Release Date: 4/12/2012
For Fans Of: Crows, Scarecrows, On-Rails Games
Available Exclusively On
The Good: Stunning visuals, cinematic on-rails gameplay
The Bad: Paper-thin story, health and magic sharing the same meter is blasphemy, no checkpoints during boss fights, judging incoming projectiles is hard, shallow exploration
Crow is stunning to look at and that is what you will notice when you first start-up the game. The second thing you will notice is that you’re playing a freakin’ crow. Crows are bad-ass and I have never played a game where I was a crow. I can tell the developers really spent some time making the game look good, but they should have spent even more time making the gameplay deeper.
There are four parts to the game. Each part has an overhead area where you fly around and collect diamonds to tell you more about the story and to add skill points. You can use those points to speed regeneration of magic, take more damage etc. Once you fly over “interesting” areas they will appear and you just touch them. That is as far as exploring goes in this game. I would have liked to see a huge open world and make this a full on RPG, but all we get is a sample of what this game could possibly be. Once you collect a certain amount you can enter the boss fight which is an on-rails swiping section that can get down right hard and frustrating.
Your life is your magic as well. That right there was a bad idea. When you magic orb flashes yellow you can use it to either give yourself a shield or attack an enemy. You must be quick because you will fly right by them, but you can come around later and try again. However, judging incoming projectiles is really tough which means frequent deaths. If you get hit with something you can’t use magic and it shrinks the orb. You die when the orb is depleted, but there are yellow orbs all over the place that will quickly regenerate this. Why these two very important elements share the same meter is beyond me but it was dumb. You get scored based on what you collect, damage taken, and how fast you did it. At the end of each boss you can choose to save them or curse them, but overall it doesn’t affect the outcome of the paper-thin story.
When the game acts right it is enjoyable and beautiful to look at. The crow is nicely animated, but I found the enemy animations to be stiff and robotic. The end boss is just absurdly difficult with no checkpoint so if you die (in one hit mind you) you have to start all over again. Crow is a very original game, but just has too many flaws to be what it wants to be.
Overall, Crow is a gorgeous game with interesting gameplay, but falls flat due to too many design flaws and shallow exploration. This game could have been so much more, but instead the developers seemed to have chosen the fast way out.