In a theme of trying to condense video games together into logical sense. Today I am Sherlock Holmes. Detective extraordinaire and legend in literature, television and movies. Even J.B. Fletcher had the gall to have a pilot episode of killing me off.
While the developers of Sherlock Homes: The Testament are indie as it can get. The video game works with the budget it had. Firstly, the intro of said game has a development tone of boarder lining PS2 and XB360 styles. Firstly, two girls enter an attic to find a puppet box with Sherlock and Watson dolls. Next we see Sherlock and Watson enter a study by some aristocrat. After going through this particular tutorial mode the next thing we all know, a mystery is afoot.
While the story line is linear. The areas which we visit are little more than. While areas like the late bishop’s room is still a slight case of tutorial and story mode. The next being the London streets and a Hospital are not. The game in conjunction goes back to the introduction sequence with the children and though in seriousness could have been neglected. One character in particular states Sherlock and Watson are their Grandparents.
Now true to form Professor Moriarty is up to shenanigans. And the game develops conscientiously. Firstly, there’s science involved with utilizing Sherlocks chemistry desk. This is used to deduce chemical reactions to further deduce evidence is logically significant. Secondly, his personal library of multiple subjects which are used to look up articles which may prove to be significant to said murder or situation we are investigating. Third, we have moments of switching between key characters. Specifically Sherlock and Watson in areas where the talents of Sherlock and Watson are needed and utilized. Finally is Sherlocks deductive reasoning. This particular section of the game is crucial to the game and is the only key to moving the game forward. While observing whichever crime or investigation scene Sherlock is currently working in. Additionally evidence attaching to the observations are subjected to the player to create logical connections. However, the game is misleading to make the player believe everyone would have the same innate logic. The only hints in this segment is when all observations, clues and evidence turn from yellow to green. Conversely if you’re not logically correct the trifecta would be coloured red.
While all these mechanics are weaving through the game. It does come with its faults. A buzz kill in game play flow are all the mini tasks which you have to complete. Moments include playing chess, placing pins in a particular order and also moving tablets with as much ineptitude as Candy Crush. Greater annoyance is the video game laughing at your face because without the degree of solving a 20 sided Rubic cube, it will take forever to solve the puzzles.
While Sherlock Holmes: The Testament (SHTT) was a simple video game story. Sherlock Holmes Crimes and Punishments took everything SHTT came across as the same game, but but like a teenager on five cans of Monster.
The premises in this installment is Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson go on a string of mysteries which don’t necessarily link together fully. However, within said mysteries comes new mechanics. Conversely same mechanics, but optimized.
Firstly is our Sherlock Holmes Super Detective Vision. The scenery turns into a shad of blue and hints glow. From foot trails, blood tracks and weapons pop up. Which totally helps, I know it’s a first world problem. However, in the prior game it was a bitch and a half to be told, “You need to find the missing weapon.” Three hours later and two block away from the actual murder in a gutter is the knife with blood I was supposed to innately know was around. Crimes and Punishments solved this issue.
The next optimized mechanic is the interrogation aspect. Certain characters are interrogated and thus we have to pretty much look over the person a piece together who they are. Examples include a poor old widow. From her crows feet, to her wedding ring, her bonnet and cane. Everything is examined and then used against her to make her spill the beans on some aspect of the case. This is a mechanic Murdered: Soul Suspect was trying to do and failed miserably at. Sherlock nails it.
Another mechanic which is added to the game is Sherlock’s costume closet. Based upon certain moments of the game we have to disguise ourselves to find a witness and fit in with the environment. The only problem I saw with this whole thing is literally using this mechanic all but three times out of six cases we have to solve.
Now while we do have cases to solve, Crimes and Punishment drives in a different direction without killing itself. Firstly is the revamp of Sherlock’s deduction skills. Every clue becomes a brain cell which logically when connected to another will connect to another clue. These connections will then auto connect to a possible conclusion which if initiated will lead Sherlock and John to find the bad guy. However, with this comes multiple endings. It’s not I’m a total fan of multi endings, I love the idea I can alter a game innately with my game play which is logical. Crimes and Punishment pulls this off, till we all realize these multi-endings add up to a final conclusion of the game which results in an overall ending. This as well is a multi-ending as well. Thus the game really wants you to play over again and again. I mean at one point or another you can lock a kid up for possibly killing a full grown man. Or you can lock up the actual killer and call it a day.
The next best thing to hit this installment is finally being able to do the mini-games which don’t necessarily add to the game play but back in the day were forced upon players to complete. Crimes and Punishments finally applied a skip button! Thank God!
Crimes and Punishments in the string of Sherlock Homes games is the best of the two platformed games. Graphics are amazing and the mysteries are never one and the same. When you look at ye-oldie games like Kings Quest and then games like Sherlock Holmes. There’s no way a gamer can prefer the first over the later. If you’re looking for a Sherlock Holmes that’s calling to Robert Downey Jr. or Benedict Cumberbatch, this is not the Sherlock for you. However, Sherlock isn’t trim and proper either. Sit back and plug into a mystery game because these games will provide a fair experience for the price you pay.