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Xbox 360 Game Review

The Raven
Legacy of a Master Thief
Parts 1-3


Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: Nordic Games
Developer: King Art
RRP: £23.97 (2798 Microsoft Points)
Age Restrictions: 12+
Release Date: 12 December 2013

Paris, 1960. Europe is in the grip of the gentleman master thief The Raven. His burglaries are spectacular and he always emerges unscathed. Young hotshot investigator Nicolas Legrand stuns the public when he confronts the master thief and fatally wounds him. London, 1964. An ancient ruby – one of the legendary 'Eyes of the Sphinx' – is stolen from the British Museum. At the crime scene: a raven feather. Is somebody trying to follow in the Raven's footsteps? – Legrand is back on the case. At the same time in Zurich a phone rings. Constable Anton Jakob Zellner looks up from behind a mountain of files. He has no idea what lies hidden in a bank vault, just a few hundred meters away from him. As he reaches for the receiver his life takes a crucial turn...

The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief is a point and click crime adventure in three episodes. Full of twists and turns, it immerses you in both sides of the story, combining thrill-of-the-chase whodunit with the risk and reward of a heist story.

Review imageThe game is split into three chapters, which you can purchase individually for £7.99 each. So if you don't enjoy the first part, then you won't waste any more of your money by downloading the second and third chapter. However, the rewards for sticking with it are worth it as the story isn't fully revealed until you've played all three chapters.

While I really did enjoy this game there are some issues I had with it... Issues that some may not be able to overlook. For starters the game is riddled with bugs. The game has a habit of freezing, your character may disappear completely, or the highlighted areas won't allow you to click on them. When this happens it can be a pain if you have to rewatch half a dozen cut sequences and replay a couple of puzzles.

The mechanics can also be a little fiddley on occasion. For example you sometimes have to be stood in the exact correct space before a hotspot will be highlighted and if you should move even a fraction the hotspot changes, which can result in you hitting the wrong action. This can be frustrating if that "accidental" choice sees you disappearing off the screen to another area, as you have to wait for the game to load that area up before you can come back (again waiting while it loads up the area you were in in the first place).

Review imageThe loading sequences are a little too long and a little too frequent and it doesn't help that the music skips and judders while the screens are loading.

In addition the animation occasionally goes a bit "screwy" there were a couple of times when the character's mouths came unhinged and flapped around inside out - which was a little creepy.

Now that I've got those issues out of the way, I want to run through why this is such a good game and why you should overlook the bugs. Firstly the story is well constructed. You start the game playing as Constable Anton Jakob Zellner, an aging, overweight Swiss policeman who is onboard the Orient Express when he realises that also onboard is a priceless jewel, being transported by safe to Egypt. Zellner makes it his job to try and assist Inspector Nicolas Legrand in ensuring that the jewel makes it safely across the Swiss Alps, as the other jewel in the collection was stolen from a British museum only days before. The suspected thief is the gentleman master thief The Raven. Legrand is convinced that The Raven is still alive and active, despite the fact it is believed by most that Legrand shot and killed him several years previously. In fact, Legrand became something of a reluctant celebrity on the strength of this.

Review imageBut is The Raven really back? Because this new thief appears to have no qualms about killing those that get in his way. The old Raven was a gentleman and his crimes were well thought through, without any harm coming to innocents.

As Zellner, you travel onboard the Orient Express checking out your fellow passengers - surely the thief is one of them. As the game progresses you follow the jewel as it travels to the museum in Egypt: first by train and then by cruise ship. Some of your fellow passengers from the Orient Express are also onboard the cruise ship and so working out who the thief could potentially be will take a lot of deductive reasoning.

Then, just as you're comfortable in the role of Zellner, and think you have worked out who the criminal is, you travel back in time to an earlier part of the game and play events through from a different character. This dovetailing of various storylines is a tried and trusted trick and works incredibly well here. Yes, some may moan that it's a way for the developers to keep the design of the game down to just three main environments (the train, the ship and the museum) but personally I thought it was interesting to revisit earlier sections of the game and witness them from a different perspective, especially when the final twist is revealed.

Review imageI have had the game for some time, but I didn't want to write a review until I had completed the game. I took a lot of time over this one as I actually wanted to immerse myself in the environment to give me the best game playing experience. It was worth the effort, but you could easily complete all three chapters over a weekend if you stick with it.

The puzzles are all fairly straightforward. There's a tendency with games of this nature to make the puzzles ridiculously unnatural. In fact there was only one instance where I couldn't work out how to progress. There's a segment in chapter 3 where you have to open a truck door to release its handbrake. I had all the tools and had tried to use the implement that eventually works... it was just that when I bent it by placing it somewhere, I wasn't aware that I had bent it... so I didn't try using it again. A quick search on the Internet helped me see what I had missed.

Review imageWhile the cut sequences and vocal acting was variable, the one aspect that was totally faultless, and which held the game together - elevating it several notches, was Benny Oschmann's incredible score. There are elements of Alan Silvestri's work from Back to the Future in the tracks 'At Full Speed' and 'Lurking Menace '. A major bonus here is that the score is unlocked (track by track) as you progress through the game. So, if you want to hear the music on its own you can go to the "bonus" menu and play the individual tracks.

I have to admit that I pretty much worked out the final twist very early on in the game (there were a few too many hints) but I didn't pick up on the other neat twists that unravel as you play through the game. At under £25, this is a steal at such a cheap price; sorry to keep raven on about it... but it's a jewel of a game [sigh!]


Darren Rea

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