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The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief — Chapter 2

"This chapter manages to mostly avoid the trap that most "part 2 of 3" games/movies/books/everything fall into."

In my review of The Raven Chapter 1, I was effusive in my praise for every aspect of the game. The only thing I actually complained about was that I'd have to wait for Chapters 2 and 3 to solve the rest of the mystery. After playing Chapter 2 ("Ancestry of Lies"), my enthusiasm is perhaps a bit reduced, but just a tiny bit.

Not surprisingly for a second chapter released just a month after the first, it features the same engine and cast as its predecessor. Thus, the controls, visuals and sounds are just as good this time around as they were before. In fact, the one character who was really hideous in Chapter 1 even looks a little better — I think she just doesn't get shown in lighting conditions as unflattering as the first time around. The puzzles are equally good as well, with only one that actually left me pixel hunting. Since Chapter 2 retains the original's "points for hints" system, though, I was able to find out what to click on without spoiling the actual solution to the puzzle, so it wasn't a fun-breaker.

Surprisingly, however, this chapter manages to mostly avoid the trap that most "part 2 of 3" games/movies/books/everything fall into. It doesn't feel like filler material that simply serves to extend the length of time between the beginning and the true ending of the saga. This chapter picks up mere moments after the end of Chapter 1, with you as Constable Zellner having been captured by a bad person who will kill you if you don't escape. The psychedelic stop-frame visuals during this section are a great manifestation of your drugged state. Unfortunately, until you guess the proper sequence of actions that will get you through it, you'll find yourself repeating the same few minutes over and over. A frustrating beginning, but once you're past it, everything's fine again.

The real secret to The Raven's avoidance of "part 2 of 3 syndrome" is that halfway through this chapter, you reach (almost) the end of the story and start over. This time around, you're the accomplice to the main baddie, so you get to see the side of the story that you missed in Chapter 1. You're the grunt, but you're planning to double-cross your boss from the start, so maybe you're not such a bad guy after all. The story moves more quickly in this portion of the episode, since you don't need to repeat every moment that you've already played. Happily, this doesn't feel like a retread of what you've already played — it really does fill in the gaps you've been wondering about.

Of course, the flip side of this structure is that you must play Chapter 1 before you play Chapter 2. But with as much as I enjoyed that, I'd recommend that you do so anyway. Still, Constable Zellner's story in Chapter 2 leaves off on a cliffhanger, and the accomplice's story only gets to a certain point, so there's still plenty to look forward to in Chapter 3. I didn't love this chapter quite as much as I loved the first, but I'd still happily recommend it to anyone who likes point 'n' click adventure games.

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