|The Raven Remastered|
|release date||March 2018|
Various re-releases of old games have become a popular phenomenon. However, this trend sometimes takes on strange manifestations. So, the game The Raven: Legacy Of A Master Thief, released in not very distant 2013, got a second chance. Her new version called The Raven Remastered appeared on Steam this spring. In fact, this is just an attempt to once again attract the attention of those who missed the game earlier. I was among them, and I must admit that the “Raven” frankly pleased.
From the first minutes, The Raven Remastered captivates with the atmosphere of a classic detective story in the spirit of Agatha Christie. The 60s of the last century are in the yard, and the Orient Express is rushing us to future adventures. Inside, the future hero spends his time reading a detective novel. This is a middle-aged constable Anton Zelner, outwardly very reminiscent of the insightful Hercule Poirot. He turns out to be more attentive than ordinary passengers, as a result of which he gets involved in a number of incidents.
Noticing a famous inspector on the train, our hero quickly uncovers some kind of police plan related to the recent high-profile kidnapping in London. Of course, a lover of book stories tends to take a personal part in what is happening. But first, we have to scout the situation, get to know the characters and complete a couple of simple tasks.
A sudden incident changes the measured pace of the story. The constable tries on an unusual role of a hero, goes to some kind of active actions and along the way saves one little boy. But even with such merits, the hero is not favored by the forces of law and order. Only a long nose and excessive curiosity with a random coincidence allow him to continue the investigation, being a random fellow passenger on a cruise ship.
The game is an enjoyable compilation of familiar scenes and situations. Traveling by train and liner, visiting Cairo — a complete gentleman’s set for a detective by Agatha Christie. Moreover, the elderly lady-writer, introduced into the game, very transparently hints at the sources of inspiration. But all this is played out within the framework of its original history, which does not stand still and constantly moves forward.
The whole story is tied to several characters. A number of characters will go with us from beginning to end through all the vicissitudes. Even in conditions where there could be a crowd of people, the narrative allows you to interact with a small set of virtual characters, rarely introducing insignificant secondary figures.
The narrative is filled with surprises, to the point that the story changes the main focus. At some point, the game will forget about the main character, allowing you to control another character. We will be able to observe some events on behalf of different characters, which creates a more complete storyline. A refined story with intellectual confrontation gradually turns into some kind of adventurous adventure, where the interests of different parties are mixed. All this intricacies of intrigue leads to the finale, which at first is confusion and disappointment, but literally after a couple of minutes it causes pure delight. What at some moments seems like a senseless digression that violates the integrity of the story turns out to be part of the overall plan.
The game is made in the genre of a classic quest, which requires us to explore locations and constant dialogues with other characters to solve some problems. This is done in the style of old games, when we move between locations with a fixed camera and look for active items. There are few such items, we are not overloaded with unnecessary actions. Many useful things are not far from the place where they can be applied. If the game poses some kind of combined task, then its solution can be seen very clearly — you just need to pick up a useful item.
Problems may arise in dark locations. Sometimes comes on searches at random in pitch darkness. The hint system helps, highlighting all active places on the screen. There are also hints in the diary that allow you to get a tip in which direction to investigate and what to pay attention to. These hints affect the pass rating, reducing the overall score.
There are staged moments that look, if not dynamically, then tensely. For example, the hero will have to cut a path with an ax, chase a thief, or climb onto the roof of a train.
There are not enough complex logic puzzles, but they are furnished in an interesting way. If you need to unravel the associative series for the cipher, then you have to communicate with passengers. Elsewhere, you need to study the exhibits of the museum in order to get some clues.
The Raven Remastered has a very friendly feel to the player. The gameplay is not burdened by long pixel hunting and silly action with objects, allowing you to watch a fast-paced story. On the other hand, this slightly reduces the participation of the player in what is happening. Interaction with the environment could be a little more. Mini-games would not hurt, but this is implemented only in one moment. A hack with an impromptu master key is well done, but it will also come in handy once per game.
The overall structure of the passage is linear. However, there is a side quest in the first chapter that can give more information about the characters. The first time I banally missed it, because I did not knock on the far compartment. The game also had the potential to continue the story after Cairo, and there were even hints of a further journey. Probably, the authors had bigger plans, but in the end they shrunk the game to three chapters. There is a feeling that The Raven Remastered should be bigger than what came out.
In this decade, there were quests with painted backs that looked beautiful solely due to meticulous attention to detail (Gray Matter). The Raven Remastered cannot boast of excellent detailing everywhere, but the game is made in full 3D and looks modern and nice.
The first version of The Crow showed almost the same picture. The Raven Remastered was simply upgraded to a newer version of the Unity engine with improved lighting. Also announced about the modified animation. There are no other important changes.
The game does not put forward serious requirements for hardware, but performance is highly dependent on the graphic scene. On budget video cards in Full HD, there can be noticeable fps drops in places. Performance drops noticeably in some staged scenes with depth of field effects or under intense lighting (for example, on a brightly lit pier). A little testing of different video cards will show the real performance situation.
Selected two points in the first chapter that showed a big difference in performance. In the first case, fps was measured inside the restaurant car, in the second case, during the dialogue scene when visiting the freight car for the first time. The graphics quality is set to high.
Based on the results of two scenes, the average of the minimum and average game fps was calculated.
The results show that even the old GeForce GTX 950 or Radeon R9 270X video adapters average about 60 fps. If there are any drawdowns, they do not affect the overall impression. Budget solutions are weak at higher resolutions. With the 2560×1440 mode, the GeForce GTX 1060 and weaker older generation cards will do just fine. AMD solutions are slightly inferior to NVIDIA’s competitive models, but this difference is not fundamental.
The Raven Remastered is an interesting story game with an unexpected ending. What is happening can be described by the formula «Hercule Poirot hunts Arsene Lupin.» This is a fascinating, sometimes funny story with colorful characters that combines the atmosphere of a classic 20th century detective story with an adventurous adventure. In places it is served superficially or in a too simple form. No plot details have been revealed. Somewhere interactive QTE scenes would fit in perfectly, but they are not. It can be seen that the project is budgetary, and it simply did not reveal its full potential. But even in this form, The Raven Remastered is one of the best representatives of the genre in recent years and just a good game.