After a couple of years in development, the highly anticipated Vane has finally landed on the PS4. Find out if all the hype was worth the wait in our Vane review!
The story kicks off in what feels like an apocalyptic storm, with parts of the ground flying off. You’re controlling what seems to be a woman, running around with a baby in her arms, trying to find shelter. After finding your way around you will finally see a house, but are denied access inside, and end up stormed away with your baby. Right after that, you are presented with a bird and the indication to press the cross button, and this will be the start of your mysterious journey.
The game will be played from a third person perspective, no matter what form your character is in. You’ll start off as a bird, but will eventually be able to transform into a child that can walk around the endless lands of the game. When you start flying around as the bird you are in some kind of huge desert, with a couple of ruins here and there. That’s all you have, and you’ll be told nothing more. You just have to fly around, in any direction, until you find something, anything. The game doesn’t give you any indication on where you should be going and what you should be doing, so you have to pay close attention to all the details as you fly around, or else you could end up flying for a long time before being able to progress in the game.
A bit further in, when you are in child form, the experience will evolve into something that involves some light puzzle solving, such as finding levers and that sort of stuff. Being a game that’s all about giving you a unique experience and atmosphere, I found that the puzzles were breaking the immersion and didn’t add much to the overall experience. And in the same way as the bird sequences, you’ll have to try yourself at going in some directions to try to find what do to, often leading to some backtracking until you find the right way.
Visually though, the game is incredibly beautiful, having a look that is comparable to the remake of the Shadow of the Colossus. The incredibly huge landscapes were a feast for the eyes, and when you’re flying as the bird, you could almost feel the wind through its feathers. I would’ve appreciated a bit more sound during those bird moments, as the game was mostly silent. I understand it was probably wanted that way because there is absolutely nothing around you, but since you can be left off flying around for quite some time without knowing what you need to do, a bit of ambient music would’ve been appreciated.
After seeing the previews for this game, I thought I was going in for a great experience that would tell me a story without the necessity of dialogues – something like the great Journey or the outstanding Flower. Instead, I ended up flying around for way more time that I would’ve wanted, simply because I had absolutely no clue what to do. This game is the total extreme opposite of what a linear game can be. You know nothing, you are given no hints and can end up losing a lot of your gaming time just trying to find what to do, because the right place to go can be anywhere around you, at any distance. By the time I finally got to transform into the child, I was already frustrated by the experience, as I could’ve gotten to that same point in a quarter of the time it took me if I had just gotten lucky and guessed the right way to go.
I understand and respect the sense of freedom that the developers wanted to give when they made it this way. I truly do. But in the same way that I hate when games can have you restarting a section over and over because of some random thing, I also hate it when you are given absolutely nothing.
As far as trophies are concerned, if you can get through the frustration of not knowing what to do, the list will at first seem to be fairly straightforward to that new Platinum trophy, but over half of the trophies are missable, so you’ll need to be aware of that. With the game being about exploration, you have to reach specific locations, that are hinted at by the trophy descriptions, so if you pay attention you will be on your way to unlocking that shiny trophy.
Developers Friend & Foe wanted to give freedom to the players with Vane, and on that aspect, they succeeded. Unfortunately for me, this also became a major disappointment, as there was maybe a bit too much freedom to properly lead me through the story and through the experience it should’ve been. Add to that the game’s price tag, and I’d suggest passing on this one.
PSN Price: $24.99
This Vane review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Friend & Foe.