The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief Review

The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief superficially resembles many a classic mystery, but doesn't have the intrigue or the soul.

What makes for a compelling mystery? Is it a perplexing crime that pulls you in immediately and leaves you eager to discover who did it and how? Is it a fascinating central character whose investigative methods are a pleasure to watch? Perhaps it's a sense of urgency as the investigator races against time to prevent the criminal from getting away with any more nefarious deeds? Whatever it is, you won't find it in The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief. This point-and-click adventure has many of the trappings of a good old-fashioned mystery, but fails to re-create the irresistible allure of a captivating whodunit.

Beautiful scenery, boring conversations and basic puzzles. Ah, the Orient Express!

Wearing its Agatha Christie inspirations on its sleeve, The Raven begins with you, as Swiss constable Anton Jakob Zellner, aboard the Orient Express. A priceless jewel, one of the two Eyes of the Sphinx, has just been stolen in a daring museum robbery. Has the legendary thief the Raven (once believed to be dead) returned, or is this the work of an imitator? It's a setup with considerable potential, but unfortunately, rather than harnessing that potential and pulling you into the story right away, the plot squanders its momentum as you must instead deal with mundane problems like helping a train passenger get into his locked cabin.

The process of solving this and most of the other problems you encounter during The Raven is so straightforward that to refer to those problems as puzzles would be generous. The hardest part is typically just finding the items you might need. Objects you can examine or interact with in the environment aren't typically highlighted in any way. You can employ the tried-and-true (and tedious) method of moving your cursor over anything and everything to see what you can interact with, or you can spend a small amount of "detective points" to briefly highlight notable objects, though doing so diminishes your final score. Also making matters frustrating is that you often need to examine something more than once before Zellner notices anything important about it, so you get in the habit of examining everything you can until either Zellner starts repeating himself or the option to examine or interact with an object goes away.

Once you've got the item or items you need to overcome a particular obstacle, it's usually obvious what you need to do. Nothing you do involves any deductive reasoning or anything resembling actual detective work. There's nothing inherently wrong with a point-and-click adventure that doesn't challenge you with taxing puzzles, and some games in the genre with compelling stories benefit from puzzles that don't bog down the story's pacing. But in the case of The Raven, the story is too plodding to support the game on its own. Zellner is a bland protagonist, lacking the preternatural deductive reasoning of Sherlock Holmes, the endearing persistence of Columbo, the believably complex, flawed humanity of Kurt Wallander, or any real quirks or characteristics of his own that might have made him an interesting figure through whom to experience this mystery.

The rare moments of crisis are easily overcome and don't generate much excitement.

His fellow passengers are a bit more memorable. There's a haughty baroness, a suspicious violinist, and an Agatha Christie-esque mystery novelist among them, but interacting with these characters is typically a bore. Zellner's dialogue is delivered in a stilted, unnatural fashion that makes listening to conversations unenjoyable. You can just click through the dialogue instead, but either way, most conversations fall flat. They dryly convey information about the people and situations Zellner must deal with, but they have no spark of humor or tension. They move the plot forward, and that's about it.

That plot moves forward in fits and starts, and each time it seems like it's about to shift into high gear, it slows down again. It eventually moves from the elegant train cars of the Orient Express to the elegant decks and cabins of a luxury steamship, but after a murder takes place, you still spend all your time just going through the same motions. You engage in a dry conversation with one character who tells you to go get something from another character, so you go talk to that other character. You scour environments until you find the things that you need to accomplish your basic tasks. These mechanics are the same as those found in so many point-and-click adventure games, but they've never been what make or break such games. It comes down to things like the personalities of the characters, the excitement of the story, and the cleverness of the puzzles, and in all of these areas, The Raven flounders.

Even a juicy murder doesn't do much to liven up the proceedings.

About all you can say in The Raven's favor is that its locations have the flavor you might expect from a classy mystery in the Agatha Christie vein, and that it functions as you expect a point-and-click adventure game to function, except for the moments when it doesn't. Characters occasionally slide rather than walk into position, and in rare instances, Zellner might get stuck walking in place, forcing you to quit out of the game and restart. However, the game's real problem is simply that it's boring. Legacy of a Master Thief is just the first chapter in what will ultimately be a three-part story, so there's still hope for this to evolve into a gripping mystery that actually makes you feel like an active participant in deducing its solution, but it's off to an inauspicious start.

