Release Date: January 22nd, 2018 (Nintendo Switch)
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: King Art Games
ESRB: Teen (Language, Mild Blood, Use of Alcohol, Violence)
Next month marks a year of me being the Gaming Editor here at Ouch That Hertz! Within that timeline, I have played many games and genres that I would have never otherwise played. Some are new favorites, like Ys VIII: Lacrimosa Of Dana, while others have crashed and burned. The time has now come for me to try a true point-and-click game, as games akin to Life Is Strangethat I place in a different genre. Today’s test subject for me and point-and-click games will be the recent Nintendo Switch port of The Raven Remastered. The original game was released on PC back in 2013 before being remastered and re-released on the other current generation consoles (or last generation? Nintendo’s timeline is always murky!) last year. It was initially released as an episodic game, but luckily the entire package is included in this release. Does that help make this a worthy addition to a console that has seen a lot of older ports but not a ton of current ones?
Included in this remastered package is bonus material that includes the game’s credits, various galleries, The Raven In Concert, and a soundtrack. Only the credits are unlocked from the beginning with the rest unlocking as the player plays through the game. This remaster has also made the graphics look great for their style. However, the character models are stiff and the animations are just slightly off- demonstrative of sheer laziness. It just leads the game little relevancy bore when compared to other episodic games like Life Is Strange. Another miss, though for this port specifically, is that the game does not support touch screen support even though it would makes the controls feel much more fluid.
The controls are pretty standard for the genre: go here, examine this, take that, combine these items, talk to everyone, etc. These controls are stiff and never flitting, to the point that even during the tutorial the instructions are not as clear as they could have been. All this to say that including touch support on a console that allows it would have greatly improved the player’s quality of life. With that said, the controls are serviceable for the player though not as smooth as a mouse and keyboard would be. The fact the Nintendo Switch is portable helps offset the stiff controls a bit, but does not wipe the gripe away entirely. Ultimately, with this being the bulk of the gameplay, such rigidity brings the enjoyment level down sharply.
Then there is the game’s plot that takes place in the saintly days of yore that was London 1964. The player is tasked with controlling a bumbling Swiss police constable character named Anton Jakob Zellner that is running an investigation in locales that includes the Swiss Alps and Cairo. His investigation revolves around a set of rubies where one has been stolen by the presumed-deceased world-famous thief The Raven. The second is on the train that Constable Zellner is riding when the game first begins. While the first episode starts off on a solid footing, the rest of the episodes deteriorate quickly and end up leaving much to be desired. Although, I do appreciate that the game has exceptional voice acting for the duration of the game, and not just the cutscenes.
While this game ultimately did not pull me into its grasp, I can see how fans of point-and-click games would appreciate it. Outside of that, the graphics are great for being a remaster, but the animations come off as lackluster and disappointing for the most part. The clunky controls to bring the game to consoles is the biggest pitfall of the game and causes this port to not be recommended unless the player has never played the game and wants the added portability that the Nintendo Switch brings. Even then, the story and everything else combines for just an average experience that I personally will circle back to nevermore. (Ryan Williford; Gaming Editor)
Review copy provided by THQ Nordic.