Developed by KING Art Games, and following on from their trend of creating Adventure Games, comes The Raven – Legacy Of A Master Thief. Consisting of three individual chapters that make up the detective adventure, you take control of Constable Zellner as he unwillingly becomes caught up in a dangerous jewel heist.
When one of the legendary ‘Eyes Of The Sphinx’ is stolen by a thief thought to be The Raven, a long-dead master criminal, the authorities are baffled. In retaliation, the police launch a mission to protect the other remaining gemstone, and ensure its safety while being transferred to a Cairo exhibit. The game begins with the player taking a ride on the Orient Express, unknowing of the trains current cargo, and the danger that is lurking. From what starts off as a slightly interesting, if not extremely cliché-ridden story, it soon enough slows down to a halt, leaving the player bored from the minute you enter gameplay. With what could easily turn into an Agatha Christie style detective adventure, the story takes a U-turn and ends up feeling dull very quickly, and only peaks player interest towards the very end, after a 3/4 hour playtime.
Speaking of Agatha Christie, it must be noted that Zellner’s resemblance to Hercule Poirot is uncanny. Not only does he look very much like him, he also acts similarly, and a result makes the character very unoriginal. This could be forgiven however, if the character was anywhere as interesting as the character that inspired it, but unfortunately it is the complete opposite. Zellner is unlikable, not through his behaviour, but through how one-sided his character. There just simply isn’t enough depth to him that makes him of any interest to the player, becoming detriment to the overall game. Having a difficult to like protagonist is crippling for any medium, but for an Adventure game, it is criminal, and this game really pays for it.
Unfortunately, the rest of this games cast suffer similarly to Constable Zellner. They are very uninteresting, and this is mainly down to the games very simple dialogue, and so-so voice acting which while it does its job, is far from award winning. The amount of times I found myself chuckling at the blatant stereotyping and corny dialogue was too much to count. The acting is certainly not this games forte, which is hugely problematic, especially as you will spend most of your time speaking to the games characters to gather information.
Perhaps my biggest complaint with this game is how painfully slow it all is. And this isn’t just from a narrative point of view either; the gameplay is very slow too, with animations being very stiff and primitive, making exploring the games many locales a chore. Zellner manoeuvres around like a confused pigeon thanks to the animation quality, of which is nothing short of bad. Animations don’t blend into each other, thusly losing fluidity, and tarnishing the games presentation. Characters often fumble about when making very simple moves and I couldn’t count the amount of times that animations were imprecise and characters clipped through objects and the surrounding environment. Fortunately though, the graphics are pretty good and the environments are at least attractive.
From a gameplay standpoint, this game doesn’t redeem itself. As mentioned previously, the player will spend most of their time interacting with the games wide array of characters, picking different topics of conversation to aid in Zellners investigation. Having to sit through countless instances of bad voice-acting is frustrating; more so when the dialogue isn’t up to scratch and is as basic as ever. When not conversing with NPC’s, the player will partake in traditional Point And Click gameplay that involves the exploration of environments, picking up and using objects, and general puzzle solving. All of this is very much your run-of-the-mill gameplay, but it at least does its job and is the most solid aspect of the title. This isn’t to say it is perfect though, as some puzzles are very tedious, as is the gameplay as a whole. Solutions to some of the games many puzzles are convoluted leading to mass frustration, and the games locales are not well enough signposted. Players will struggle to find objects within each scene, and it is always unclear as to where the character may move around to, and what can be entered. As you would expect, this is annoying, and the game would be significantly improved if this was worked upon. Luckily however, there is a hint and highlighting system included with the game, which adequately services the player. It’s all good that this helps, but the player shouldn’t have to rely on this to progress through the game, something that the player may be forced into using a lot more than they hoped.
The only part that is genuinely surprising (but not developed enough) are detective-like activities such as lockpicking and forensics which provide a nice change to the monotonous gameplay. I enjoyed these parts quite a lot, but I was severely disappointed by how lacking they are throughout the entire first chapter. I really do hope that these aspects peek their head out much more frequently than they do here, as they increased my enjoyment of the game significantly.
It’s a shame that The Raven feels so stale because this title has potential. However, with the low-end production, boring dialogue and a disinteresting plot, the game fails to reach the heights of the Point And Click games that came before it. Even as a massive fan of this genre, it is really difficult to recommend The Raven. Who knows, maybe the game picks up in the following chapters, but my gut feeling tells me that this is a case better left closed.
- Nice 3d environments
- Hint and highlighting system works well
- A couple of nice detective activities…
- …But not enough of them!
- Boring dialogue
- Uninteresting story
- Tedious gameplay
- Unlikeable characters with cringe worthy voice acting.
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.