One of my favorite things about attending expos is finding exciting products I didn’t know would be there. That was harder than usual for Mac games at E3 2013 because I already knew about each game heading our way. However, there’s one I’m more intrigued by now than I was going into my demo: Nordic Games’ The Raven.
This is because The Raven not only looks like a great throwback to traditional computer adventure games, but to one specific adventure game: Jordan Mechner’s The Last Express. Granted, the similarities are likely purely cosmetic, and for a limited duration. Whereas The Last Express took place entirely on the Orient Express in 1914, The Raven will be split into three chapters set across 1960s Europe. But I enjoy a good adventure mystery nonetheless, and if some of it takes place within the confines of a luxury passenger train, so much the better.
Here’s your setup, as described in the official press kit:
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 unique twist to The Raven is that it will present both sides of the story; you’ll play as investigator and thief.
Visually, the game’s cinematic presentation features dozens of cutscenes and hundreds of camera angles to draw you into the adventure, not just present it to you. The puzzles themselves center around a real-life based inventory system. For example, if you find a shovel, you’re not able to just put it in your pocket or briefcase and move along; your character will cary and use items much as we would in real life.
As you solve puzzles, you’ll earn detective points that can be used to help with more difficult puzzles later on. If you save them through to the end of the game, they can be redeemed for bonus content such as original artwork. A notebook and help function are available for newcomers to adventure games of this sort.
As mentioned, The Raven will be delivered in three episodes, the first of which will be released on July 23rd. Later episodes—set on a cruise ship and in a museum—will arrives on August 27th and September 24th.
Each episode should take around six to seven hours to complete. The full box set with all three episodes will be released on October 24th. You can get a 20% discount ($19.99 total) if you order all three episodes now for delivery when available. Preorders also get a free upgrade to the Digital Deluxe Edition that includes a story book, the soundtrack, a papercraft mask of the Raven, and more.
Speaking of story books, the interactive novel The Raven Prologue is available now for free in iTunes and Google Play. It’s a great way to get a feel for what’s ahead in July. So is the game’s trailer.
The Raven will be available for Mac, PC, Linux, Xbox Live, Playstation Network and PS3. We’ll have more details on the game as it nears release.
If you missed it, also be sure to check our selection for Best Mac Game of E3 2013.