Imagine starting a game where there is no storytelling to explain who you are and what you are doing. Imagine walking through this metal wasteland that is being ravaged by lightning and wind as you proceed down your path. You make it to the only open doorway, where everything is immediately dismissed, and then all is wiped out. Welcome to Vane and this is our review.
From publisher Friend & Foe comes a game that is unique in its complete lack of in-game story, and entire periods where you don’t know if what you are looking at is a glitch or meant to be there. What do I mean? When we open the game, we are immediately introduced to a character with no introductions at all. It is up to you to quickly learn what your controls are and then try to make your way in a direction that you hope is correct. Thankfully with the massive storm destroying metal plates left and right, you will figure out the right and wrong ways to go. After you are rather quickly dismissed from the only building on your path the game goes black as if you were washed away by the storm. Suddenly, and with no explanation, you are sitting on a tree branch and you take control of what looks like a crow. You begin flying around and have absolutely no clue as to what you should be doing.
While spending the first twenty minutes trying to figure out where to go with the bird only to find out I was flying in a completely wrong direction, you finally figure out where to go. After that, you find a huge weather vane that seems to move when birds are on it but there aren’t enough birds to do anything with it. What next? I will tell you what, you fly around in random directions until you see the smallest of sun flares off of metal weather vanes around the map, and some of them are quite a distance off. This is a bit frustrating in itself, but somewhat satisfying once you have figured out what to do. After getting enough birds collected and sitting on this ancient piece of metal, then it breaks and some sphere item falls to the ground below and all of a sudden there is a puddle of light. You fly down to investigate and are met with a new game mechanic, you turn back into the person you started the game with. Basically, from there you see areas you need to walk to and you progress the story.
So no story aside, as you progress through the game there are no specific save points, and you just save automatically as you reach a new area. This is highly frustrating for a person who plays RPGs all the time. It is even more frustrating when a game breaking bug hits you and you fall into a set of stairs and are stuck inside of the rock formation with no way out. The only way out is to quit to the main menu and then load the game back up. Once you load the game back up you find out that all of the hard work you just put in is now gone and you will need to do it again. I don’t know about many of you but when this happens in a game I am usually very turned off by said game and quit it and never go back. I was about three hours into the game (as far as my game time for trying to figure it out) and I lost about 40 minutes of discovery time in doing this.
One of the saving graces of the game is the very open and unique landscapes and the music that was added into the game. These things alone will not make me continue playing this game though. I wish I had not encountered so many issues on my first playthrough. It is a little disappointing to be sure. I think a little more time and product review should go into a game like this before hitting the market.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on the PlayStation 4 with a code provided by PR.