Vane (PS4) Review with stream
Spot on sense of place
Randomly lacks direction
Clearly taking large inspiration from all of team Ico’s titles, Vane sets the player off on a similar adventure through an open world environment. A minimalistic title, with sparse detail on the environment, no user interface, and nothing that directly tells the player where to go or what to do next, the game should be a spiritual successor to the great legacy of something like Shadow of the Colossus. The question then becomes, where do things start to go so entirely wrong.
Watch our stream of Vane below:
The first thing that will be noticed when playing the game is that there is no direction on where to go; this is solved in other titles with no HUD—normally—with good level design or by trying to funnel a player into one direction. The problem here is that none of those elements are present, meaning that in a massive open world (which the player is repeatedly thrust into in bird form), there is no indication of what to do next or where to go. A fact that is compounded on by the how poorly everything runs.
There are, from time to time, items that will glimmer in the distance to let the player know that there is an interactable object in that direction that might progress the game. The problem with this mechanic is that the draw distance is roughly half the length between the player and said item. This means that the only real solution to most puzzles is to fly around massive stages in bird form until something finally pops in, as it might not have on the last pass, to clue the player towards the next step.
That problem of course, is the main issue in bird form, while in child form there are different issues as well, mainly slow down and floaty controls. The controls can be ignored, as the balance between the two forms is the least of this game’s worries. The moment that the landscape is no longer getting past, and is slowly being investigated in detail, for some reason this is when the game decides that it cannot keep a steady framerate. This is also, of course, ignoring the random soft-locks that occurred as well.
Not everything in the title is awful, as the world itself is interesting and engaging. The problem is that it just doesn’t seem like this is the console that it should have been on. The PS4 seems to struggle running the title from the moment that it starts until the point that the player simply gets frustrated and turns everything off. This feels like something that was designed for the PC, then was forced –poorly—into a system that simply couldn’t hand the settings that it was envisioned to have. The problem is that it appears that this might be an exclusive for some time, so we will never know what could true have been.
For the gamers out there that want to play an artistic game, find something else like the remastering or Shadow of the Colossus. It is possible that the problems with this title could be patched away and everything in this review could be wrong in six month’s time, but the likely hood of that is extremely low. The best course of action is just to forget about Vane and move on to something else, probably the same exact way that Sony is going to.