Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
- DAILY REVIEWS -
The Crow's Eye Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Much like BioShock and other similar games, the best thing about The Crow's Eye is the storytelling. Although the setup isn't especially original, it ends up going in a few crazy directions I didn't see coming. It has an instantly compelling setting that is full of creepy moments and over-the-top characters. Of course, you've seen a lot of these elements before, but that shouldn't keep you from getting to the bottom of this mystery. Just don't expect a lot of scares. Rating: 78%
The Crow's Eye
«
The Crow's Eye The Crow's Eye The Crow's Eye The Crow's Eye
  • Review Score:

  • B+
In more ways than one, The Crow's Eye is deceptive. You start out thinking it's going to be just another first-person horror game set in an old abandoned building, but that ends up not being the case at all. What could have been full of jump scares and evil monsters is actually a thoughtful and stirring game about exploration and discovery. And just when you think you have it all figured out, everything gets flipped on its head and you realize that this story is not what it appears.

Although it's a little unclear at first, The Crow's Eye tells the story of a silent man who has decided to break into a mysterious university to find clues to the whereabouts of his missing father. It has been a couple decades since the two last spoke, and our hero suspects that something sinister may have happened in the now-abandoned building. This theory gains traction as he learns that other people have been reported missing, and he fears that one of the scientists may have something to do with these disappearances.


In a lot of ways, The Crow's Eye reminds me of a combat-free version of BioShock. We're exploring a university that has seemingly been vacant for a number of years. Something horrible has happened here and it's clear nobody has gone through to spruce up the place. We spend most of our time wandering the halls looking for letters and voice recordings that will help fill in the gaps and shed light on a scientific conspiracy. And, occasionally, we'll get helpful advice from somebody who seems to have a working knowledge of the building's layout. The story may be unique, but the way it's told will be familiar to fans of Ken Levine.

But unlike BioShock, The Crow's Eye has a real emphasis on puzzle solving. It starts out with the usual locating keys and finding safe combinations, but quickly moves on to pushing crates and crafting useful items. At one point, we're able to construct an electromagnetic device that can manipulate objects and be used like a grappling hook. This opens up what we're able to do in some fun ways and makes it feel different from most games in the genre.

When we're not using our electromagnetic powers to pull objects and fly past bottomless pits, we're forced to deal with a bunch of first-person platforming sections. This is where the game began to fall apart for me. We're able to slow down time and jump farther by using a boost syringe, but most of the sections involve leaping from one moving platform to the next. First-person games are rarely good at this style of action, and The Crow's Eye is no exception. Even with the boost, I found that the jumping wasn't always responsive and landing is often imprecise. They also repeat the same ideas in these sections a few too many times, to the point where it sometimes felt like filler.

For as compelling as the story is, it's a little frustrating how familiar everything feels. Between the puzzles, creepy locations and audio logs, you'll recognize a lot of the tropes found in The Crow's Eye. Even some of the twists felt like they were ripped out of other games. The good news is that I rarely noticed this, since the pacing is quick and it's always good about throwing you into a new section of the sprawling university. It wasn't until I finished the game and pondered its mechanics that I began to notice the similarities. Of course, by that time I had already wrapped up a truly fascinating story with a sinister ending.

The Crow's Eye (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Oddly enough, my main complaint has little to do with the originality or platforming sections, but rather the voice acting. Don't get me wrong, most of the cast does an excellent job, but the amount of hammy overacting involved with one character had me rolling my eyes. The game's main villain seemed to be doing his best impression of the Joker, which is almost laughably bad at times. It's the kind of performance that would feel right at home in one of those Arkham games, but not here. It turned a menacing character into something of a cartoon.

That performance is one of the few issues I had with the presentation. I generally liked the look of the university and found a lot of it to be incredibly spooky. The fact that there are so many interesting locations to explore also helped, as did the simple yet effective score. And again, most of the voice acting is fantastic, which helped me enjoy the dozens of audio logs scattered around the campus. This is a good looking and sounding game, and there are some truly disturbing moments that are heightened by the art direction.

Much like BioShock and other similar games, the best thing about The Crow's Eye is the storytelling. Although the setup isn't especially original, it ends up going in a few crazy directions I didn't see coming. It has an instantly compelling setting that is full of creepy moments and over-the-top characters. Of course, you've seen a lot of these elements before, but that shouldn't keep you from getting to the bottom of this mystery. Just don't expect a lot of scares.
comments powered by Disqus