Disclaimer: This playthrough is based on the Switch version and was played primarily in handheld mode. This copy of the game was provided by the developer for review purposes.
As someone whose experience with the point-and-click adventure genre is rather limited, I didn’t know what to expect going into The Raven: Remastered. The game itself is a remaster of 2013’s The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief, a game I never played due to not very many people talking about it — a fair outcome considering it was a niche game released near the end of the Xbox 360 and PS3’s lifespans. Despite this, The Raven: Remastered is a surprisingly solid game that should not be overlooked by fans of point-and-click games. However, players should be aware of a few major issues before diving in.
The game takes place in 1964 and follows Constable Zellner, a Swiss police officer who finds himself wrapped up in a case involving an infamous thief known as The Raven. Despite The Raven being assumed dead for five years, there are signs that they are making their comeback and it is unknown whether the thief is still alive or if there’s a copycat following in their footsteps. After a murder takes place, it’s up to Zellner to investigate The Raven’s involvement, root out the culprit, and uncover the mystery surrounding the infamous thief.
If you’re a fan of classic murder mysteries, then this game is right up your alley. Things only start to get interesting about an hour into the game but once it gets going, it really gets going. The game’s story really keeps the player on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next through the intrigue of its mystery and its various twists and turns. The game’s cast is incredibly likeable, with Zellner himself being quite an endearing protagonist. The side characters you meet on the journey are also really interesting once you start to learn more about them and piece together parts of their personalities and motives from your interactions. The only minor gripe I have with the narrative is that some plot points are a bit predictable, but the ride itself is so enjoyable that it makes up for it. If you’re in the mood for a good murder-mystery plot, you should definitely consider giving this game a shot. I say “consider” because the game itself has quite a few glaring flaws that hold it back from being an excellent experience overall, most of which have to do with the actual gameplay.
The gameplay is more or less your standard point-and-click fare. You’re going to be spending most of your time interacting with nearby people or objects by “clicking” on them, using them to either gather clues for the greater mystery or to solve puzzles, with only slight variations throughout. It’s one of those games where you’re encouraged to look in every nook and cranny for objects to interact with because you never know what’s going to be important later on. If you aren’t already a fan of the point-and-click genre or slower games in general, chances are this game isn’t going to appeal to you. If you do like this style of game, The Raven: Remastered accomplishes what it sets out to do. As someone who hasn’t played very many of these games, I really enjoyed interacting with the various bystanders and seeing what they had to say about the events unfolding around them, as well as searching the areas for possible clues. When it comes to the pointing and clicking, the gameplay is incredibly solid.
However, what ends up killing the gameplay for me is the way Zellner himself controls. His movement feels incredibly stiff, moving at the speed of molasses — overall, he isn’t fun to play as. This isn’t a huge problem most of the time because most of the areas are small, enclosed spaces that don’t require a ton of movement. However, when the game forces you to explore larger areas or you’re required to backtrack to find an important item, it starts to become monotonous. If it weren’t for the protagonist’s wonky controls, I wouldn’t have very many complaints with the gameplay overall, but this is such a huge blemish on an otherwise solid game that it almost makes it kinda hard to recommend.
I don’t know if these issues are present in other versions of this game or if they’re a problem exclusive to the Switch, but the game has some minor performance issues that, while not game breaking, are noticeable and distracting. The most irritating of these being the load times, which are not only frustratingly long but are also fairly frequent if you plan on doing a lot of backtracking — something I found myself doing quite often. If you want a good frame of reference for what the loading times are like, they’re very reminiscent of something you’d see out of a PS1 era game, specifically its port of Chrono Trigger. If you’re in any way familiar with that era of gaming, you can see how that could be a bit of an issue, especially when paired with the sluggish controls. Another minor issue that I ran into less frequently is that the game would sometimes stutter in certain areas. Overall, the game generally runs at a consistent framerate, but there were a handful of areas such as the lounge in front of the ship in which the game’s framerate would start to stutter a little bit.. The game generally runs fine in handheld mode otherwise, but those two issues are big enough to end up affecting the overall experience.
Visually, the game looks fine. Even when compared to the other versions of this remaster, the graphics really aren’t anything to write home about but they’re completely serviceable. The audio in this game is excellent, with the voice acting being a real standout. The voice actors do a great job portraying their characters and breathing life into them without coming off as too corny like a lot of period pieces that take place in that era tend to. Although the soundtrack isn’t something I’d ever listen to on my free time, it does a great job setting the tone for each scene and creating atmosphere, which is all it really needed to do.
Images: provided by THQ Nordic
Featured Image: provided by THQ Nordic
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