by Marjolein Verheij, reviewed on
You don’t know Jack
Forget Jack Sparrow and his lighthearted humor, Raven’s Cry will pull you into a dark, gloomy and dangerous era where pirates weren’t happy go lucky, but criminals, filthy and savage out to get whatever they wanted with whatever force needed. Octane Games’ goal is to create a pirate game that mixes reality with fiction to show you the terrifying beauty of the 17th Century Caribbean. You’ll visit the unsavory pirate holdfast of Port Royal, the elegant avenues of luscious Havana and wander around a lost Aztec City deep in the jungles of the Spanish Main. You will creep through dark alleys filled with drunken braves and walk along curved, cobbled roads where whores ply their trade, only to be pulled back inside a tavern by their hair after escaping an evil client.
Raven’s Cry is a dark action-adventure that tells the story of Christopher Raven. When he was a young boy, he and his parents fled Scotland aboard a ship bound for the New World to escape the famine wrecking havoc in Europe at the time. Soon after settling in, their village was attacked by pirates, not common criminals but the Devil’s Tines, a group of bloodthirsty murderers and deserters. They raided the village, leaving none but young Christopher alive but with one less hand. The boy swore to himself he would find a way to avenge the death of his kin and kill Neville Scranton, leader of the Devil’s Tines and every other pirate who took part in the massacre.
The pirate life
The game starts as Raven, now grown up and fallen into the life of a pirate himself, sets out on his quest to track down the murderers of his family. His missing hand is replaced by a curved blade which he wields to great effect. He is an anti-hero, a man who fights with his own demons and morals. The choices you make for him during his voyage will decide where the story takes you and what kind of man Raven becomes, but the choices are never black and white. And Raven will never become heroic, he is a pirate after all. The only difference is that he’s not out for fame or treasure. He does what he feels needs doing to get his revenge.
The choices are going to be either “bad”, “worse” or “badass”, never “good”. You might choose to intimidate another pirate when interrogating him in a dirty tavern with a pistol, or go “badass” and hit a knife through the pirate’s hand on the table. Once you have got the information you wanted there’s the choice to walk away or take the lantern from the table and set the pirate on fire. Even choices between killing a man with a knife or a pistol are not uncommon in this game, but it’s up to you if Raven will become a conscienceless man whose ends justify his means or a seeker of renegade justice.
In for a sixpence, in for a doubloon
Raven’s Cry’s story is divided into six chapters, each featuring multiple locations and their own unique missions, themes and characters. The game is a melting pot of different gameplay styles. Most of the time, the game is a Third Person Action-adventure but you will also find yourself helming a full-fledged pirate ship into battle and navigating your way through the harsh waters of the world map. With an open world at your disposal, the choices are endless. Weapons will include a ‘sword pistol’ and an ‘axe-rifle’ and of course the for the era iconic flintlock pistols. The combat is fast and brutal, hack ‘n slash is combined with historical weaponry and special skills like ‘Fear Power’, cursed ‘Voodoo Charms’ and special moves like ‘Fear’ and ‘Frenzy’ that bring a tactical element into the game’s combat. Your enemies will bleed and suffer, so I hope you’re not afraid of seeing blood… lots and lots of blood.
We will have to wait until 2013 before this game hits the shelves, but when it does even pirate fans will shake in their buckled boots. This will be an adventure they will never forget.