The Raven Remastered (Switch) Review
Release Date: January 22, 2019
Publisher/Developer: Nordic Games/KING Art
Platform: Nintendo Switch (previously on PS4, PS3, Steam)
Several times lately I've been able to re-review a game for a new generation. The Switch has been a great place for games to get a second life. The Raven knocks my record out of the park, with this being the fourth time I've been selected to see how it fares. If you've followed me since I started, I reviewed the original PC release in 2013, the PS3 episodic release in 2014, the PS4 remaster in 2018, and now we have the Switch port. Needless to say I've been through the adventure enough times to know what I'm in for, so this review really boils down to graphical comparisons and the pricing structure.
For the uninitiated, The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief is an adventure game similar to a classic Agatha Christie novel. You spend your time playing as Constable Zellner as he tries to help solve a string of thefts that are linked to the titular antagonist. Zellner travels abroad on train and cruise liner, ending up in Egypt. Puzzles are standard fare, finding the right combination of things to say or items to pick up usually pushes the story forward. There are a few sidequests here and there, giving a bit of flexibility to your tale, as you can choose whether you pursue them. In the PS4 release they were linked to trophies, which are obviously not part of this release. It's up to you to decide whether that's more freeing or frustrating. When the remaster came out, owners of the original on Steam were given a free upgrade as well.
The original release's graphics still look as awkward as ever, but are much more polished in the remastering. It's a straight port to the Switch, so you're getting the same exact release with all it's benefits and detriments. Colors are more natural, and animations were upgraded from that first release. The Switch is a wonderful place to play games like this as the portability allows these "virtual novels" to come with us, and the game is not hardware-taxing so there's no noticeable slowdown or graphical downgrades. I also had issue on the PS4 and here as well with how the episodes are packaged as a whole so gamers who are revisiting the title can't skip ahead to chapters 2 or 3. It makes it more frustrating as Zellner has no run function, whether waltzing up to a table for a hearty chat or slowly pacing his way through a blazing inferno. While things never really become deadly, there is no pause or manual save. The game has an audio clue that it's saving because you found the next step, again showing the linearity as there's no real way to screw up what you're doing. That linearity can bite you as well with traditional point-and-click gaming as you have to do things in just the order intended by the developer to proceed.
The straight port of the game also doesn't take advantage of any new features on the Switch, such as touchscreen choices of narrative bits or tapping on searchable sections, something I'd love to see on a game that's been on the PC and already has mouse controls baked in at some point. Therefore, you are 100 percent getting the same game you could buy on the PS4 that happens to be portable as well. While the Switch maintains the console edition's $29.99 price tag (even if purchased on PlayStation 3) it is available on Steam for $10 cheaper.
Again, The Raven Remastered is the same intriguing tale with the same grating problems. It's here for the Switch now, opening it up to a whole new audience. I still feel it's worth a visit for anyone looking for a nice, easygoing mystery with a few simple puzzles, but it's not what a hardcore gamer is looking for. The Switch is slowly gaining in popularity even with the mainstream crowd, so there are bound to be plenty of people who've never seen The Raven before who are in for a treat. The Raven Remastered has it's ultimate version here on the Nintendo Switch.
-This is the definitive edition of the game, offering the same level of quality as the PS4 remaster in portable form
-The voice acting is done very well and adds to the depth of the story
-Classic point-and-click gameplay
-Old school point-and-click frustrations as you have to figure out the puzzles as the developers intended
-Could benefit from touchscreen integration and a run button
-Chapters are locked for people who may have seen the story but want to revisit