With so many dubious Holmes-related entertainment objects emerging from various studios it’s natural to feel doubtful when it comes to quality in the video game department. For instance, developer Frogwares has produced no less than 9 Sherlock games previous to this one, so it’s not out of place to be wary given their track record. Rest assured however, what they’ve put together for Crimes & Punishments is pretty spectacular on multiple fronts. At the end of the day it offers lots of interesting gameplay that strays just far enough off the beaten path to be interesting while also delivering quality graphics and more.
Quite noticeably, most are going to immediately gravitate toward the game’s graphics, which again, are nothing to scoff at. Models, textures, level / character design, lighting, etc. …all of these things are in order here, along with some rather unique and original elements which end up helping it to forge its own identity. For instance, this is definitely a tribute game; clearly, the people who made it are enormous Sherlock H. fans and wanted to capture the essence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in distilled form. On the whole they pretty much nail it, although whether or not you get the most out of the experience is up to you (literally; you have to assemble clues in Holmes’ head and solve the case in your own way).
This is the kind of game that you can sit down and play, perhaps with a friend, knowing full well that creative conversation juices will flow following the conclusion of each case. Again, if you approach it with an audience in tow then expect to have one or more heated discussions about the way you rounded out that last case. The devs go to great lengths to make sure that you are mentally invested in the game, with is apparent by the presentation. Capturing the essence of a bygone era of London is pretty impressive, for starters. Add to this the myriad ways that clues are doled out, including interesting new systems which don’t’ intrude into the onscreen action and are just diverting enough to keep things interesting.
Sure, on its face it seems like a rather traditional game, and it does, after all, present us with a very detailed replica of what such antique surroundings actually look like, but nevertheless, Crimes & Punishments borrows a bit from our era too. For example, the way text pops up to be displayed on clues, or even the way clues are triggered, clearly finds inspiration in more recent concepts explored, like those from the BBC show “Sherlock”. Don’t’ let this fool you though, at its heart, C&P is pretty much a classic throwback and more or less nails the whole Holmes feel and concept much better than any other title we’ve seen up to this point.
Quite simply, serious Sherlock fans are going to want to pick up this game ASAP, and that applies doubly for PS4 owners. Likewise, there’s enough content in the game to keep you going for a while, especially if you prefer to play in segments as opposed to pulling off marathon sessions.