The Third Raven Appears – The Raven: A Murder of Ravens Review
This game was reviewed on the PC.
***EDITOR’S NOTE*** – Take care in proceeding. If you’ve not played the second game, you may wish to read our review of that one first. Spoilers may lie here.
When mysteries come to a close, there’s always a sense of longing. It’s the same as the ending to a long-lasting TV series: all the secrets are revealed, and the characters move on with their lives in the unimagined universe. And so we come to the conclusion of an epic adventure with The Raven: A Murder of Ravens. Will the loveable and surprisingly clever Constable Zellner find the whole truth behind the Raven and his potential associates?
If you’re already caught up, you’ll know that at the end of Chapter 2 (Ancestry of Lies), the Raven’s true identity was revealed. In A Murder of Ravens, players will have a chance to see through fresh eyes, and actually play as the villains who orchestrated the Eye of the Sphinx theft in London, and everything thereafter. While the mechanics of this point-and-click adventure may stay the same, and the scenery moves through the same places as the previous two Chapters, having a chance to play through the game again from an entirely new perspective is refreshing in its own way.
What will really make your day is seeing how nobody is truly concerned about Constable Zellner, viewing him as nothing more than a bumbling police officer who is past his prime, and even maybe a little slow on the uptake. Mistakes of this nature (and a little luck), are what gave Zellner the ability to uncover the Raven and his plans, when he would have otherwise been blocked at every turn. Fans of the series will be grinning the entire way through this episode as they silently applaud how ridiculous Zellner makes everyone look because they are too busy watching out for Nicolas Legrand, the Inspector who is seen as the Raven’s true nemesis and intellectual equal. Each character has unique motivations and blind spots. In A Murder of Ravens, players will get a real chance to see how all the dots connect in the storyline, and why everything fell into place the way it did.
All the regular voice actors return in A Murder of Ravens, but so do all of the musical themes. Beautiful scores tend to work well if the theme remains the same, but with the intensity heating up, and the entire emotion of the game shifting, the music feels a little out of place. For instance, when playing on the train as one of the villains (who will not be named) attempting to sabotage one of the carts, the relaxed, light-hearted and bouncy train music just doesn’t sit well. Players already associate the music with a different character, pace, and setting at this point, which is what makes it feel as off-beat as it does. Alternatively, while this may be a spoiler, one really great thing about the voice acting that requires attention is our introduction to the real Lydia. Remember that spoiled little rich girl on the boat, who had that twangy and slightly ditzy American accent? She’s British, and has a sultry, sophisticated voice with just a hint of age that betrays her youthful face. Slight changes like this make the entire audible experience fresh, and watching her switch back and forth while she plays everyone for a fool is impressive.
Point-and-click adventure games can vary in difficulty and format, and The Raven series attempts to keep things interesting with investigatory spots, different points of dialogue, and 2.5D depths coming from various camera angles. Moving from room to room still falls short, and there’s a lack of difficulty in A Murder of Ravens specifically. To elaborate on these points for those who have yet to pick up the game, the way the game is laid out in some scenes, players will not have a clear indication of how to move to the next room, causing ferocious clicking all over the screen, and then leaving and coming back in the room so you can move forward. This is a constant issue, most notably on the train when trying to move from car to car. Another issue players will notice is that most of the game plays more like a story and less like an investigation than the other two chapters. Instead of trying to solve the riddles, players will be moving along grabbing anything they come across and using it to move forward. While this fits the storyline, it makes the game a little less of a challenge, and may cause some players to lose interest. Thankfully, while the previous chapters had glitches with the characters swaying on the spot, or disappearing randomly, these issues have since been corrected.
The Raven: A Murder of Ravens is a great way to end the series, and will leave players with a sense that KING Art and Nordic Games will be releasing some gems in the future, so keep your eye out for new titles. If you haven’t had the chance to play The Raven, the entire three-part game is available for digital download for $19.99 on Steam.
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