Focus Home InteractiveDeveloped By:
M for Mature (Blood, Drug Reference, Violence)Release Date:
September 30, 2014Screenshots: LinkAmazon: Buy Now!Written By:
Matthew PruntyOctober 21, 2014
Ė Sherlock Holmes has been on the case for more than 127 years, solving various mysteries that would boggle most peopleís minds. Throughout the years, the literary works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have been interpreted numerous ways from television shows, to movies and even video games. While the former have stayed the course, the latter has been a hit or miss with trying to adapt the literary works into a more modern setting. In come Crimes & Punishment: Sherlock Holmes; the latest adventure romp that has both Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson perusing the streets of London trying to some ingenuous mysteries in classic Holmes style. I can certainly say, itís very refreshing to see an interactive take on the canon of Sherlock Holmes that stays faithful to its original works.
At the heart of Crimes & Punishment is the comradery and teamwork of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, which is ever presence throughout the game. While many will label Holmes as crazy, Watson understands his madness as there is always a reason for it. Case in point with the opening sequence of the game; Watson enters their home, only to have to dodge gunfire as Holmes is trying to shoot a shipment of vases blindfolded. As a third party, you tend to side with Watson when you see the madness that Holmes caries out throughout the game, however itís all for a reason and helps you better understand both Holmes and the relationship he has with Watson. Holmes is an unconventional genius who thinks nothing is out of the ordinary if it pertains to his cases, while Watson is the trustworthy, helpful studious doctor that lends his support and intellect to help Holmes solve his many mysteries. Both are great individuals, but together they are a thing of legend.
Because developer Frogwares wanted to do the Sherlock Holmes canon justice, they were very meticulous in recreating the world in which Sherlock Holmes plays. Throughout your many cases in Crimes & Punishment, you will see and hear witty banter segments going on between the variety of characters in the games; especially between Holmes and Watson. Itís in these sequences you learn more about the characters and pick up on hints and clues as to what you may want to look into to help solve your case. Itís also here where the developer attempts to humanize the individuals in order to make them more relatable and immerse you into the adventure. It also helps when every character you interact within the game has his or her own unique personality thatís fleshed out through their distinct idiosyncrasies, solid voice acting and physical presence. No two characters act, talk or think the same way. Some often will throw a curveball in your investigation, which will get you second-guessing you thought process on the clues you gathered. Most of the time you will find yourself judging your interactions off these key distinctions and not the words they speak as someone can be telling you what you believe to be the truth, however their body language tells you otherwise.
Throughout your interactions with potential suspects and canvasing various locations, Holmes and Watson will unearth clues that will help them piece together the case. The clues you come across can be something a simply as a note lying on a desk, to a broken vase and even a strand of hair found on the ground. Some clues may even be invisible to the naked eye and this is where Holmes investigative abilities come into play. One of these abilities is Holmesí ďsixth senseĒ ability, which will allow you to discover clues like a faint floral smell or the location of a broken window that has sense been fixed and unnoticeable to the common person. Another one of his abilities is referred to as ďmodus operandiĒ (or imagination), which allows Holmes to piece together a sequence of events that he believes happened in order to make sense of some of the clues before him. Throughout the game you will utilize these abilities to help put 2 and 2 together in order to solve your case, which in a way brings a little element of hidden object games into the fold. Culprits will marvel at your astute abilities as if they were some sort of magical power, but in reality you were there to witness to piece by piece process that allowed you to deduce your judgment.
Throughout each case, you will have access to your journal and Holmesí psyche. In journal, Holmes will keep track of the various clues heís discovered, who he conversed with, detailed descriptions of suspects and a map of London, allowing you to easily get around from point A to point B. Holmesí psyche is presented in an interesting way. Itís as if you were inside of Holmes brain; as you piece the different puzzle pieces together, you see synaptic connections being formed based on the clues you discovered and the information that was given to you. The interesting part about this is that within Holmesí head, you can deduce who you believe to be the culprit and bring them to justice. Itís as if Holmes as final say-so on who did it and who will arrest the individuals. The blessing and curse with this ability is that if you donít deduce correctly or obtain all the clues necessary, you can easily convict someone of a crime that they didnít do (though the game wonít actually let you). And itís these gifts and abilities that put Holmes and Watson some interesting positions.
Mini-games are scattered throughout Crimes & Punishment, but done so in a way that doesnít frustrate you, but intrigue you as they are essential to finding new clues and/or solving the case. Some of these mini-games include lock picking, mixing different compounds to make a solution, tossing a harpoon a strung up pig or even scaling a wall outside in order to evade your captures. However if you ever get stuck in a mini-game or simply find it too hard, you are given the option to skip it and continue on with the game. After two playthroughs, I can say the inclusion of this feature is nice because some of the mini-games will try your patience to the point you may stop playing the game in order to take a breakÖ LOL. Itís not that bad, but you can easily get frustrated with some of them.
While Crimes & Punishment: Sherlock Holmes as a cross platform, cross generational title, you can see that the developer took the time with each version of the game in order to faithfully take advantage of the capabilities of that respective console. The visuals a very solid and detailed when it comes to facial animation, fluidity of movement and the environments you traverse throughout London. The highlight of the visuals comes in two forms: the lighting and interrogation sequences. Whether during the day or in the pitch black of the night, careful placement of lighting helps to enhance certain scenes and the tone of the case. An example of this is when Holmes and Watch were investigating a double murder in one of the London allies; the lighting help set the mood of suspense, mystery and confusion. With the interrogation sequences, Holmes gets up close and personal with each individual as he assess their presence and tries to get information out of them. From the wrinkles around the eyes, to the movement of the jaw and lips as they speak, itís as if the developer simply digitized a real-life human being in order to get the physical; characters down pact.
While the current craze surrounding games is open-world exploration, itís very refreshing for Crimes & Punishment: Sherlock Holmes to limit your exploration to the key areas where the crime took place and any additional location that could possibly hold a key. While you could easily explore all of London and get wrapped up in everything, the game no longer becomes a Sherlock Holmes game, but that of an Assassinís Creed /GTA/inFamous series. Sherlock never went looking for a case as one would always fall in his lap; whether because of Scotland Yard or his astute brother Mycroft. I will admit there were quite a bit of load times in between locations, however Frogwares remedied them with the ability to access your journal or Holmesí psyche in order to deduce clues while riding in your carriage to the next location.
Diving into the world of Sherlock Holmes is always enjoyable when the material present is both entertaining and engrossing. With Crimes & Punishment: Sherlock Holmes, we are treated to an experience that stays true to the canon, while also presenting the world in an ingenious way as to draw you in. As a fan of lore, Crimes & Punishment is the first game in a long time that made feel as if itís a natural extension of the world. From the world, to the character development and interactions, Crimes & Punishment is an enthralling experience that is enjoyable, regardless of platform.9/
10Review Copy Provided By The Publisher
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