I've got a good spec i7 PC.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

It does sound pretty graphically intense... A few of the team had to turn this down because it seemed unlikely to run!

Ran smooth as butter for me at 1080p, although like you said Adam, the mouse movement was pretty sensitive and needed adjusting. I found my system handled 1440p fine but 4K was just a bit too much for my graphics cards. I tried it on two different systems, one rocking at GTX 980 Ti and the other an RX 480, and both ran it terrifically with high setting across the board as long as I stayed away from 4K.

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