The beginning, middle and end of a trilogy all present unique challenges that must be met to be considered successful.
The first must set the stage and get people hooked on the premise. The second must show that it’s not a one trick pony, that there is more than meets the eye while delivering on the established premise. The finale must bring the entirety of the experience together in a cohesive manner while leaving as few loose ends as possible.
In the case of the Raven’s second act, it both succeeds and fails in what it must accomplish.
The story picks up immediately after the cliffhanger ending of the first episode where Zellner’s very life is threatened. Dazed in a drug induced state and restrained to a chair, he must find a way to escape certain doom in order to find the answer to the question, “who is the Raven?”
To delve deep into the storyline and the events that unfold would be doing a disservice to the readers as that is the selling point of an adventure game like the Raven so I will keep the spoilers down a minimum.
What I will say however is that there is a rather drastic shift in perspectives and much of the episode will play out from the shoes of the supposed, “Raven”. The player will revisit the train and the boat from episode one and be able to see events play out from the other side.
It’s an excellent way to not only fill in the gaps of “how did he do it” but also to build on the character of the one they call the Raven, as till now he was an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, locked in a Rubick’s cube.
Whether he is who many claim him to be or what his true intentions are is still left to speculation but there are many revelations here that will surely surprise and delight players who had their own theories after completing episode one.
Unfortunately, while the story and plot continues to sail in strong winds, the game play and puzzles sink to the bottom of the ocean, once more.
Just as is the case in episode one, the controls are less than responsive. The characters move sluggishly and the many interactive elements are only clickable in very specific places or in such a large area that it’s often frustrating just to take a look at something or travel to a different screen.
The puzzles are few and far between and none of them felt challenging or interesting enough so much to the point that I didn’t really feel rewarded when I completed them.
Those were two points which I hoped would be addressed in the second episode so it was rather disappointing to see that there was almost nothing done in those departments.
The second episode of the Raven showed that it’s not just a one trick pony by changing up the perspective and continued on with its intriguing narrative but failed to follow through with the established premise of practical and interesting puzzles.
While those that enjoyed the first episode will have a good time playing through the halfway point of this tale, I have a feeling the finale will have to pull off quite the impressive feat to raise the Raven to being anything more than a slightly above average adventure game.
Fun Tidbit – While a person reveals himself to be “The Raven” in this episode, it’s up to you to figure out whether he’s telling the truth or not.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.