Raven’s Cry: Less plundering, more blundering

February 24, 2015


I want to like Raven’s Cry. Actually, I take that back. I like the naval combat in Raven’s Cry. Actually, I take that back. I like the naval combat in Raven’s Cry when I turn down all of the graphical options as low as they go to bring the frame rate to a reasonable level. I expect the seas to be choppy. My system exceeds the recommended specs handily, and running at medium settings produces a pirate-themed slideshow.

On my initial outing, the game froze during the introductory ship battle. On my second attempt, it froze in the same place. After ratcheting down the settings, I was able to complete the introductory naval engagement, and it was a lot of fun. Speed and steering are both tied to the left analog stick, which can be problematic because you’ll end up speeding up when you mean to just turn to port.


Cannons have multiple ammunition types which can be changed on the fly, and enemy ships have multiple HP areas. Cannon elevation can be set with the shoulder buttons, and the whole thing feels more like a simulation than the arcade-like battles of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The battles are easier to navigate in Black Flag, but I felt more like I earned the victory in Raven’s Cry. Maneuvering a ship and aiming cannons is difficult, and when you master both, naval victory feels great.

Between bouts of ship-to-ship combat, Christopher Raven winds up on land, where he doesn’t really seem at home. He seems to glide across the ground instead of ever really walking upon it, the combat is clunky and unresponsive, and every time Raven interacts with another character any immersion that you had is shattered. Raven swings from sounding like he doesn’t care to wanting to run everybody through. And those he talks to don’t fare much better. Some conversations only have voice acting for one party, others have voice acting for both people but lines are dropped leaving you with dead air if you forgot to turn on subtitles. And the freezes continue on land. Raven’s Cry froze several times while trying to take part in conversations or combat on land.


Raven’s Cry needs editing. Badly. It should be purely a naval combat game in which towns are merely menus. Don’t make me wander through town to repair my ship, buy supplies, hire new crew and move the story forward. Getting rid of the land combat and the voice acting wholesale would improve Raven’s Cry immensely, and would have allowed Reality Pump to focus on and improve the naval combat. I want to play AC4’s ship combat with the ability to heal mid-battle because I had the foresight to hire a carpenter and bring lumber and sailcloth with me. I want to escape a battle by the skin of my teeth, plunder a ship for its cargo and limp back to port for repairs and restock.

Unfortunately, Raven’s Cry is not that game. Those mechanics exist, and they are fun to play between freezes, but I can’t honestly recommend this to anybody. There are far better pirate games available for less money that won’t freeze multiple times per play session.

Pros: Interesting naval combat mechanics like mid-battle repair
Cons: Freezing issues, have to turn down all settings to run at acceptable frame rate, missing or dropped voice work, clunky on-foot combat

Score: 1/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.