The Raven quite simply is an extremely cool game. There’s no other way to describe this game other than that it’s extremely cool. It does what it sets out to do, even though there are some minor hiccups along the way. This game won’t change the industry or the way we game, but it doesn’t have to. It’s simple, it’s straight-forward and it’s captivating. We were given the first chapter of three to play.
The Raven is set in the 1960’s and centered around the adventures of the Swiss constable, Anton Jakob Zellner and his attempts to uncover the true identity of a thief and murderer known as The Raven’s Heir. You team-up with Inspector Legrand who shot the original Raven and who is determined to solve this case as well.
The Raven is a point-and-click adventure game that offers minimal instructions and allows the player to diligently go about solving the case. As Constable Zellner, players search for clues or tools to help them uncover the truth about the mystery. You can then combine your items to use for a specific task or stash them away for later use. There are numerous things that you can find in the game that don’t further your progress but add levels of depth to the game for the player. The game also rewards your diligence with real life facts from that era that are extremely precise. One example being a newspaper I found with a story on famed race car driver John Surtees.
- They had fancy guns in the ’60s.
Where this game truly succeeds is with the narrative as it is well thought-out, well-explained and properly executed over the course of the story. From the very beginning to the cliff hanger ending of the first episode you find yourself completely immersed in the tale that’s being told. The characters are compelling, the story is captivating and the twists are unexpected. It’s exactly what you’d like to get out of any murder-mystery form of art, whether it be a book, movie or in this case, a video game. The character that you use in the game, Constable Zellner, is humble, cunning and resilient, but most importantly he was affable. This makes for a strong protagonist and a character that you enjoy following during the course of the game. The rest of the characters you come into contact with are varied and are each interesting in their own unique ways. They leave you with questions and the will to find out what their motivations are.
Another strong point for the game is the high quality of voice acting on display. In order for a game like this to succeed, it needs a strong narrative and voice acting, because the gameplay alone will not keep you interested. There isn’t a single character who didn’t seem to have a voice actor suited to them or who was simply off the mark. The conversations flowed and were for the most part engaging. Also, the score was, for the most part, quite beautiful. Though I did find that it was a bit repetitive at certain points.
The Raven also boasted impressive graphics, and in particular, landscapes. The characters themselves looked good but were nothing spectacular. However the landscapes were especially impressive and I found myself lingering to fully soak them in. There are two locations in the first episode of the game and both were different and well thought-out. They both were extremely detailed and it made you want to fully explore them to find out what secrets were left behind for you. The first location was on a moving train and the panorama of the mountains as the train sped by was magnificent. The second location was on a boat and the sky mixed in with beautiful water and perfect shadowing made for some very nice views.
For all the strengths of the game, there are still a few weaknesses to point out. Firstly, some of the puzzles were far too basic and I wish it would have offered a bit more difficulty for the more seasoned gamers playing through the game. I would assume that in the coming episodes the difficulty level will increase and that would probably be for the best.
Another issue was the weird gameplay mechanics that you were required to use in certain points of the game without any explanation. For example, at one point you are thrust into a game of shuffleboard with no explanation of how to play or you asked to pick a lock with no indication of how to do it. These didn’t take a long time to figure out, but added a level of frustration to the otherwise intelligent flow of the game. Also, as is typical with this kind of game, it was sometimes difficult to get your character to go the point you wanted him to.
All in all, this was a refreshing experience for me as a gamer and I hope that gamers give this 0ne a chance. I see this game fitting a very specific type of gamer and really being more of a niche experience than anything else. More games like this, that are not just generic shooters, should be celebrated and supported. The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief is available on PC and Mac.
A review copy for this game was provided by Nordic Games.
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