If you're anything like me, it's hard to say no to a good old-fashioned mystery, so there's a good chance that The Raven: Remastered (based on the 2013 game The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief) may have caught your eye. And for good reason! Our tale starts off with a daring robbery at The British Museum where "The Raven" has apparently just stolen one of the two gems that make up "The Eyes of the Sphinx", causing quite a commotion as he does so with an explosion (injuring a guard). The rub here is that "The Raven" was supposedly captured years ago, by celebrated detective Nicolas Legrand. So, is this an imposter? Is the Raven back in the game?
Our story follows the Swiss Policeman "Constable" Anton Jakob Zellner as he helps guard a train passing through Switzerland that is carrying a particular safe on board (it seems the "Eyes of the Sphinx" are set to make a debut in Cairo, Egypt). Constable Zellner meets Detective Legrand on the train and despite being written off as incompetent local help, Zellner stubbornly insists he can still be of assistance, which of course leads to the Constable becoming personally embroiled with The Raven and the gem's trip to Cairo.
One thing that I thoroughly enjoyed was the protagonist, Constable Zellner. This isn't your usual adventure game hero; Constable Zellner is a rather old man (50+) who has a neat old-school mustache, enjoys mystery books (fancying himself as a keen observer) and is very much balding. He's also not above sticking his tongue out at kids. He really does steal the show as a character (although the excellent voice acting help quite a bit) and stands out as a protagonist.
The other thing the story does well is that, as your progress through the game, you'll eventually play as other characters and get to see familiar scenes play out from another perspective. This helps explain some of the mystery you'll see earlier in the game and ties together loose-ends story-wise (which is pretty clever). The game is broken up into three chapters like this and wraps up everything rather nicely by the end, but I will say that while I enjoyed the journey quite a bit, the story's ending was rather disappointing as it relied on lazy writing techniques (Deus Ex Machina) to explain things (the ending deserved a much more clever ending than it got).
Gameplaywise, The Raven is your standard point-and-click adventure game. Being "unwanted help", Zellner often has to find creative ways to become involved with the investigation or help people in general, which means you'll be investigating various environments, picking up items and figuring out how to use them to achieve your goals. Pretty standard stuff for the genre, really. One thing that the game does differently is that every time you use its "hint" system it deducts from a universal score, which I suppose is meant to judge how good a detective you are. In reality, it does little for me, personally, as score-based interaction in games should be left to the 80s arcade experience where it (should have) died.
Still, this is a standard point-and-click adventure and your protagonists have enough commentary about what's going on (and what you investigate) that it's pretty easy to stay on-track and figure out what your supposed to do. Every now and again there's a puzzle or mini-game that requires you to do something completely different (such as align a wire to pick a door lock), but these deviations from the standard gameplay are pretty few and far between. The only other thing I noticed is that the game's movement can be rather awkward at times. This is one of those games where you can walk just a little too far and all of a sudden you can no longer select something. Plus, there are times when it seems like you telling your character to move is more of a suggestion than actual control. Frustrating at times, for sure (and worth noting), but it never seriously detracted from the game for me.
While I never played the original version of the game, I will say that this version seems right at home on the PS4. The game isn't exactly graphically intensive or fast-paced whatsoever (outside of a few cut-scenes), but being "remastered" means the game features smoother animations and better lighting. I would tend to agree. The animations look solid throughout the game and the lighting always felt well done (plus, Zellner's mustache is just great). If anything, the game could have done with a few more panoramic views, given the locations that you end up in on your journey. But all in all, the graphics are solid, and the environments are pretty easy to explore as a result.
The music throughout the game was a surprising highlight for me! I didn't expect it to be as good as it was, honestly. The game's soundtrack (which is performed by a full orchestra) has a very fairy-tale-esque feeling to it with light and whimsical pieces that were a joy to listen to (although things could get serious as needed). The voice acting was also well done throughout the game. Like I mentioned earlier, Constable Zellner in particular is a joy to listen to although the entire cast is solid.
As you may expect from a mystery story, once you've beaten the game and learned its plot twists, there's very little reason to replay it. Can't blame you there. Remember that point system the game uses? Well, the game does have a trophy list that takes your point total into account, so that could be one reason to re-play the game (although it is a pretty poor reason). As you play you also unlock bonus content, such as concept art, 3D character art and the sound track. These are really cool additions you can view from the main menu (I particularly enjoyed "The Raven Orchestra", which was someone videotaping the live orchestra as they made their recordings... very cool stuff).
In the end, if you're looking for a mystery to get lost in (and like the old-school point-and-click adventure game genre), The Raven Remastered should rightly be on your radar. Despite the rather lazy ending, the journey there is still rather enjoyable and Constable Zellner is one protagonist I won't be forgetting any time soon.
It's good to meet you! I'm better known online as "Bkstunt_31" and have been writing Reviews and video game Strategy Guides/Walkthroughs for WAY too many years! Feel free to stop my my Facebook page and say hello! Have fun and keep playing!