Mystery Case Files: Escape from Ravenhearst
(MOG-adventure)Review based on Steam (SE) version.
People are disappearing in Blackpool, bringing our detective back to the gates of the now-ruined Ravenhearst Manor once again.
Options include separate sliders for Music, Effects and Environment, Windowed, Custom Cursor, Hi-def and Subtitles. Choice of Casual or Master Detective ("Quit Holding My Hand!") mode.
What can I say about this game? Big Fish was once again pushing the envelope when they developed EFR, so the gameplay is not like any other game out there. There are no lists, no silhouettes, no items to return to the scenes... Instead, what we have is an adventure game with M
cenes.How it works:
The ghosts of Ravenhearst cannot help you directly, but they can alter the appearance of objects for a brief time. When you come upon a MOS
, the number of items you need to find will be pictured in Emma's locket, which you carry with you during the game. Finding these spiritually-charged articles will enable the spirits to call your attention to a specific area of the scene. In other words, they help you find items that will be helpful in your investigation.
There IS a rapid-misclick penalty... Morphing items you've already found will be returned to the scene!Story:
The story is told in a variety of ways, from encounters with the ghosts of Ravenhearst to journal entries to news clippings to live-action cutscenes. The acting is pretty good, with the occasional over-the-top, CAN YOU FEEL ME NOW?
If you read the game's description, you will have hopefully noticed the WARNING
there. When they say that this is an intense psychological thriller, they mean it. I won't spoil anything here, but some of the scenes you'll encounter and tasks you'll be required to do can evoke feelings ranging from discomfort to disgust to dread to Oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-have-nightmares-tonight!Sights and Sounds:
Some of the artwork in this game is absolutely breathtaking. I do have special feelings towards this game since I was at Big Fish's pre-release party, but this is not just nostalgia speaking. I so wish that the devs had included wallpapers in the CE version, as there are some I-want-to-frame-this-and-put-it-on-my-wall scenes. Lucky me, one of the artists shared some of the promo posters with me, so I actually have them on my wall!
The soundtrack is beautifully mood-setting, as you would expect from a Ravenhearst game. Quality sound effects and environmental tracks round out the sound package nicely.Interface:
We have a retractable, scrolling toolbar that holds any items we find, per usual. We do NOT have HINTS
during the adventure portion of the game, although hints are available during the MOS scenes. The rate at which they refill depends on which gameplay mode you choose.Puzzles:
We have a lot to read in our journal
, but even if you're playing on Casual Mode, there will be neither hints, nor puzzle solutions documented by our intrepid detective. You're going to have to actually write the clues down yourself, folks! Since this is the standard edition of the game (hence no strategy guide), you'll very likely need the WALKTHROUGH
at some point, so enjoy that handy dandy link!
Puzzles are SKIPPABLE
... Mostly. When a puzzle requires the use of an inventory item, there is no SKIP available.What is the CE Content?
For those curious about what Bonus Content was included with the CE, I'll list it here:NOT available in the Steam version
- Strategy Guide (pictures only, no text)
- Morphing Items in the Journal (find them all to unlock two black & white, classic-style hidden object scenes)
- Door tokens
Door tokens, for those who aren't familiar, are small circular partial-images that go into your inventory. You have to "charge" the tokens by placing the images back into the scenes from which they were taken. There is no distinguishable pattern to where these pieces might have come from, so it's a real challenge to find where they all belong. You cannot proceed past a certain point in the game until you charge and place them all, so the CE is actually much more difficult than the SE version!
There is no bonus chapter in the CE, so you won't be missing any of the story if you play this (Steam) version.Verdict:
This third visit to Ravenhearst manor is not for children or the faint of heart, as the story is truly twisted and disturbing. Although the idea of morphing object games never caught on, Escape from Ravenhearst
is beautifully put-together, and outstanding as only a Mystery Case Files game can be. Absolutely recommended for adventure-lovers and fans of the Ravenhearst storyline.