Vane (PC) Review

By Renan Fontes 08.08.2019 1

Review for Vane on PC

Few games open as intensely as Vane does, thrusting control onto its audience in a world ravaged my extreme weather hazards. Not only does it make for a memorable set piece, it immediately immerses players in dying, twisted world. While there's certainly an emphasis on visual storytelling, Vane seldom takes control away, ensuring that the experience is driven primarily by the player. For a title as meditative as this, a clear understanding of the video game medium is only a bonus.

Where the prologue features a controllable human, something standard and easy to control simply by feeling things out, the main game immediately switches control over to a bird. Movement that was once terrain based becomes open ended and freeform - something that comes off like a tonal necessity after the bombastic opening. This segment is deceptive, however, as it gives audiences the implication that the rest of the game will be played as the bird. This is almost overwhelming after a certain amount of time, since the opening is so directionless. Getting lost is surprisingly easy, given how much of the world blends together at first.

The bird's controls are also fairly tricky to get used to. Whereas the human character moved and interacted with the world naturally through simple, instinctive controls, the bird is more hands-on, and comparatively demanding. All things considered, controlling the bird ends up fairly simple with time, but needing to build up flaps, slow down, and turn mid-air can be a lot to take in at first. Fortunately, control does swap back over to a human character, and switching between the child and the bird becomes a natural part of gameplay. Puzzle solving and exploration take on more nuanced layers when the child and bird work together to offer more solutions. More importantly, the different playable character models offer different perspectives.

Screenshot for Vane on PC

Vane's world may not necessarily be lush, but it is vibrant and memorable. Dark, almost crushed blacks, are used to display far off landmarks. It makes for an ominous sight when traversing the sky. At the same time, while the sky offers a greater field of view, it doesn't allow the player to sink into the world's minutiae. Playing as the child, however, offers a much more intimate perspective; one that also puts the scale and scope of the world back in place. The bird might be the smaller model, but it feels almost larger than life at times, given how much of the world it can trivialize. The child lives in the environment, on the terrain, allowing the tone to ebb and flow between characters. If nothing else, the multiple perspectives certainly help bolster the atmosphere.

Narratively, there isn't any dialogue to speak of. The entire plot is left up to interpretation, relying on visual storytelling and symbolism to convey the main events of the game. While vague stories can often come off tiring or aimless, Vane does an excellent job at using the world around it in order to move the plot forward. Even with the lack of dialogue, it all manages to culminate in a surprisingly emotional experience. All that said, the title isn't without its share of issues: most notably, the camera. While playing as the bird, it's incredibly easy to lose control of the camera and derail. While the child is much more manageable in this regard, it's never fun to get the bird steady only to ultimately lose control due to a turn gone slightly wrong.

Pace-wise, the opening is a bit on the slow side as well. Playing as the bird for the first time makes for a very interesting set piece, but it also takes quite a while to get through, especially for players who wind up lost. In an already short experience, spending so much time at the very beginning is bound to dampen morale. That said, Vane is so visually and mechanically cohesive that it's hard not to fall in love, faults and all.

Screenshot for Vane on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Aside from occasional camera troubles, Vane stands out as one of the most immersive titles of 2019. Whether exploring the world as a child or a bird, the visuals masterfully blend together in a beautiful environment worthy of exploration. In relying on visuals instead of dialogue, players can form a deeper appreciation for the world around them - one open to interpretation. Vane is not a particularly long adventure, but it's one that'll leave audiences reflecting long after the credits have rolled.

Also known as

Vane

Developer

Friend & Foe Games

Publisher

Friend & Foe Games

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

Comments

Love the visuals

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

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