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    Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments Review

    Call me the king of wrongful imprisonment. The big ‘hook’ with the latest Sherlock Holmes title from Frogwares is that you get to both accuse and suggest the punishment for the perpetrators of the Crimes being investigated. At this I failed.

    Despite my careless dooming of innocents to their fate, the investigative side of the game is surprisingly robust affair, especially when compared to the usual fare that claims to include detection as a feature.


    While the actual means to an end sometimes feels like a bizarre attempt to shoehorn in mini games, the actual process of evidence collection and deduction is quite slickly done, and requires both a thorough approach and some decent thought processes.

    This is backed up by some really gorgeous environments, thanks to deft use of the Unreal 3 engine. The game itself has you jumping between small locations that are key to the crime at hand, looking for clues, and chasing down leads. As you do so clues are recorded in your journal, and when enough relevant ones are revealed you can join them up in the deduction interface in order to come up with your final solution.

    This deduction interface can feel confusing at times. Initially Isuspected that one or two pieces of missing evidence were throwing out my conclusions, however in later cases I was missing the mark even with everything in place.Ultimately it can deliver multiple solutions, and one actually needs to pay attention to the entire evidence gathering process in order to come up with the correct solution.

    This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it did given the tendency for a lot of games to hand hold nowadays. The game isn’t without its flaws, however. Watson, for example, proves himself a truly useless hunk of Polygons when it comes to the detection part of the game. He spends most of the game standing around, delivering truly useless commentary when you ask for his opinion, only coming into his own when needed in a Quicktime event to facilitate the developers using Holmes for
    dramatic effect.

    Some of the minigames are a touch ludicrous as well. In the first case, for example, there is a sequence in which you need to dress up as a sailor, head down to the docks, and arm wrestle to build camaraderie with a suspect. What this entails is a slightly odd experience in which you need to watch the expression on his face, which largely seems to revolve around several stages of constipated, and pick the right moments to resist and push back. You can always just skip the mini game, which is more frustrating than it sounds, but that just makes the whole thing seem rather pointless to begin with.

    At least Frogwares has given the option to avoid these sorts of mini games (though more cerebral efforts like mixing chemicals don’t have the skip option), so they don’t necessarily detract from the overall game. Which is fairly decent all told, with content that actually encourages you to put your brain to work.

    8/10

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