The Raven is one of the more enjoyable P&C adventures I've played in the past few years. And probably the best P&C mystery/detective adventure I've ever played. I really enjoyed Testament of Sherlock Holmes as well, but this was better done, in my opinion.
Many, many video games seem to be built by developers, programmers and artists, and then have a story sort of try and glue the pieces together loosely for an enjoyable experience. There is nothing wrong with that. There are a ton of really fun games out there with this formula.
In the case of The Raven, it felt like a team of writers (or maybe just one, I dunno) put together a fine story, and then built a game to wrap around it. For me, this was a departure from the typical game formula and a breath of fresh air. BUT, it won't be for everyone.
You get to play three different characters in the game (two male, one female) as you both try to unravel a mystery, and become a deeper part of it at the same time.
The game play is fairly typical P&C, with a few treats in regard to "repeat performances" at very specific "crossroads" in the game (I won't spoil it).
The game isn't without flaws. There are inconsitent commands when it comes to character movement, occasionally sloppy pixel area matching (when your mouse cursor can either click on an object well outside the object, or not at all). Audio sometimes cuts out, and the cutscenes occasionally get wonky. The game crashed on me a handful of times in the 14 hours I spent playing it. It has some warts when it comes to gameplay mechanics and execution.
But all that being said, it was STILL a joy to play. The character development is among some of the best I've ever experienced in decades of gaming. Dialogue that seems nebulous at times ties in wonderfully by the end of the game. In fact, SO good, that you'll even chuckle at the end at encounters that occurred earlier in the game when you realize the full context of the conversation later.
There is subtle and mature humor in just the right places when you've had enough serious dialogue. There are extremely mature subjects that are covered, and conversations that really pull you in if you've lived for longer than a few decades on this planet. And when I say "mature" I don't mean an ESRB version of it. There's not much in the way of sophomoric language or gratuitious violence. But there are very adult themes that many of us become sadly familiar with (or can laugh about) when we get older. And some we'll never laugh about.
The bottom line is that this is a true adult mystery with several wonderful twists, a killer storyline, some fun (but typical) P&C mechanics, and some fun and mostly logical puzzles.
If you enjoy a strong story in your games (or at all), or enjoy mysteries, or generally enjoy P&C adventures, I can recommend this. If you enjoy all three, then I think this title is a "can't miss" and even a bit underrated.
Posted: August 21st, 2014