Completing the third chapter of “The Raven” left me with a strange inner dialogue, screaming “What the hell?” to myself. The first two chapters had previously left me feeling fulfilled and excited for the next section, mainly due to the excellent use of both interactive and cinematic techniques in creating believable, loveable characters. However, the dominant feeling left over in the third chapter was one of confusion, despite the satisfying and exciting last few moments. So what’s so different with the third?
“The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief” is a point and click adventure game, set in an Agatha Christie-Styled universe and brimming with references to its influences; from the protagonist’s features and manner of investigation (Poirot) to the names of certain characters. (Lady Westmacott, the writer…) Praised previously for a well-paced, interesting experience, the focus of chapter two switched half-through to the other side of the law, making the experience much more dynamic, if less concerned with traditional detective tomfoolery.
Once more, for the most part “A Murder of Ravens” has a fantastic story, cramming in plenty of character development and cheeky references. You play as the perpetrator of the crime in London which was the catalyst for the entire story, but only after a section playing as an unexpected accomplice. The interactions between the two are some of the best moments of the chapter, with their connection shown well through the superb voice acting, and the extra depth that their revealed plan gives really adds to the over-arching narrative. Despite the fact that you are playing as criminals, you really begin to empathise with the duo as you realise that they really aren’t as bad as other characters involved. As you progress, little things from previous chapters haunt you, such as a loose, unexplained grate and the heist itself. It’s good that the majority of loose threads are tied up through gameplay and puzzles rather than through exposition; it’s an interactive experience after all, and it does it really well…
For the most part.
Here’s the kicker though, the ending. In some ways the ending is like a punch in the gut.
It would be impossible to properly say why without spoilers, but take my word when I say that it’s something hard to see coming, yet something that, if you squint your brain and turn your head a bit, could theoretically make sense. The problem with this ending more than anything is the method of delivery.
Pure exposition, and obvious exposition at that. The final cut-scene flits from place to place introducing new information which could not really have been realised anywhere else in the game, before delivering said gut-punch with a “clever” wink. Fundamentally, out of the blue the ending seems like it’s been glued onto the game rather than fully integrated. Whilst in many respects it ends the narrative nicely with all ends tied, it is also somewhat tonally intrusive to the rest of the experience. I can forgive King Art for wanting to do something different, but I can’t help but wish they had let us play the ending rather than watch it, and been a little more subtle in terms of the final revelation.
Luckily, the puzzles felt more substantial this time around, mostly due to the simple fact that you are actively committing a burglary. The focus of the chapter is arguably a lot different to the others; it may be the same game, but it doesn’t really feel like it at parts, especially in this respect; it’s so much more rewarding. The only sour points involve an unsuccessful and arguably shallow attempt to reinvigorate the detective element, and an incredibly confusing code puzzle towards the conclusion. I mean, both of these come down to what is essentially guess-work. It could also be argued that some solutions also require extra arbitrary steps in anticipation of a bigger moment, but these felt more like a rap on the knuckles and a “No, don’t be silly, do this the difficult way instead” than anything.
The graphic style remains just as charming as it was in chapter one, with the voice acting actually improving, specifically within the “new” character, Alex. The old buggy animation returns in force however, and even reaches new lows at parts. Luckily the majority were ironed out for release, but in the beta bugs were pretty common, especially when moving between screens.
So, was “A Murder of Ravens” a fitting conclusion to the masterful mystery?
Mostly; despite being only three/four hours in length it’s incredibly fun whilst it lasts. With the tension ramped up to eleven in contrast to previous sections, it’s easy to play through in one sitting and an experience to get you thinking.
In this trilogy King Art have excelled in crafting an excellent adventure which, if a little short, can entertain from start to finish. Perhaps it’s a little buggy, perhaps it should have been released in one lump rather than three, and perhaps the ending is a bit unconvincing, but all in all “The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief” is a joy to play and easy to recommend.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.