I just spent six hours with part one of a brand new video game called The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief -- a point-and-click whodunit game that just came out three days ago on Steam.
In this series, you never have to wait for my opinion: in this case, chapter one of The Raven -- a.k.a. the Eye of the Sphinx -- was fantastic and I am eagerly awaiting the release of the second chapter later this summer. In fact, this game ends with a behemoth of a cliff hanger.
But is it right for you? Well let's find out.
What Is It?
The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief will be a three-part point-and-click title that embroils you deep in the lives of people intimately involved in the investigation and capture of a world-renown jewel thief known as The Raven.
Some time before the events of the game, The Raven was being investigated by a French inspector known as Nicolas Legrand -- an investigation that concluded when Legrand shot The Raven while chasing him through Paris. For this, Legrand received international acclaim -- yet he never feels comfortable with the way things ended.
Now, the world is once again fixated on the criminal underworld as a copycat criminal has stolen a priceless jewel from a British museum.
In this episode, you play as a Swiss constable who is assigned to help guard a train bound for Venice. In the wake of this Raven-esk copycat crime, the famed Nicholas Legrande himself guards a second and equally valuable gemstone as it is transported aboard your train for a special exhibition at a museum in Egypt.
The game was developed by KING Art and distributed by Nordic Games. I haven't played any of their other titles, but KING did publish The Critter Chronicles.
If you're not into cutscenes and storyline, this game is not for you. Some of the cutscenes run several minutes, but they're never preachy or overly full of exposition.
- The musical score is wonderful. At no time did I find it annoying and The Raven is one of the few games I've ever played where I didn't even turn down the volume of the background music. Adding to that, the voice over work was flawless. Everyone was absolutely believable and well cast for their parts. Aces across the board.
- The diary is well designed and full of good details and no spoilers.
- All the hot spots disappear after you are finished with them.
- There's a very quick mini tutorial at the beginning, however you can skip it if you so choose.
- The game is chock full of suspects and the needle of suspicion shifts back and forth between them quite often. This makes the game even more consuming as you find yourself regretting your earlier suspicions only to acquire them again within the hour.
- Your job is to help solve a crime, so the "puzzles" don't ever really feel gamey or artificial. They blend well into the storyline.
- There are a handful of mini-games that break up the point-and-click nature of the game, some of which are very unique and creative.
- Graphically, it's a mixed bag. Some sprites and models were designed better than others. But what I can say is that atmospherically speaking, the game looks gorgeous. There are reflections in glass and in hardwood floors. The ocean looks real and there are a lot of little nuanced touches in closeups.
- This episode ends with a cliffhanger of epic proportions. I was so astounded that by the time I remembered to pick my jaw up off the floor, my mouth had run out of spit. At first I was actually surprised because of how short it seemed, but I had to remind myself that this was part one of a triad of games. This chapter lasted me six hours meaning the game as a whole should be in the neighborhood of 18 hours -- in my humble opinion, well worth the investment.
- There are times when the voices and the animations don't sink up. Occasionally, the character will say something like, "there's no one in there" and then open the door to see if there's anyone in there. There are also times where he'll do a pre-scripted double-take but because you clicked on the dialog to move everything along, he's just moving for no reason. All of this is rare, but you will notice it from time-to-time.
- Moving about can be a little complicated depending upon how cramped the quarters are. Also, once in motion you can't change direction until your character lands at his spot. This can be annoying at times.
- So, when I first got this game, it had some game-crashing glitches that revolved around clicking on things while walking. However, earlier today there was a patch and immediately afterward I tested the same spots and found them to be fixed. So, while I think it's important to mention it, the game is fully playable. But just to be safe, be sure to save your game after a major development or a particularly lengthy interrogation.
- At the end of the episode, you'll receive a "score" -- which seems to have no bearing on anything and looks like it was added as an afterthought. The only way it could be valuable is if it included not only how many secrets you did find but also how many secrets you didn't find. Sadly, it doesn't -- so it's just a seemingly arbitrary number.
- Finally, I did notice at the end that in the "extras" section under soundtrack, one of the songs from the game can be clicked on but doesn't actually play anything.
While some fans of point-and-click adventure games may cringe at the linear and less than creative puzzles of an offering that sits on the border between game and interactive movie, without question the storyline, plot, characters, and settings make this a must-play title for those of you who enjoy whodunit mysteries.
I fully plan to play the other two and will do videos for them accordingly when they come out. The second episode -- Ancestry of Lies -- is scheduled for Tuesday, August 27, 2013 and the third -- A Murder of Ravens -- will be out at the end of September. I'm also considering doing a final spoiler review after I've played all three.
But should you buy this title? Well, only you can decide that. Hopefully this video will help.
However, let me leave you with this. From now until next Tuesday, July 30, 2013, this game is on sale on Steam at 10% off. And, like I said earlier, after the update they made this morning, it appears as if all the bugs have been worked out.
If you have any questions I didn't answer, leave them in the comments below and I will answer what I can.