The Good
Classy locations evoke Agatha Christie-style mysteries
The Bad
Uninteresting central character
Basic puzzles that require no deductive reasoning
Unfocused story lacks momentum
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Carolyn is an avid reader of mystery novels and a fan of classic mystery films. Many of her all-time favorite games are in the adventure genre, and she has a particular fondness for the classic Lucasfilm/LucasArts games.

Discussion

90 comments
williemanga
williemanga

Looks like a Telltale game, a little.

sunbeam4
sunbeam4

gamespot timestamps reviews are missing :\

samus_my_life
samus_my_life

i really enjoyed playing it even though the character is sadly disappointing :( 

godfather830
godfather830

This is not a perfect game, but is much better than this review suggests.

focuspuller
focuspuller

Having played the full game now I can say that while the first part of the game is a little slow out of the gate, it gets better. And the second and third parts are much better.

Worth at least a 7.5

rossits
rossits

And giving Gone Home (a 2 hours game) a 9.5, really.....I won't even comment further....

rossits
rossits

Another review, another retarded score. Maybe also this game has misogyny. Just look who's reviewed it. Giving a low score to anything that's not CoD as usual, eh Gamespot?

Thathanka
Thathanka

Just bear on mind that IGN don't really have reviews, they are just adverts for their "clients"

DarpSyX
DarpSyX

lol just saw the 9.0 from ign... and here is 5 ... I don't know about the game haven't tried it but only because these range difference between sites I'll just check it out 

domaranel
domaranel

Unfortunately I let the hype get me. This game is soooo boring, all you do is run around and talk to a thousand people to get a story, a really boring story at that, long winded, not exciting or suspenseful at all, only 2-3 sort of fun thinking puzzles or things to solve our of the whole thing....and it's not even the full game, it leaves you hanging off a cliff and doesn't even let you know this is only ONE part of a 3 part series, the other 2 are not out yet......so disappointed, and this game is lame. It's also slow and clitchy, your character walks around to 7 other places before he gets to where you pointed him in the first place and many times he froze up walking in place for 5 minutes and I had to cold boot the whole computer to get the game to close.......

t1striker
t1striker

This got a 9.0 from IGN.com. I'm thinking about trying it out.

Runock
Runock

Guys if you don't like the review he wrote go read a different one. They are just opinions and there are plenty of others to choose from :p

dribblesbarbax
dribblesbarbax

Hmmmmm? A major competing website gave it a 9/10. I'm confused. Suppose I could give it a shot.

fbgbdk4
fbgbdk4

If Gamespot is your main source for adventure reviews, you're doing something wrong.

For me, the game is pleasant, not great. What put me off is that it has a lot, I mean, a lot of bugs.

lostcause78
lostcause78

The main character is refreshingly new, and the adventure while at places a bit simple - is by no means as bad as you make it out to be.


A score of 5...what not enough explosions and fast framerate? 

Sorry for the sarcasm, but it seems the reviewer either forgot or never liked how adventure games used to be ( I refer to older games because this genre especially often finds people pointing back at its golden age 1 or 2 decades back). 

I do see the reviewer defend herself below with a list of many good classics. But I fail to believe the same reviewer would give them a high score, based on the "flaws" pointed out here.

My personal score for this: 7.5 - it's not amongst the best, but definitely not a horrible adventure either. Fans of the genre will find the good outweigh the bad and then some.

RogerioFM
RogerioFM

I haven't played it yet, although I plan to, Gamespot give low score to adventure games a lot of the time, so I learned not to trust them when it comes to adventure games, maybe its not their cup of tea.

Having said that, I've read in a lot of places that one of the most fascinating things in this game is the protagonist, by the fact that he is not a super smart super sexy super cop. But an old overweight man without great accomplishments. So I don't know why the complain about the protagonist, of course I didnot play the game yet, just found that criticism strange.

stev69
stev69

Shame it looked kinda good.

benk09123456
benk09123456

I don't get you, the main character in this story is the most interesting one I have yet to see, I have finished many quest games since the 90's, And I haven't yet  found an interesting character as this one. Most of the characters are too normal, its mostly about an avarage person, young one with an average mind and average way of thinking. This one is different.

I would say that If you wouldn't push your way past this game and try to be the first to make a review about this game and instead, try to take it a little deeper and more in to details you would find that your review is wrong and fits for one type of gamer, the ignorant one.

dr_Mabuse
dr_Mabuse

A somewhat pleasing game - unfortunately a 'point and click'.

... Can we have a review of Nascar 2013 - by the mademoiselle, please ?

I hear that a demo/beta of Payday2 has also leaked. Perhaps a bit on that in "previews" ? (I was a bit disappointed myself, after all the hype. Its not that different from Pday1).

