Review – The Raven Remastered (Switch)

There is a huge world that we, people living in the Americas, barely know or talk about when it comes to gaming: the world of European point and click adventures. We grew up playing games like Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, and even the more recent Telltale games and often talk about how there’s not a lot of variety in the genre, but that’s not true. Europe has been publishing slower-paced, more narrative-driven adventure games non-stop ever since the 90’s, and they still shove out a ton of titles to this day. Microids has the Syberia games under its belt and Deep Silver has recently re-released Secret Files: Tunguska for the Switch, for instance.

Then there’s THQ Nordic. Between the releases of games like Rad Rodgers and Darksiders III, the now Austrian-based publisher is doing a great job of pushing these lesser known adventure games to a wider audience with titles like The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 and The Raven Remastered, now available on the Switch.

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Sounds thrilling.

If you’re used to the more exciting and faster-paced adventure titles made in the US, then The Raven Remastered is a hard pass for you. The sole fact that your main character is a middle-aged Swiss constable should be enough for you to understand the pacing of this title, as well as the speed in which said protagonist moves. Thankfully, The Raven Remastered makes up for its slow pace with a great story worth getting invested in.

The Raven Remastered is, for all intents and purposes, an Agatha Christie game, despite not being written by Agatha Christie. They still should have added her name to the title just like Ubisoft adds Tom Clancy’s name to any game they develop featuring a gun or the slightest hint of a military-inspired plot. The heist-centered storyline, the fact the game starts off inside the damn Orient Express train and the design of your protagonist, a total Hercule Poirot rip-off, should all be enough to convince fans of Mrs. Christie to given The Raven Remastered a shot.

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Not-Poirot meeting Not-Agatha Christie.

The linear experience is set in various exotic locales, ranging from the Swiss Alps to Cairo. Your task is to capture the Raven, a world-famous cat burglar previously thought to be dead who’s hell-bent on stealing a ruby known as the Eye of the Sphinx. There is an extra dose of motivation for you to complete this task, as the main character, Anton Zellner, is desperate to showcase how much of a good cop he actually is, despite a somewhat unexciting career and advanced age.

The Raven Remastered‘s gameplay is what you would expect from a point and click adventure being ported to a console. Move your fat constable around, pick up items, talk to people, mash items together and solve some simple puzzles in order to proceed to the next chapter. The interface might be decent, but adapting the gameplay to a controller proved to be a clunky effort. Zellner moves around like he’s always drunk: the sole act of trying to walk on a straight line can often be harder than most puzzles in the game. Despite the fact the Switch is a system that features a freaking touchscreen, said compatibility hasn’t been programmed in the game.

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The fanboyism continues.

Visually-speaking, The Raven Remastered is a mixed bag. Granted, it is a game originally released for the previous generation of consoles, but it’s still quite disappointing in some areas. The environments are varied and well-designed, but the same can’t be said about the human characters. It looks like everyone is made out of plastic, featuring an excessively shiny skin and robotic facial animations, as if they all were animatronics in an amusement park. Thankfully, the same can’t be said about the sound design: with the exception of a few poorly voiced child characters (hey, it’s not easy to find talented kids out there), everyone else does a very good job, and their accents sound believable for the most part. The soundtrack is another point that deserves a lot of praise, as it’s fully comprised of completely orchestrated tunes.

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Why do the butlers always look creepy?

The Raven Remastered isn’t jam packed with adrenaline or excitement, and it could have received a bit more love in the gameplay department, but if you’re into heist stories and mysteries, you could do a lot worse. This is the most Agatha Christie game I have ever played in my life, so if you’re a fan of the writer, and I know there are millions out there, this is a must for you.

Graphics: 6.5

While the environments look colorful and well-detailed, the characters look way too plastic for anyone to believe they’re supposed to resemble actual human beings.

Gameplay: 5.5

The lack of mouse support for a game like this is noticeable: your character movement is very slow and clunky. Menu interface is decent, at least.

Sound: 8.5

The Raven Remastered features a fully orchestrated soundtrack and pretty good voice acting for the most part, the only exception being the child characters.

Fun Factor: 7.5

The Raven Remastered makes up for its technical mishaps with some clever puzzles and an actually engaging story, especially if you’re a fan of Poirot inspired crime novels.

Final Verdict: 7.0

The Raven Remastered is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of The Raven Remastered was provided by the publisher.

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