Review – The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief

By: Louis Edwards

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The Raven has finally been unleashed upon the PlayStation Network and is now available Worldwide across multiple platforms.

Is this a mystery worth solving? Read our review to find out.

Set in the atmospheric Europe of the 1960’s, The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief is a fast-paced point-and-click adventure sending players through tense scenes as they race to catch the legendary art thief, The Raven. Players follow the Raven’s trademark black feather clues as they struggle to capture the thief and protect the legendary sapphire, the “Eye of the Sphinx”, on its journey from Switzerland to Egypt.

Jakob Zellner

Jakob Zellner

The Raven takes us back to a time when modern investigative techniques were still forming and your main investigative tool was observation. The game starts out on the Orient Express and is a throwback to the Agatha Christie style of mystery telling. You play as Swiss Constable Anton Jakob Zellner, an older gentleman who has a very keen sense of deduction. Zellner has been tasked by his superiors to assist a world famous Interpol agent, Inspector Nicolas Legrand. Legrand was made famous by his tracking down and fatally wounding the master thief known as The Raven. Legrand isn’t 100% sure he shot the right man, and is afraid the real Raven isn’t through with him just yet.

Inspector Nicolas Legrand

Inspector Nicolas Legrand

Adventure games are generally story driven, and if the story isn’t all that great, the game will suffer immensely. The Raven doesn’t have to worry about that since its story is top notch and worthy of the Agatha Christie comparison. The writers understood how to create a mystery, and executed the story quite well. This being an episodic title, with three episodes in all, cliffhanger endings on the first two leaves you hanging off the precipice and eagerly anticipating the next installment. Lucky for us all three episodes are included in the PlayStation Network bundle so we could dive right into the next episode immediately. Each episode should take you at least four hours (or more) to play through and completionists could easily double that.

Gameplay is a point-and-click style of play that really could have benefited from the PlayStation Move controller. You control Zellner in a 3D world where a magnifying glass icon denotes items that can be investigated. There are several characters that you’ll encounter along your way, and each has their own back story. These stories can aid you in your investigation, so be sure to talk to all of them. A true detective will look at anything and everything in order to assess the situation and aid in their investigation, so feel free to look at everything and talk to everyone.

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Character development is key to great storytelling, but isn’t always an easy task within the constraints of a video game. The writers for The Raven did an excellent job in creating characters that you can have genuine feelings for. These feelings can range from an overall feeling of likeness, to a foreboding feeling of dislike, that might make you want to have the ability to punch a character in the nose. Different branches or countries of law enforcement historically haven’t gotten along, and you can feel the tension between them at many points in the game. It is this character development, which builds over time, that aids in these moments of tension and/or awkwardness.

The game isn’t perfect, and you’ll probably get frustrated on more than one occasion when Zellner seems to wander aimlessly instead of going straight to where you want him to go. While his movements look great, his path doesn’t always seem to make sense and will add a few seconds of time to your gameplay on more than a few occasions. Camera switching can be frustrating at times too, due to Zellner switching directions, so if you don’t take your finger off the analog stick you’ll get stuck in a camera switching loop. There’s also a point while on the train where you’ll literally be fumbling around in the dark due to power failure, with very little light to assist you. While solving puzzles is a fun thing to do, trying to solve them in the dark can be more frustrating than fun.

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The puzzles themselves are simple, for the most part, but don’t mistake simple for easy or simple to solve. While there isn’t anything too elaborate, most will require some thought, as well as trips away from the puzzle itself to gather more information. These puzzles can seem so entwined with the story that you may not even realize you are working on several puzzles at once. Zellner keeps a handy-dandy notebook (press Select to access it on the PS3) so confusion can be kept at bay quite easily.

The graphics for the game are very nice. Nothing ground breaking or Earth shattering, but are easy on the eyes and pleasant to look at. Each level is designed well, and for a somewhat open world, traveling from one area to the next only requires just a small amount of load time. Characters are well detailed and range from plump to curvy and young to old. The audio for the game reminds me of some 50’s style of TV shows, with a soundtrack that ranges from light and lovely to up-tempo and comedic. The music sets the ambiance for each area nicely and adds to the overall enjoyment of the game.

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The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief is a fun game. If you’re tired of fragging your way through a wasteland somewhere, maybe it’s time to take a break and go for a nice cruise or train ride. What’s the worst that could happen? Murder?

Well done Nordic Games, and thanks for giving us all three episodes at once on the PS3. I hate waiting.

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