GAME NAME: Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments
PUBLISHER(S): Focus Home Interactive
RELEASE DATE(S): September 30th, 2014
I have never played or even cared to play a Sherlock Holmes game for some reason and I’m actually glad I got the chance to play this one. I’m sure you all have heard of the famous Sherlock Holmes at least at one point in your life and have always wondered how is he so darn good at solving mysteries. Well, you finally get to put yourself in his shoes and also take part in solving very elaborate and well thought out crime mysteries. This has to be one of the most in depth mystery games that I’ve ever played, simply because of the various ways to solve the crime and seemingly having no true wrong outcome.
As you start, the intro to the game is very similar to a movie intro with it showing all who “stars” within the game. You first take control of Watson while he is trying to avoid Sherlock Holmes, who is blindfolded and shooting a pistol around the room in an attempt to break vases. Here is where you get a sense of Holmes’ very intriguing detective skills as he notices someone else entering the room and who it is all by listening to footsteps and other patterns he has observed. That was just the main introduction to the game and very shortly after you are already trying to solve a murder case without wasting anytime.
The controls of Sherlock Holmes are really well done with all of the investigation commands, but the running kind of seems a little underdeveloped in my opinion. Other than that, its a very well controlled game and it has more options than almost any other mystery style game I’ve played. You move around with the analog stick like most third person games and use the buttons to do actions, such as bring up your notebook for evaluating clues, opening doors, talking to people or to go into a first person investigation mode. You find yourself on many crime scenes and will begin to question people around the scenes and inspect their overall actions, very similar to L.A. Noire only not as annoying.
Upon closely examining suspects or innocent bystanders you will be able to notice them sweating or possibly see other clues that could possibly relate them to the crime. When investigating the actual murder scenes or crimes, you will have to pay close attention to all details that could be relevant in solving the case. This game is highly concentrated on using the investigation mechanic in a first person mode where you select certain items or clues with a mouse style circle cursor to look closer or get a key information that can help in the case. You can also activate Holmes special sensory mode called “Sherlock Vision” by pressing “L1” to see things that wouldn’t stand out to anyone else other than you. This “Sherlock Vision” can reveal key clues or evidence that could’ve been overlooked, such as dust that may be missing from an area to show that something was taken and can help you in tracking down the culprit.
Once you have gained enough clues from a scene, a deduction board can be used to determine who or how the perpetrator can be found. The deduction board can give the player multiple options on how to solve the case and can leave some instances up to a moral decision that could affect later gameplay. There are a total of six extremely well designed cases to solve that will keep you interested throughout each one and ultimately could take between one to three hours to complete each case. Like I mentioned before, this game has a very in depth system behind it and to each case there are at least 3-5 possible outcomes with about 6-10 different end results to each case as well. Frogwares did a fantastic job in creating a truly astounding Sherlock Holmes experience and barely limiting the player from exploring what is needed. The amount of detail within each area you explore is quite polished and deserves to be noticed.
The voice acting is very well done, even though it doesn’t touch the quality from games like The Last of Us. The music and ambiance are overly fitting to Crimes and Punishments and make the experience a bit more engaging.
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments is executed very well and definitely is how any crime/mystery game should be experienced. This game was released as retail or digital for $59.99 and honestly I feel it isn’t priced terribly since it feels up there and at home with some other AAA titles. For anyone who likes mystery style games with an open-ended feel and multiple ways to solve a crime, then I believe Sherlock Holmes is a game worth checking out and you won’t be disappointed at what it delivers.