Let’s get this out of the way first; Raven’s Cry is not a good game. In fact, it’s a terrible game and it isn’t worth its laughable $54.99 price tag. Raven’s Cry is developed by the same team that created the incredibly flawed Two Worlds back in 2007, and that’s the saddest thing about Raven’s Cry. It suffers from exactly the same problems Two Worlds suffered over seven years ago. Polish development team Reality Pump Studios have seemingly learned nothing from the problems that plagued Two Worlds, and it shows in Raven’s Cry.
There are just so many things wrong with this game that I could just make a list of bullet points with a little score on the bottom for you to read. I’m not going to do that though, because unlike Reality Pump Studios, I’m going to make an effort for you.
Raven’s Cry is an RPG set in the Caribbean in the 17th century. You play as Christopher Raven, the lovable hero that assaults innocent women and is a massive jerk to everyone he meets. Did I say lovable? I meant awful. Christopher Raven is one of the worst protagonists in a long time. The only emotion this guy ever portrays is aggression. He acts like he hates everyone and, because of this, it’s absolutely impossible to relate to him in any way. I get it, he’s a pirate, but there have been good examples in the past of likable protagonists that were pirates. Christopher Raven is just an unlikable scumbag. One of the more ridiculous cutscenes has Christopher assaulting an innocent woman for a small piece of information. The way the game portrays it makes it absolutely laughable, combined with the terrible voice acting and you will be hating Christopher Raven rather quickly.
The problems that plague this game affected me right from the offset. It took me three tries to even make it past the tutorial section due to crashes. I also crashed on the main menu twice. You know a game is going to be great when the main menu doesn’t even work properly. That’s the biggest problem with Raven’s Cry: its glaring technical issues. The game suffers from constant crashes, and even if you can get the game working, the bugs, glitches and frame rate issues will you have you quitting the game before you even get started. You can find Early Access games on Steam that run better than this fully priced “finished” game.
After a small tutorial in which the game teaches you the basics, you set off into Raven’s Cry’s huge world. Christopher gets a ship early on, and the game gives you full access to its vast world right from the get-go. You can travel to different towns, cities and locations via your ship. However, in the time I played, I only found a small amount of side quests, with most of the cities being vast spaces of nothing. You will see some citizens walking around, but you can’t interact with them and feel lifeless. Once you leave the confides of a city, you can explore a small amount of wilderness around it, but again, most of the time it’s empty and barren with not much or in some cases, absolutely nothing to do.
Occasionally, you will encounter enemy ships during your sail between locations. This is where naval combat comes into play. Naval combat is one of the two forms of combat in Raven’s Cry, the other being combat on foot. Both are equally dull and terrible. Naval combat features three different types of cannon ammo that can be fired at the enemy ship, with one of the worst aiming reticles I’ve ever seen. A small cannon icon in the bottom right of the screen can be moved up and down to show how high or low your shots will go. It’s clunky and you will be missing your target 90% of the time. The game does feature an aiming bar similar to Assassin’s Creed III, but only when you’re in specific camera angles.
Combat against AI ships is an incredibly frustrating experience. Too many times I couldn’t even hit my opponent due to their positioning being in between one of my two aiming reticle heights. This meant I had to move away or get closer, but as AI ships are just as quick as you, this was near impossible to perform. Your best bet, especially at the beginning of the game while your ship is still weak, is to just run away from the fight. Your ship can be upgraded in different ways, such as giving the cannons more damage or making the hull stronger, but it’s expensive.
Combat on the ground is an equally dull affair. Christopher has a sword, a gun, his Raven and a few other items. You can swing your sword for a light or heavy attack and also block if you time it correctly. The game has a small amount of input lag making blocking enemy strikes difficult. Because of this, combat essentially boils down to spamming your heavy or light attack against your enemies until they are dead. The game also has a regenerating health system, so if Christopher sheaths his sword, he will slowly regain his health. Once I learned this, if I was ever low on health and without healing items, I would simply run around in circles dodging enemy strikes as my health regenerated. Enemies are always the same and fight you in exactly the same way every time. It becomes a chore to fight people and, eventually, you will just not want to do it at all.
aven’s Cry has a few decent features amongst all the bad. Christopher can level up and, with this, gain new skills. However, the system is shallow, with not many skills being on offer compared to other RPGs on the market. As I mentioned earlier, your ship can be upgraded and you can also hire specific crew for different jobs on your ship. Crew members have different advantages and disadvantages leading to a nice variety of crew members. The problem is, all of these features are pointless when the fundamentals of Raven’s Cry are so poorly executed.
Due to the poor optimization of Raven’s Cry, you will most likely be running on the medium to low settings in the game. Textures are blurry and the water looks like mud. The best looking model in the game is Christopher himself and even then it’s not great. The graphics sometimes end up looking like an early Xbox 360 game from 2006. Animations are terrible and sometimes laugh out loud funny. The jumping animation may be one of the worst in the history of video games. Sound effects are also bad, with cutscenes having no emotion or intensity due to little or poor sound effects. It’s just a mess.
Raven’s Cry has some decent ideas, but everything is executed so poorly that it’s completely pointless. You can see the potential for a decent game as you play, but the bugs, glitches, poor voice acting and awful combat ruin the experience. This game is not worth the full price, heck, it’s not worth anything. If you want a decent Action-Adventure game involving pirates, go out and buy Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, it’s a better game and $25 cheaper.
Original Author: Zak Murkin