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Review | Crow Country

The perfect offer for survival horror fans who grew up playing franchises like Resident Evil and Silent Hill

To date, 2024 has brought with it a large number of independent games that demonstrate that despite the deplorable state of the industry on the AAA game production side, the video game as a medium is healthier and more exciting than ever. Animal Well, Tales of Kenzera: Zau, Manor Lords, Children of the Sun, Pacific Drive and Balatro are just some of this year's hits in the indie space and it looks like the trend will continue throughout the year, where we will see a new game indie of success coming out every week on Steam and consoles. 

Crow Country joins the quality trend in the indie space with an experience that mixes the mechanics of the classic original Resident Evil trilogy, one of the most important franchises in the medium, along with the aesthetics that were recorded in our minds after playing Final Fantasy VII for the first time. The result is a game that brings with it an immensely strong nostalgic factor, but that also manages to stand on its own two feet thanks to fabulous execution in its mechanics and narrative.

What is Crow Country about?

The game, developed by SFB Games, presents us with a setting that will be quite familiar to those educated in the world of Survival Horror, in this case an abandoned amusement park that is very reminiscent of that legendary level in Silent Hill 3 where its protagonist , Heather, finds herself trapped in a nightmarish amusement park. Crow Country takes that concept, but instead of delving into psychological horror, the game follows more of the Resident Evil guide, where experiments that should never have been done result in the loss of facilities and human lives.

Crow Country's mechanics are a distillation of the essence of Resident Evil in each of its presentations, and the team of developers has studied the Capcom franchise carefully to understand why, despite being short, the Resident Evil games are incredibly satisfactory for players. The result of this study is a game that conjures exploration mechanics and the use of items in precise contexts to advance the narrative and also decipher the secret hidden in the amusement park of the same name.

Exploration is key and despite its small size, Crow Country feels dense enough to deliver the right experience while adhering to the genre to which it belongs. Exploring and solving the puzzles in each of the areas is quite addictive and soon you find yourself needing to find every secret hidden in the park, some are quite obvious, while others are a bit more abstract and require angular thinking, but none are ever too difficult to allow the experience to linger for long.

Combat and narrative go hand in hand

Meanwhile, the combat also adheres very closely to the combat presented in the original Resident Evil trilogy on PS1, where the mechanics are not exactly the most elaborate or intuitive, but it is this clumsiness that generates moments of tension, when you find yourself facing Faced with a terrible monster and you have only a few seconds to aim as best as possible and take advantage of the greatest possible damage from each shot. Ammunition is enough to feel comfortable, but it is limited, so eliminating every enemy that appears in the adventure is not recommended if you want to reach the end of the game with enough resources. 

Review | Crow Country

In its narrative, the game also feels like a lost game that was released back in the days of the PS1, both for better and for worse. In general, the story is quite interesting, and at least for me, the revelations to the mystery that the park contains are truly terrifying. However, the characters are poorly developed, so they offer only the bare minimum when interacting with them, and in some cases their value within the narrative is a bit in doubt. However, the entire cast of characters is well defined. 

A classic aesthetic that suits your intentions

The aesthetics of Crow Country are also quite striking, because although the game in its mechanics is undoubtedly Resident Evil, SFB Games has decided that the game should look like another PS1 classic, Final Fantasy VII, so all the characters are designed to look like this combination of polygons that lacks details and that it is up to the player to bring to life in our heads.

Meanwhile, the environments are all done in 3D, but have a finish that makes them look like rendered images, like those used in both Resident Evil and Final Fantasy during their stays on Sony's first console. 

Review | Crow Country

By far Crow Country seems like the dream come true of a fan of Resident Evil and Final Fantasy VII whose favorite area in the latter is the Gold Saucer, an amusement park that Cloud and company visit during their adventure and which is one of the most memorable from that game and whose idea also ends up working here in Crow Country, because despite having a short duration of five to six hours in that first game, the player will get to know the park from quite close up to the point that it will be unnecessary to review the map to know where to go. 

To finish combining all these elements within a package that feels not only nostalgic, but also unique, SFB Games makes use of the music of Ockeroid, composer for video games, and who is perhaps the one who manages to most closely mimic the feeling that is having grown up and played in the PS1 era.


SFB Games hit the nail on the head with Crow Country's sound work

The Crow Country soundtrack is the perfect mix between the tones of Resident Evil and Final Fantasy VII and listening to the different melodies throughout the game increases the enjoyment to another level, since it is that auditory factor that ends up transporting us to decades ago. Excellent work. 

Review | Crow Country

Speaking of the auditory factor, the sound design is also another highlight of the game, since being a horror game, what we do not see, but can only imagine ends up being what generates the most horror, and here the sound quality of monsters or even a turning pressure key can both generate the same effect. 

Conclusion

Crow Country is a great offering for Survival Horror fans as well as those who grew up playing franchises like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Final Fantasy VII, and it's even a great alternative for those who want to experience what it was like to play these classics within a much more modern context. The game mechanics are simple, but satisfying, while the music and audio truly transport you to another time and place.

Perhaps its narrative is not as elaborate as that of today's games, and although it is genuine of the time, some will remain cold before it. However, overall Crow Country is without a doubt one of the best games of the year and another strong evidence that more quality games are being created today than at any other time in history and it's exciting to try to experience as many as possible. possible. 



This review was made on PC and the code for Crow Country was provided by NEONHIVE. The game is now available on PlayStation 5 and PC.

SUMMARY

Crow Country fuses the mechanics of the classic original Resident Evil trilogy with the aesthetics of Final Fantasy VII and a soundtrack that fuses both franchises perfectly, transporting us to a time where even horror could become cozy

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Crow Country fuses the mechanics of the classic original Resident Evil trilogy with the aesthetics of Final Fantasy VII and a soundtrack that fuses both franchises perfectly, transporting us to a time where even horror could become cozyReview | Crow Country