Nordic Games has just released their newest point and click adventure game in The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief. Part one of a three part story, The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief takes much of its inspiration from novels by Agatha Christie – even beginning the story aboard the Orient Express. Using the tried and true methods of the point and click adventure game genre, The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief tries to tell a story of burglary and intrigue, but ultimately fails to be an immersive experience and ends up being mediocre at best.
The story of The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief is by far the game’s strongest point. Set during the 1960’s, the game begins aboard the Orient Express as three law officers are transporting a gem towards its final destination in Cairo. The law officers are laying a trap for a burglar who just recently had stolen the gems counterpart from the London Museum. This burglar is the heir apparent to the legendary master thief, the Raven, who was shot and killed a few years back. You play as Constable Zellner of the Swiss Police, assisting Inspector Legrand from Paris and Constable Oliver from London in their baiting of this trap aboard the train. Having been told by Legrand that your help is not wanted in baiting this trap, Zellner spends the rest of his time on the Orient Express making his own investigations into the problems of the other passengers, while keeping a sharp eye out for the Raven.
Like many of Nordic Games releases, The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief has a ton of very interesting characters to meet along your journey to Cairo. The biggest issue is, that the main character Constable Zellner, isn’t one of them. Zellner is an aging Constable who continues time and time again to try to impress Inspector Legrand with his skills in deduction, despite Legrand’s insistence that Zellner’s help is neither wanted nor needed. Instead of just heading back to Switzerland, Zellner continues to get involved in the case and blunders his way on through to Venice, then to Cairo.
The overall story is intriguing enough and has a very exotic feel to it, similar to the stories that The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief tries to emulate. I love the locales that the designers chose to tell the story through. Beginning on the Orient Express was a fantastic way to begin the game, and continuing that story on a slow boat to Cairo was the right decision. The biggest issue with the game is not with the story line, its with how the game play mechanics allows the player to interact with the story.
Game play for The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief is as basic of a point and click adventure game mechanic can get. You progress through the story by interacting with objects and people around the scenery, and discovering what items or clues you need before moving the story along. The game has an inventory screen in which to interact with objects you have collected, a hint system that allows you to spend points that you have earned to see items you can interact with by pressing the space bar, and conversation choices that allows you to talk to people about different topics. All of these mechanics are solid and does the job they are designed to do, however, it’s not enough to make this game great.
With the story being about detective work and criminal intrigue, I would have hoped for more game mechanics that allows the player to do actual detective work. Instead of just using scissors to get graphite powder, then using the powder to discover some finger prints on a window, I would have rather seen and actual mechanic to allow us to dust for finger prints and being able to analyze the prints to find the match. Throughout the entire game, I just wanted more immersion into the world of The Raven. A standard point and click game mechanic just didn’t do it for me, and ultimately left the game feeling boring and mediocre, even though the story was well written and paced just right.
I found the aesthetics for The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief to fit the story line very well. The visuals tend to be a little more realistic then some of the other releases from Nordic Games, but still have a very animated feel to them. The lighting effects were wonderful and really help to set the tone during some of the scenes. The environments were also well designed to be exotic in feel, to bring that Agatha Christie feel to the entire game.
Voice acting was also well done, and utilizes accents from around the world. English, German, French, Swiss, Italian, and American characters are all represented and voiced well in The Raven. The score is also creates the mood for the story, by being suitable dark and mysterious when the need arises. The audio and the visuals do a fantastic job in bringing the world of The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief alive to the player and makes the world feel interesting and real.
The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief is a decent point and click adventure game that could have been a great game if the designers had utilized different mechanics to draw the player deeper into the world of The Raven. Using standard point and click mechanics, The Raven never gets too hard or too easy with its puzzles, but these mechanics don’t generate any intrigue or excitement that the story line keeps trying to present. The story is well written and designed, but the central character, Constable Zellner, falls a little flat for my tastes and isn’t as interesting to play as I want him to be. The game is a great looking and sounding game, with a very international feel to all of the characters. Ultimately, The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief just ends up being decent because the game play mechanics do not do enough to bring the story to life. The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief is available now through Steam.
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