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CROW COUNTRY

Written By:

Chris Jackson
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PLATFORM: PC, PS4/5, XBOX SERIES (REVIEWED) | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

A throwback to early PS1-era survival horror games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill (minus the tank controls, thankfully), Crow Country quite fittingly sets its story in 1990 where special agent Mara Forest is investigating an abandoned theme park whose owner has gone missing after the park. By working her way through the park Mara uncovers the reason for its untimely closure, culminating in a finale that ties things up beautifully and leaves little room for disappointment.

Two game modes are available, with “survival” filling the place with deadly traps and shambling monstrosities. In survival mode, you’re given a handful of weapons to help deal with the menagerie of grotesque creatures (known as Guests) who try to murder you at every turn, and careful exploration rewards you with a few upgrades to make things a bit more manageable. As you progress further into the park, the traps become more devious and tricky to deal with so staying alert is a high priority, keeping things nicely tense as you try to figure out the slightly wacky puzzles that require some trial and error as well as a fair bit of backtracking through the various sections of the park. If you’d prefer an easier ride, “exploration” mode removes all of the hazards completely and allows you to concentrate on solving the park’s mysteries without any other interference.

Retro horrors are ten a penny these days, but very few manage to pull things off quite as successfully as Crow Country. It really nails the 90s survival horror atmosphere while still feeling quite unique due to its toybox aesthetic, and the gameplay is suitably old-school without being purposely awkward or cumbersome. At 5-6 hours for a full playthrough, it isn’t the sort of game that demands weeks’ worth of attention – it’s the sort of thing you could easily tackle over a weekend, which is always an enticing proposition. More of this sort of thing please!

 

stars

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