"The Raven — Legacy of a Master Thief is not a book adaptation, but it is clearly a loving homage to both Agatha Christie and her books, and one made by people with some skill."
Point & click adventure games and mysteries go hand in hand. They're both about putting together clues and solving puzzles... even if sometimes those clues are a rubber chicken and a pulley and the puzzle is "how to get across a chasm." Thus, the adaptations of Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes stories we've seen over the years are a natural fit for the genre. The Raven — Legacy of a Master Thief is not a book adaptation, but it is clearly a loving homage to both Agatha Christie and her books, and one made by people with some skill.
In this, the first chapter of three, you play as an aging Swiss constable named Zellner. He has been assigned to a boring job accompanying a train as it passes through his country on its way to Italy, and although he originally wishes his duty were more interesting, he definitely changes his mind well before the chapter is through. As it turns out, the train is carrying one half of a pair of amazing gems on its way to an exhibition in Cairo. The gem that's not on the train has already been stolen, and the leading suspect is a famous thief known as The Raven. But he's been dead for four years, hasn't he? By the end of this engaging chapter, you will have chased someone a very long way and solved a number of lesser mysteries, but larger questions such as the true identity of the thief will still be left unanswered until chapter two or three.
Playing The Raven will feel familiar to anyone who recognizes the words "point & click," so there is little worth saying about the mechanics or controls. However, I did find it interesting that the game includes a score — a feature I haven't seen in an adventure game in a long time. Solving optional mysteries, like figuring what happened to the Duchess' purse, gains you points, which you can then spend on hints. At the end of the game, you're given a rating (and achievements) based on the number of points you ended up with. As one chapter of an episodic game, reaching the end will take less than five hours, so the replayability offered by the scoring system is welcome. It's also nice to feel that you've earned your hints, although I appreciate the fact that the game furnishes you with enough points for a number of hints right from the get-go.
I also loved the look and sound of The Raven. The music is consistently appropriate and well done, and the voice actors do a great job with both their lines and their accents, even though nearly every member of the cast comes from a different place in Europe. The characters cover the gamut of age from around 10 to around 80, and the developers have done a great job with them in creating a cast who look "right." They're not all attractive, they're not all hideous... they're just normal folks. The environments are likewise excellent and cover a range of locales, from a luxurious train voyage through the mountains to a small cruise ship on the open sea.
Given all of that, if you enjoy point & click adventures, it's easy for me to suggest that you'd like this game. If you are also the type of person who watches shows like Castle or Rosemary & Thyme, "easy" changes to "no-brainer." The only thing about it that I don't like is that the other two chapters haven't already been released. Thankfully, they're scheduled to come out in August and September 2013 respectively, so I don't have very long to wait.