The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief just released its newest chapter! Ancestry of Lies is the second of three chapters and was released on August 27. The game was developed by KING Art, who also brought us The Book of Unwritten Tales, and published by Nordic Games. Check out my review of chapter one, Eye of the Sphinx.
Watch the trailer for chapter one:
Warning: This review will contain plot spoilers for chapter one, Eye of the Sphinx, but will NOT spoil Ancestry of Lies.
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…
We pick up chapter two right where we left off in chapter one – Dr. Gebhardt’s prisoner. He chloroformed Anton in an effort to cover his tracks. The first puzzle involves your escape, then inspector Legrand grills you on what happened in chapter one. Unfortunately, since it’s been a month since I had played chapter one, this part was a little difficult. There are no consequences if you get any of the answers wrong though, so I just chalked it up to fuzzy-headedness from the choloroform. You play about two hours of the game as Anton, and the last hour or so as a mystery character who I won’t spoil. You will get to see events of chapter one from this person’s point of view, however (while keeping Anton’s journal, which is…weird). Something I really like about The Raven is that since there are not a lot of characters, you start to get attached to all of them and their lives. They feel like real people with their own motivations, which isn’t always something you get out of a video game.
It took me three hours to complete chapter two (compared to the five it took me to finish chapter one).
Graphics and Sound
Graphics and sound are unchanged from the first episode. Walking is still awkward at times, but the game runs smoothly otherwise (again, I was playing at the lowest setting – your performance may vary). Graphics are not important to me in the grand scheme of things anyway. The music is, again, the same variations on a theme, which gets repetitive very quickly – especially if you’re stuck somewhere. Voice acting is all of high-quality, except for one character we haven’t heard speak much until this episode. His acting stood out in that it wasn’t as good as those around him. He didn’t sound like he belonged in the world of The Raven, and I’m not sure if it was his lack of accent, that his voice work wasn’t up to par, or a combination of both.
Again, the game does not autosave, so be sure to save your progress every so often. There were no mini-games this time around, which probably contributed to the streamlined feel of this episode. There is a timed puzzle where you can die, which you will probably mess up a few times, but other than that the puzzles are standard adventure game fare. That timed sequence does a good job at making you feel like you’re in danger – graphics and sound are both distorted and strange, which gives it a great overall creepy feeling. One of the game’s advertised points is that all the puzzles make sense, but I would argue that a game where I have to connect a radio antenna, a butterscotch candy, and a shaving mirror might be stretching that claim a bit.
There is still no indicator as to where new notes in your journal went, and since the journal is getting really long, having to flip through it every time you hear the scribble noise gets really tedious. A simple highlight or icon or something would fix this issue. There are also a few hard-to-see hotspots, but I only had to seriously use the highlighter once (and once I saw it, I couldn’t believe I had missed what I was looking for!). Overall, the puzzles are easier than in part one, which was welcome for me, but some people might not like it. I only ran into a couple minor bugs in this episode; nothing like what I originally ran into in chapter one – the game was never broken.
The game has nine added Steam achievements for episode two.
The atmosphere and tension of The Raven continue in part two, marred only by a few frustrating puzzles. Quite a few chapter one mysteries are solved, but there’s still a lot to come in part three!
Check out the official site, like the game on Facebook, and follow on Twitter. You can buy the game on Steam in a standard ($24.99) or deluxe ($29.99) edition. The deluxe edition includes the soundtrack, story book, making of booklet, papercraft mask, and a digital poster. Both versions include access to all three chapters of the game.
Chapter Three: A Murder of Ravens will launch on September 24. Watch for my review; I can’t wait for the exciting (and hopefully longer) conclusion!
[Disclaimer: A review code was provided for me to review this game.]