The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief
Price: $9.99 each episode
System(s): Xbox 360
Release Date: December 4, 2013
Publisher (Developer): Nordic Games (KING Art)
ESRB Rating: “Teen” for Blood, Violence and the Use of Alcohol and Tobacco
Thieves tales’ are always full of amazing feats. Elaborate lies, double crosses and narrow getaways make these stories exciting to hear about. Sometimes the thief’s plan is so well thought out, one can admire the pure genius that went into it all. In The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief, all of these elements were overlooked, and the result is a rather boring adventure.
After the legendary Raven was gunned down following one of his biggest heists, everything seemed to be safe. Four years later though, one of the two precious jewels known as the Eyes of the Sphinx was stolen from a museum with a black feather left as a calling card. As the second Eye of the Sphinx is being transported on the Orient Express train, Swiss Constable Anton Jakob Zellner finds himself responsible for discovering the identity of the thief and stopping him before it’s too late. With no idea if this is The Raven, who has somehow survive death, or a copycat looking to be the new master thief, Constable Zellner will have to be better than ever to outwit and apprehend this individual before it’s too late.
The first three chapters of The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief seem like a great setup for another amazing tale of trying to unravel the plans of a criminal mastermind and put a stop them before chaos breaks out. A snooze filled adventure awaited instead. The time that Constable Zellner should have spent searching for clues and suspects was wasted performing mundane tasks for the passengers of the train. In the four hours it took for me to finish chapter one, three were spent mostly walking back and forth between train cars to talk to people and find items to carry back to the opposite side of the train. It was tedious, to say the least, and not something you want to put players through when there are two other chapters to plod through.
What makes things more tedious is the slow pace at which players move through The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief. While I don’t expect to full on sprint everywhere, I do expect a certain sense of urgency while trying to move about my surroundings. It gets even more frustrating, thanks to often having Zellner spin in place to get him positioned just right to highlight an item so he can interact with it. It would have been easier to have the items highlight whenever you’re close to them instead of also having to face the right direction.
A brief reprieve, before monotony returns
It’s a shame, because if players can make it through the first chapter of The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief, the next two will reward them with some great storytelling and more engaging activities. Halfway through chapter two, the story flips the script and players become the thief. While in this role, you replay the events of the first chapter as the thief, filling in missing details. I really liked this perspective switching twist, especially since it fills in more of the story. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last, as chapter two ends rather quickly.
Everything in the final chapter of The Raven: Legacy of the Master Thief falls back on the boredom that hampered the first. Again, you must run back and forth talking to people and carrying items from one area to another one that ends up being the furthest point away. All this feels like trying to add extra padding to stretch out the finale. Having to talk to everyone in the area near the beginning of the chapter three times over, just to finish an objective, isn’t fun. Even the ending couldn’t make up for what the game puts you through to get to it.
At least the beautiful backgrounds give you something to look at while surviving the slow moments. I could definitely see some of these images being oil paintings that were displayed in art galleries. Character models, on the other hand, looked like someone used putty to shape them all. It didn’t detract too much from what enjoyment could be had with The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief since the close up scenes were kept low.
Plans Go Awry
The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief had all the building blocks of a decent story filled with mystery, crime and surprises. Once you look closer at these blocks, you’ll see they’re made of some boring story moments and cumbersome controls. Everything comes tumbling down to reveal what could have been an amazing tale.