Vane Review: A diamond in the rough

In the shadow of artistic games like Journey and Abzu, it’s somewhat hard to make a place for a game with extremely similar elements. Regardless, Vane sets out to shine a new light on the artistic game genre.

While it’s definitely walking (or flying) the same path of games in this genre, Vane’s intriguing storytelling and unique elements make the world that much more intriguing.

Bird boy

Vane is a short adventure through a semi-open world where you play as a boy with the ability to transform into a bird. The story lasts about 5-6 hours for a normal playthrough, but has plenty of mystery to go back for and discover.

Whether or not you think its worth it to go back is up in the air though.

Attention grabbing

The game’s introduction is epic, but is quickly overshadowed by terrible camera issues. These issues haunt the game just as much as the looming figures you meet throughout your journey.

During the introduction alone, the camera would get stuck on multiple world objects forcing me to change my view point to continue running. It also has a bad habit of clipping through the world.

On the surface, the game has a uniquely beautiful art style, but when these major issues break Vane’s immersion right away leaving a bad taste in your mouth.

Close up

After the intro I had so many questions, and I was excited to set out to find some answers.

Sadly, after setting off on my flight I was greeted with more camera issues. The game automatically zooms the camera in and out based on where you are in the desert, presumably to give the game a cinematic feel.

It doesn’t work at all.

Rather than giving the game a cinematic feel, it ends up intruding on the gameplay. Perching on landmarks is extremely painful due to the harsh movements of the camera when it’s zoomed in onto the bird.

Flying in general becomes a pain as the controls just don’t feel at all fluid.

I can put up with some clunky controls, but the incredibly zoomed in camera at times makes normal navigation painful.

An evolving experience

Once you finally complete some fairly simple puzzles and begin to play as a boy again, the game transforms into what I had initially hoped it would be.

The camera issues disappear for the most part and the game begins to reveal more of its world. It gets really interesting really fast.

As you continue to discover more that Vane has to offer, you become even more entranced in the world. While it definitely has some pacing issues, the world building is spectacular.

A slow walk

The game is by all means a walking simulator (or a flying simulator at times), but that comes with this genre of game so whether or not you like that is up to your preference.

Vane stumbles at times though due to its slow pace. At points in the story, mainly at the 3/4 mark, I had some issues with the games pacing.

When I had these issues it felt like the game hadn’t properly explained what needed to be done. I understand that Vane isn’t going to tell me how to do anything directly, but I ended up lost at some points due to the game suddenly changing its mind on what it wanted me to do.

A soundtrack worth of the world

It’s fairly obvious that Vane has a beautiful world. Its graphical style is all its own, and gives the world a simplistic beauty that matches the ominous world all too well.

What the game also has is a breathtaking soundtrack. For the most part, Vane is silent. You only hear the ambient sound of the world around you, but when Vane decides you need to pay attention it sucks you in with some on of the best fitting soundtracks so far in this early year.

Vane’s synth soundtrack is spectacular at giving the game a ton of emotion, depth, and intrigue. Every time the soundtrack plays the game becomes even more immersive then it already is.

Rough around the edges

Vane’s performance left some to be desired. FPS was extremely unstable during my initial playthrough in larger areas such as the desert, and while it was improved a little through a patch it still was fairly inconsistent.

I also had one major bug that forced me to lose about 30 minutes of progress.

Vane doesn’t have any manual saves and its automatic saves are spaced extremely far apart at times.

After playing in an area with saves set far apart I experienced a glitch which forced the boy to freeze in place. I wasn’t able to walk, turn, or use any actions. I was forced to restart the game which set me back a good amount of time.

Dying to be seen

What troubles me is how great I feel Vane could be with a bit of polish. If the camera were fixed, the bugs were patched up, and controls were polished the game would would be a spectacular experience. Sadly, those issues exists and drag the game down a bit.

While I feel that Vane is game worth experiencing due to its extremely intriguing and immersive world, at the price of 25 dollars its a hard sell.

If you really like these type of games, you’re sure to love the experience that Vane offers, but if you haven’t tried a game like this before, maybe pick up Journey to test the waters first.

Disclaimer: A review code was provided to us for review purposes.

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