Gratefully,

/Dr. Mabuse

I - a pirate of the 1000 seas.
I get my games free of fees.

I play on the latest rigs.
That is, unless they'r siezed by the pigs'.

C0nv3rsE_VIP
C0nv3rsE_VIP

anyone knows when chaper 2 will be avaible ?

shanethewolf
shanethewolf

I was seriously disappointed in this. So much effort has been put into the visuals and locations, but the characters and plot are tedious and there is way too much dialogue for a game.

Some adventure game developers need to pay attention to the old rule of writing "show, don't tell" and stop boring us with exposition and waffling. 

godfather830
godfather830

Sucks that reviewer didn't like the story - I was looking forward to this game. But I like the fact that the puzzles are realistic, so I'll probably pick it up once I get rid of my huge backlog (thanks, Steam!)

liontrotsky
liontrotsky

I LOVED the protagonist. Can't stand another sassy 20-something cynical journalist with a blue hair and an attitude. He is sort of sad, pathetic, but trying hard to do something with his life. Of course he will be branded as uninteresting, because it's a slow burning game and this is Gamespot. 

joesguy
joesguy

It's the extreme opposite of Case of the Silver Earring. Not terribly challenging at all, just talk to people and find stuff.

Samparksh
Samparksh

Reminds me of Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie

mixalisss13
mixalisss13

@Thathanka its true....just imagine of an unkown game takes 9 from ign or gamespot......

focuspuller
focuspuller

@domaranel Run around and talk to a lot of characters..... you mean... like in an adventure game?

s_h_a_d_o
s_h_a_d_o

@fbgbdk4 

Allow me to paraphrase...

If Gamespot is your main source for anything at all, you're doing something wrong.

Always shop around, peeps. :|

focuspuller
focuspuller

@lostcause78 I tried to write a similar opinion but my browser crashed.

I actually avoided the game based on this review. A friend pushed me to try it and I quickly saw that I was wrong to do so.

I couldn't agree more. After playing this I can't imagine how any true adventure game fan can give this game a 5. And no, not all adventure game deserve a good review and yes, there are more then a few bad ones out there, but this game is hardly that.

In the end the game was fun to play (with a kind of Tell Tale style) and with the past two parts of this game yet to be released, it can only get better.

SJGSpook
SJGSpook

@trollin4bruisin You should try Book of Unwritten Tales if you have not already. Very good adventure game. 

dr_Mabuse
dr_Mabuse

I'll write you a high review, if you like! Does that make it true ;-)

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle staff

@Vojtass Right. Let's see, some of my all-time favorite games are Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Myst, and The Longest Journey. I've also played and enjoyed heaps of other adventure games. Just in recent months, I've given positive reviews to The Last Door and to the second chapter of Kentucky Route Zero. I *love* adventure games. That doesn't mean that I give everything a good score just because it's an adventure game. In my estimation, this is not a particularly good adventure game. John Walker liked it more than I did. That's fine. There is not one *right* perspective on a game like this. I explain in the review why I did not think this game was great. Of course you are free to disagree.

stev69
stev69

@Leboyo56 Some people like them others don't, whats wrong with that?

lostcause78
lostcause78

@dr_Mabuse Neither does this poor one.

It's a sad trend that GS reviews low budget games badly. 

Sure they'll defend themselves as below with lists of games they "love", yet they can't deny they slaughter the new games the resembles those old ones the most.

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle staff

@Winzent It has nothing to do with the remarks being "bad." In fact, I'm much less inclined to respond to those who leave really nasty remarks. I was just offering some clarifying perspective.

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

@WinzentHe chalked up this review's conclusions to his belief that "GS just don't like true adventure games, which is sad." That's simply inaccurate. The fact that John Walker of RPS liked this game and I didn't doesn't mean that I or GS doesn't "like true adventure games." 

Winzent
Winzent

@carolynmichelle @Winzent Im asking the same thing. His own opinion obviously align with his mentioned article. So what are you trying to establish with your own?

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle staff

@Winzent I really don't understand your question. Responding to a comment with information about games I've liked is in no way the same as trying to censor or shut down disagreement.

The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief More Info

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  • First Released
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    • PC
    • + 3 more
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    The Raven is a fast-paced point-and-click adventure set across 1960s Europe.
    5.5
    Average User RatingOut of 56 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    KING Art
    Published by:
    Nordic Games Publishing, The Adventure Company
    Genres:
    Adventure
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
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