Charming But Riddled With Technical Issues
Originally released back in 2013 on Steam and a year later on PS3 under the name Legacy of a Master Thief, The Raven Remastered is a charming point and click murder mystery game held back from being a great title by a host of issues. Sticking firmly to the formulaic tropes you’d expect from the murder mystery genre, this 12 hour adventure is certainly fun to play but a plethora of technical and graphical issues are difficult to ignore in an otherwise enjoyable game.
The voice acting during large dialogue exchanges are generally very good
Set in 1964 London, the story begins in the dead of night with a thief stealing a priceless jewel under the noses of British police in a museum. Leaving behind a single Raven feather, it’s revealed the thief may well be the infamous raven burglar that run amok years before. It’s quickly revealed that the stolen jewel happens to be the Eye Of The Sphinx – a set of two stunning reg gems that together hold unbelievable wealth. With one already in the clutches of The Raven, the story shifts forward to follow Swiss police constable Anton Jakob Zellner on board a train housing the second eye being transported to a museum in Ciaro. From here, the story sees you take control of the constable and navigate various environments, piecing together clues and and talking to people in order to progress the story forward.
The story itself has a slightly unconventional format with the climax and potential reveal of who The Raven is occurs at the end of the first episode. What follows is a step back in time as you take control of the antagonist, revealing how and why they’ve set out to steal the jewels before coming full circle to the cliffhanger ending at the final moments of the first episode. Although this format is a clever one, there are moments, especially late on, where the game feels needlessly bloated because of this but for the most part the story has a good flow to it, even if it is a little formulaic in the way it’s told.
It can be difficult to pick out individual items in cluttered enviroments
The controls are easy to pick up and learn with a prompt popping up on screen for various characters and environmental items to interact with by pressing X. Across the 3 chapters, there are puzzles that do require a fair amount of logic and trial and error that may frustrate those expecting a more straight forward mystery game but help to flesh the game out all the same. Early on in the first chapter you’re required to piece together various issues on board a train including who stole one of the passenger’s handbags. These opening hours are used to get accustomed to the control scheme and adjust to the methodical pacing. There are cleverly placed moments here where mini-games are used to try and break up this largely unchanged formula but predominantly most of the play time will come from exploring the environment and interacting with various people.
Exploration comes in the form of static environments broken up into various scenes within the area separated by a short loading screen between each one. Initially this isn’t too much of a problem where the areas are straight forward but late on you’re required to constantly traverse back and forth between multiple areas and this can be a little irritating. The slow movement speed doesn’t help either and coupled with the clunky control scheme really shows the age of this dated point and click adventure game. This may well put some people off expecting a more fast paced, immediate experience and isn’t helped by some jarring, awkward character animations. In some of the more cluttered scenes, it can be a little difficult to line your character up to face certain items and this can cause needless frustration too, especially during some of the more tightly congested areas.
There are a host of graphical glitches here that is a little disappointing
It doesn’t help that The Raven Remastered features a host of graphical and technical issues that detract from the experience. Textures pop in and out at random intervals, items don’t quite line up to your character’s hands and facial animations coupled with lip syncing is wildly inconsistent. It’s a shame too as the voice acting is generally very good all round and really helps bring some much needed emotion to the scenes.
How much you’ll enjoy The Raven really comes down to how familiar you are with the original game and how invested you become in the story. With a host of technical issues plaguing the game, The Raven relies heavily on its storytelling and voice acting, nestling itself within the point and click adventure genre with little deviation. The story is ultimately well told though, albeit a little formulaic in delivery and as a charming throwback to 1960 crime thrillers, The Raven nails both its environment aesthetic and mood. In an ever evolving world of interactive storytelling, The Raven is a nostalgic throwback to a bygone era of games like Monkey Island but there’s just too many technical issues here to overlook this otherwise well written adventure game.