Posted on October 9, 2013, Phil Hornshaw The Raven Chapter 3 Review: Not Quite Christie, But Still Fun
Concluding a mystery in a satisfactory way is a formidable challenge. More than other stories, a mystery is defined by its ending; as author David Brin once put it, “You want the reader to tear your book in half, throw it out the window — and dive after it.”
It’s the same when a game is telling a mystery story, and apart from some potential issues of pacing, The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief has done an extremely good job of keeping its plot moving forward, answering questions while raising new ones.
The third and final chapter of The Raven has a lot riding on it as it wraps up its story of jewel thieves and murder. For the most part, it handles that burden well, relying on strong writing and stronger characters to take the 1960s, Agatha Christie-esque tale to its conclusion. But the conclusion is marred slightly by technical issues and writer shortcuts that, more than either of its predecessors, undercut what is otherwise a strong achievement in the point-and-click adventure game genre.
The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief: Chapter 3
Platforms: PC (reviewed), Mac, Linux
Developer: KING Art
Publisher: Nordic Games
Released: Sept. 27, 2013
MSRP: $24.99 (includes all three episodes)
As a head’s up, seeing as this is the third of three chapters we’ll be talking about here, expect spoilers for the earlier two. Read on at your own risk.
The end of Chapter 2 of The Raven took the game’s story in a wholly different direction than the first half of the game had driven players. Midway through that chapter, Constable Zellner, the player character, was abandoned at the story’s climax in a huge cliffhanger, and earlier parts of the game were retold from the point of view of Adil, the young accomplice of the vicious thief known as the New Raven.
At the time, this was a bit of an issue. Seeing earlier events from a different perspective allowed the game’s developers to explain a number of questions in the plot, giving it a stronger air of reality, but at the cost of slowing the story down significantly and retreading covered ground. But Chapter 2’s ending uncovered a plot within the plot, revealing that young blonde socialite Patricia Mayers, another passenger on the ship taking the game’s MacGuffin jewel, the Eye of the Sphinx, to Cairo, was helping Adil double-cross his thief employer.
Chapter 3 continues to reveal more of what the pair is up to and, again, proves The Raven’s strength is with characters. Players spend time controlling both Adil and Patricia during the events aboard the ship, filling in more narrative details, but mostly fleshing out their characters in a way that keeps old information interesting. The lengthy conversations Patricia has with the other passengers reveal a great deal about who they are, and who she is — and it’s those insights that make the whole story feel deep and realistic.