Sherlock Holmes, the pompous detective has returned to solve some crimes in the only way he knows how, with style. Frogwares, and Focus Home Entertainment have delivered a masterpiece in crime investigation that will keep you intrigued for hours.
For the first time in the series the Sherlock Homes franchise has jumped into the PS4 and Xbox One, let me just say that the game is beautiful, from its detailed sub-surface scattering on human faces, to its details in ever little object. It shines and runs smoothly with very short load screens, and zero bumps.
Sherlock Holmes is alive and as accurate as ever, as he mumbles to himself and strings sentences together without a breath of fresh air, there is no doubt that this is a Sherlock Holmes title, but only due to the protagonist. As a fan of the series past there are a couple of things that have been improved. The overall pace of the game is much faster, the characters have much more to say, and the puzzles are less, but harder. The usual Baker Street apartment is shinier than before with a wider selection of clothing options, and the control options are the same, that is to say it’s a good thing that you do not need to learn anything new.
The game does not hold your hand whilst plaything through the case files, you will need to pay attention to the suspect’s interrogations, the environment, and what Holmes is saying at all times. You can easily miss out on a name drop and think it is of no importance, but it will turn out to be vital to your investigation. You will need to switch visions that allow you to see objects of importance, Sherlock Vision shows objects and areas that stand out from the usual, and there is a vison that interprets how Sherlock would visualize the objects and events either how they could appear, or how they used to. You also have the ability to pause time and look over your suspect in detail, the camera rolls over them and you need to pick out objects and details that stand out, ultimately detailing the character, both past and present. Whatever you discover will go down in their character profile and will be important during either interrogation or for general knowledge.
The nice thing about the interrogation system is that it is not difficult to perform, you just need to make sure you pay attention and at times it actually takes a little common knowledge to get through. What Crimes and Punishments do differently is they do not suffer from the tedium of other crime investigation titles, you will never find yourself bored from preforming the same task, or question the same character. Every case is unique and every character has a deep past worth exploring, and when you have finally put everything it is rewarding. The game keeps it fresh throughout, and I never felt that I was undertaking something that I did before.
The world is detailed and fine, remerging through a pile of objects to pick up a tobacco pouch, spin it around and listen to Sherlock identify something you never ever thought of is something only this game could offer. His insight and mind is all over the place but focused at the same time, it is what makes this great compared to other investigation games. The case file is your heart of investigations, everything from you past conversation to your character profiles are in it, and whenever you feel like you have hit a wall, going into it will point you to the right direction.
Everything in Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments is polished and detailed like none before, the characters and cases are imaginative, and every second of the game feels like you are reliving the life of Sherlock Holmes. It would be a shame if future crime titles don’t use this as inspiration.
Lasting Appeal: 7/10
From age 12 Marco has spent every waking moment playing games, or thinking about playing games. Marco also suffers with gaming FOMO, and so now he is a gaming journalist as an excuse to play everything. He writes for a number of local and international publications.