Review: Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments
Ahhh.. Sherlock Holmes. I absolutely love the universe from the old SegaCD games to the Robert Downey Jr to the recent Benedict Cumberbatch series. I am definitely not a learned and scholarly gentlemen when it comes to the books, lore, and legends but I love me some murder mystery. Enter Crimes & Punishments, the latest in Frogwares stellar series of our calculated detective using not only his ears and eyes to track down criminals but in this game, you'll actually go inside his brain to connect events, synapses, etc to solve the case. While some gameplay elements could use a little more tutorial, figuring it out is half the fun. This is a world teeming with small detail and we enjoyed nearly every moment of investigating each case. This is a meaty adventure full of humor, terror, suspense, and classic mystery. You will switch between fee movement modes between each scene to the brain sequences and many other surprises in between. This is a solid gameplay venture with a very minor niggles here and there. Sherlock! You've done it again.
Graphics and Sound
Ahhh.. the Unreal 3 engine. It's getting old and showing it's age right? Wrong. Check out our 1440p gallery of screenshots if you need proof of what a gorgeous title this really is. Is it "WHIZ! BANG! POW!" type of beautiful? Nope. It's subtle, detailed, and perfectly rendered for tracking down criminals and investigating crime scenes. Lighting is subtle, beautiful and the scenes are perfectly lit. The showcase of this whole engine and design is the incredible detail in the characters and faces, especially when zooming in and finding clues with the characters and their motives. Overall, this is a stunning acheivement in the world of graphics and Frogwares deserves major props for this accomplishment.
Along with the fantastic graphics, the audio portion of the game is equally impressive. Despite my wishes that Benedict Cumberbatch (!) voiced our Sherlock here, there is nothing to complain about besides a few dry deliveries in voice acting. For the most part, the music, ambient sounds, and effects are extremely well done. Some areas are creepily minimal in their sound design which actually builds suspense. The musical score is wonderful and overall, this is a beautiful soundtrack that brings the world of Sherlock alive and makes yours ears happy to be a gamer.
Hey, what's more fun than investigating a death by fracking harpoon?! Well, if that statement alone turns you off from the game, you best stay away. If you want non stop action and excitement, this game isn't for you. What Sherlock IS though is a detailed, polished, and fantastic romp through London and several locations that are perfectly rendered, lit, and full of atmosphere. The gameplay is varied enough to keep things interesting but most of all, I enjoyed the environments teeming with technical and artistic details. Grab your pipe, your costumes, and your magnifying glass, Sherlock is back!
Sherlock Holmes has enjoyed a long line of mostly positive gaming experiences but Crimes & Punishments represents the pinnacle of his adventures and exploits. While I found the character to be a tad bit too dry in delivery, that is a minor blemish on an otherwise gorgeous, polished, and extremely engaging title in a crowded gaming season. The graphics and effects definitely push boundaries especially when it comes to the human characters and elements while interrogating the different suspects. Whether you are new to Sherlock or a seasoned veteran or fan, you will love Crimes & Punishments!
4/5 Stars - Digital Hippos Recommended