THE RAVEN: LEGACY OF A MASTER THIEF
Chapter One: Eye of the Sphinx
PC – Available on Steam
With already one Eye of the Sphinx jewels stolen from the British Museum, the other is transported by the Orient Express to Venice, to then travel by ship to Egypt to feature at a new exhibition in Cairo. But will the jewel get there in one piece? Swiss constable Anton Jacok Zellner makes it his mission to assist Inspector Legrand on the case, despite the Inspector’s wishes. After all, with his love of crime novels, Constable Zellner sees himself as a bit of detective and knows that he can help discover the identity of the new Raven.
THE RAVEN: LEGACY OF A MASTER THIEF is a single player, point-and-click mystery adventure game from King Art and Nordic Games, and is a relatively enjoyable whodunnit game for the PC. In the first chapter, entitled Eye of the Sphinx, we are introduced to over-the-hill, balding Swiss Constable Zellner, and the handful of characters on the Orient Express. You only need to look at Zellner with his little moustache and the fact he is travelling on the Orient Express to conjure up images of Agatha Christie’s detective, Hercule Poirot. The game seems to be inspired greatly by murder mysteries, with Zellner even mentioning how much he loves his crime novels by author Lady Westmacott, who’s also travelling on the train. Westmacott was the name in which Agatha Christie wrote under for her romance novels. Although there’s no murder on the Orient Express, there’s plenty of mysteries to try and uncover in the first half, and a murder to investigate in the second half of the chapter.
The gameplay is quite simple and straight-forward but due to its strict-linear path, certain objects or people must be interacted with before opportunities appear. This can sometimes leave you scratching your head as you exhaust all options and have to sweep a series of 5 locations to speak to a character or interact with an object you may have overlooked in order to continue with the game.
In Chapter One, you play as Constable Zellner and the majority of the gameplay involves talking to characters to glean information from them, or interacting with objects. Some objects can be picked up and used on other things, such as a hairpin used to open a locked door, whilst other objects need to be combined together with another in your inventory or in the location to achieve the goal and continue. At the start of the chapter, there is a handy tutorial that introduces the picking up and combining of items, which is a rather simple task of left-click with the mouse and cursor dragging.
The game is quite dialogue heavy and is also subtitled, so if you wish to speed the conversation up, you can skip the audio chat by clicking the left mouse button to skip to the next dialogue conversation subtitles. The game allows you to choose what to ask next, but in most cases, all the options are needed to be click and asked in order for the game to progress, meaning your choice of question or answer will not have a direct impact in the game’s conclusion, unlike other games.
Whilst there are a couple of mini games and puzzles, including a game of Shuffleboard and manipulating wire for a door lock, the gameplay is a pretty simple click and interact, though there are times when common sense is needed to combine items to create a useful object that Zellner can use.
The story starts out quite light but gets its teeth stuck into the murder mystery soon enough, and whilst Zellner is no Poirot, he sure is an inquisitive creature who’s itching to prove his detective skills, just like the gamer controlling him. The game is perfect for any age, but in particular the older generation or those who enjoy the tranquil point-and-click adventures or fancy themselves as a murder mystery solver.
Points are accumlated from finding clues and solving certain scenarios, that culminate in a total once you’ve completed the chapter. The points can also be used to receive hints or point out hot-spots – interactive items you may have missed. Like a good hidden object game, after clicking the obvious objects, you sometimes cannot see others that blend in so this becomes quite useful if you get stuck.
The graphics are glorious, with the characters personality evident from the design and perfectly-cast voice-overs. The locations are equally as mesmerising, taking the player from a typical imagining of the Orient Express, to the sunshine and sea air of the cruise ship.
Like a good novel, the game ends on a cliffhanger, awaiting for the next Chapter to explain all. The game creators have cleverly decided to release the game’s three chapters a month apart, with Chapter 2: Ancestry of Lies recently unlocked on 27th August 2013. The third and final part, Chapter 3: A Murder of Ravens, launches 24th September 2013.
The game is fully compatible with the Xbox controller for Windows, although there’s no real need to play with a controller, with the mouse easiest to use and suitable for all the gameplay tasks. Steam offers achievements with the game, which can be unlocked during your progress. Most achievements are fairly easy to complete, whilst others require your own ingenuity outside of the linear-gameplay to find all the clues.
The first chapter is rather short at 5 hours long, and if the other two chapters are equal in length, then you can expect no more than 15 hours gameplay from this game. However, it’s an enjoyable one, and like a good Agatha Christie novel or film adaptation, the THE RAVEN: LEGACY OF A MASTER THIEF gets you involved and as much a part of the case as Zellner.
Watch out for the second part of our review of THE RAVEN: LEGACY OF A MASTER THIEF, where we’ll discuss Chapter 2: Ancestry of Lies.