I don't even know where to begin with reviewing this game. I guess you can compare it with Journey or Abzu, but it wouldn't be fair to those two games.
Vane tries to emulate those games, the feelings you experienced while playing those games, but it kinda fails on the execution. The game performance is really choppy and at times so janky that it takes you out of the experience.
At the start you play as a young boy, I think, holding some sort of relic in the hands, traversing what looks like the end of the world. Some sort of calamity is happening, but you don't know what or why. Then you come across a bigger humanoid figure with a plague doctor mask which screams at you and you die.
Loading screen and now you play as a crow...OK, where you can explore a large desert area, find and rally some other crows to perch on some metallic things which cause another metallic thing to fall and spill the gold it had inside so that you, as a crow, can transform into a boy... OK.
It doesn't make sense or at least I did not understand the meaning behind Vane's story. I did guess the twist and the ending before it happened, but even after the credits roll, I was trying to find out what the game was all about.
Maybe it was about sacrifice, maybe it was about what it means to be a hero or maybe it was about the cyclic nature of the universe like the serpent that is eating his own tail. Again, I don't know what the message was or still is and if you do, please comment it down below.
Going back to the janky feeling of the game, flying as the crow feels good, but as soon as you pick up some speed, the camera zooms in for some reason and instead of seeing the beautiful untextured world, you have a big black crow on half of your screen. The jankiness continues when you try to land or perch on an object, it's difficult and the camera doesn't help. What makes matters worse, especially during this part is the lack of direction.
You can fly, but you don't know where you should go or what you can or should do. Later, as the game gets more linear and you are more on foot than in the sky, you are "guided" to where you should go.
While the tech used in the game, especially later in the game, to generate terrain and alter it is kinda unique and intriguing to play around with and to see it happen, the performance is not good. I played the game on a PS4 Pro and the frame rate is all over the place. A game like Vane, I believe, should be silky smooth from start to finish but unfortunately, it is not the case. The frame rate is all over the place and the game crashed a couple of times, one time it crashed while I was trying to rally the final group of crows to solve a puzzle and well, I had to redo the whole flying sequence again from the start.
And... now I don't know how to close the review. Vane has some cool tech when it comes to the terrain generation and I can give points to the overall aesthetics and sound design of the game, as it's an atmospheric decrepit world and you are seemingly just a small part in it. But the story, gameplay and choppy performance undermine what could have been a really awesome experience. Thanks for reading!