After a successful run on PC, KING Art Games’ The Raven comes to Xbox 360 as a trilogy on the Xbox Games Store. Arriving a little later than originally intended and minus it’s ‘Legacy of a Thief’ subtitle, The Raven still plays on console much like it does on PC, which is both a blessing and a curse.
The principle mechanics of The Raven will be familiar to any fan of the point-n’-click genre. Taking direct control of their on-screen avatar the player commands both movement and inspection of items or people, revealing clues and building an inventory through careful analysis of the environment and shrewd assessment of the assets available. Where The Raven sets itself apart from the crowd is in the inclusion of multiple playable characters.
The story begins as a master thief takes possession of a highly valuable jewel, leaving the appointed guards without hope of preventing it’s disappointing thanks to his or her cunning and pitch-perfect execution of a heist. This short introduction sets the scene for an adventure that places the player at the centre of a mission to hunt down the master thief, known as ‘The Raven’, and recover the stolen jewel. Unsurprisingly, the execution of this task is anything but simple.
The puzzles and challenges that the player will face on their journey are keenly explained by a simple tutorial involving disposing of an apple core. Items interacting with the world and one another, movement, examination and inventory controls all summed-up in one short and simple process. Things do get vastly more complicated however, and it’s not long before the player is faced with puzzles that span across multiple screens.
The Raven is a fairly generic point-n’-click experience despite it’s multiple personality gameplay. Unlike the masterful The Walking Dead there is no player-influence on the gameplay. No matter how you solve the puzzles lr interact with characters within the world the outcome will always be the same. The story is already established and the player is simply here to dot the Is and cross the Ts. Therefore, there is no save data transfer between chapters: players who begun playing The Raven on PC can continue their progress from the start of Chapter 2 or 3 without penalty.
The Raven is a reasonable looking title, with comfortable 3D character models and a welcome amount of detail in it’s environments. The videogame is far from oushing the Xbox 360 hardware, but this was never the intention: The Raven is a videogame about creating an atmosphere more than it is wowing the audience with special effects. Much more reliable an aid to this cause is the soundtrack, which is frequently responsible for the change in mood and tone as the player encounters moments of tension.
Unlikely to redefine anyone’s expectations of the point-n’-click genre, The Raven is an enjoyable and relaxing videogame experience nonetheless. It’s a million miles away from Telltale Games’ aggressive, mature renovation of the genre and far more comfortable as a gentle ride than a rollercoaster, The Raven presents an adventure experience that could be considered parallel to the Professor Layton titles; and with that it’s bound to find a welcoming audience on Xbox 360.