Preview – The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief Ben Rayner 1 July, 2013 Features, Previews The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief is shaping up to be quite spectacular I’ve been in love with point and click adventure games for as long as I’ve had a controller or mouse in my hand. My obsession with this classic genre started, like most, with the Broken Sword series. The colourful settings, vibrant worlds full of life (plus some good old fashion static backgrounds) enthralled me. I enjoyed getting to snoop around every setting from castles to sewers, restaurants and hotels. For a while, point and click adventure games held the spotlight, particularly on PC, considering the play style is perfect for a mouse (Sony even went so far as to develop a mouse for the PlayStation in acknowledgment) Titles like Discworld, Grimm Fandango, and the infamous Escape from Monkey Island became legendary in the gaming industry’s history. Since then the genre has slipped somewhat out of fashion with some titles still coming around but often to not much success. King Art and Nordic Games have joined forces to bring you The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief, which is certainly shaping up to be quite spectacular. With enough content and charm to not only appeal to veterans of the genre, but enough to bring in new gamers who aren’t so well versed in this classic genre. Spanning across the 1960’s, The Raven sees you in the shoes of Anton Jakob Zellner, a Constable in the Swiss police in search of one more chance to prove himself as a great policeman and detective. The Raven was once a master criminal, responsible for stealing some of the world’s finest jewels and art pieces but now, years after his alleged capture, a copy cat has emerged and it’s up to you to stop him. Visually the game looks stunning, mixing realism with a charming cartoon style Planned as an episodic release, I had a chance to sit down with the first chapter in this epic tale and I’m extremely impressed. I must admit I went in with somewhat low expectations of a roughly cobbled together story and average visuals but what I got was the complete opposite. Visually the game looks stunning, mixing realism with a charming cartoon style, the real-time 3D effect makes each character seem full of life, you want to have conversations and soak up the atmosphere. The game surroundings are just as well executed, with vibrant colours and some serious attention to detail, while most of the world around you is alive with movement, even the occasional static set piece is convincing enough to not draw you out of the story. I was happy enough to spend hours scouring the area and talking to each and every character I could find after all, that’s the joy you’re afforded in this genre. Think Mass Effect but without the rush to end the conversation and run into a gun fight. While The Raven will see an Xbox 360 release, I had to settle for a preview on the PC so I can’t comment on the control scheme as of yet, but suffice to say that to play the game well you needed just a mouse and the space bar so I imagine the controls will transfer smoothly onto the Xbox controller. (I experimented with a wired 360 controller hooked into my machine and the movement speed that the joysticks produced was more than suitable, while the left and right triggers acted as my left and right-click) Playing out like an Agatha Christie “whodunnit” the story telling feels really natural and unfolds at a good pace Playing out like an Agatha Christie “whodunnit” the story telling feels really natural and unfolds at a good pace, similar to that of the broken sword series, nothing here is so over the top that this could be considered exclusive to adults but nor does it exclude the older gamers among us, you won’t be led along by the hand or feel yourself crying out for some more blood and gore. As you make your investigations you’ll come across a multitude of optional puzzles to solve and crimes to unravel, which if you choose to accomplish, builds up points in your score meter. Designed as a helping hand for the uninitiated or for when you’re truly stumped, your score can be spent on hints or a few seconds glimpse into where important items or set pieces may be hiding, which although many may see as a cheat to whizz through the game itself, it’s a nice idea for those who really want to enjoy the story but not endure days of head scratching. The soundtrack is a perfect blend of jazz and classical scores which accompany each and every moment in the game really well, when pausing for those important toilet breaks I found myself waiting those few extra minutes just to enjoy the music, which is a big achievement for this genre in particular. However, It wasn’t flawless unfortunately, with some moments oddly finding themselves flooded with silence, hopefully this is something that will be changing as the final release approaches. By the end of chapter 1 I was hooked and can’t wait for more Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my time with The Raven, I couldn’t find any glaring issues that would put me off and I found myself hooked, spending more and more time playing until I had finally reached the end of chapter 1 and now. I want more. Set for release on July 23rd, I seriously recommend giving this a go, that goes for lovers of the classics and those who maybe haven’t dipped their toe in the water just yet, I truly doubt you’ll be disappointed. For more details check out the official site here, but if you’re desperate for a taster head over here for a chance to play a rather slick free-to-play game that sets up the story for The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief. theberrytastic This sounds really dam awesome! Jamie Tarren Looks awesome too!