Congratulations for surviving another busy week! Now you can take a moment to unwind and check out the latest scoop on my blog. I recently interviewed a couple mystery writers and it gave me another idea. Most people are familiar with mystery novels, films, and television series. Occasionally, the genre infiltrates video games as well. I really like the mystery genre because creators can use familiar concepts to make something unpredictable and interesting. The genre is also very influential to steampunk. Sherlock Holmes is one of the most popular and famous mystery characters. I played a game on my Xbox One titled Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments. It's completely different than the typical shooter, RPG, and beat'em up games. I'm going to break down the game's pros and cons. Whether you're a gamer or bookworm, this post should be worth the read.
The premise is very simple. You play as Sherlock Holmes, accompanied by his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson. The game takes place during the late 19th century in various locations that center around London. You have to solve a handful of murders and mysteries by finding clues. It might not sound challenging, but many of the clues are quite tricky to find. Sometimes, you'll follow a false positive lead and then it will head to a dead end. At that point, you'll need to backtrack and find more clues. If you want an exciting action game with a lot of bloody violence, Crimes and Punishments will seem very disappointing. This game is more about exploration, problem solving, story telling, character backgrounds, puzzles, and deductive reasoning. Let's take a look at this game's positive elements.
I thought Sherlock Holmes was a really nice break from my usual gameplay. Games like Assassin's Creed, Borderlands, Resident Evil, Dishonored, and Fallout are awesome. But changing the pace can be refreshing. The gameplay is laid back and doesn't rely on a timer. You can take the time to explore each crime scene and environment to find valuable information. Gathering clues and items helps you uncover vital parts of the story. I thought it was fun to interrogate suspects at the police station. They'll say different things, depending on the questions you'll ask. Figuring out if they're telling the truth is entirely up to you. Once in a while, you'll have a chance to examine bodies in the morgue and it's a unique way to find clues. I thought it was fun to explore the various crime scenes. You can pick up all kinds of objects and notes along the way. It's also a cool way to see how much detail goes into the 19th century environment. The game doesn't have very much combat, but that doesn't mean you can't destroy things. You can smash objects, cut material with knives, set items on fire, and blow up barricades with dynamite.
I thought the game makers portrayed Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson quite accurately. Holmes is very intelligent and perceptive with a blunt approach to everything. He's very tall, thin, and angular. I'm sure some people would prefer a more attractive version of Holmes, but this one is more accurate to Arthur Conan Doyle's literature. Holmes was portrayed as a master of disguise in the book series and that element was incorporated in the game. He's very arrogant and peculiar instead of a gentleman charmer. I was glad the game makers actually understood the source material.
Regarding the gameplay again, you can make Holmes run from one location to another without getting tired. That part is good because it speeds up the gameplay. If memory serves me correctly, there's an arrow or a way to obtain hints if you feel lost. The environment is pretty big, so an arrow on the upper screen will help you navigate across the terrain. I thought some of the puzzles were challenging in a fun way. It takes a little bit of effort to uncover hidden messages, unusual objects, and secret passages. The controls are simple and easy to remember.
Each case can have multiple endings. Technically, only one choice will be the correct and it will affect your evaluation at the end. You'll get a higher rating for busting the correct suspect at the end of each case. It's also possible for you to grant the murderer or criminal mercy. Are you going to condemn the culprits to prison or give them leniency? A murderer should be punished. However, the murder could have been self-defense or a last resort. Maybe the victim was a blackmailer, con artist, or abusive husband. You have the power to decide what will happen in the end.
As you gather clues, Holmes will document them in his notebook. Those details are very helpful throughout the investigation. It definitely helped me narrow down the suspects. Basically, you can't die in this game. You just need to be persistent enough to finish each case. I appreciate that part in a mystery game. Wouldn't it be frustrating if you died in the middle of a case and had to start over?
I definitely have some complaints about this game. There is very little variation from one case to another. You'll see different characters and locations, but the gameplay never changes. After a while, it gets stale. You'll probably get tired wandering around the crime scenes, picking up clues, solving puzzles, and interrogating suspects. Boredom can be a problem after you finish a couple cases.
It's really hard to narrow down the right suspect. Finding the right suspect means stretching out the gameplay and it requires a lot of patience. Sometimes I settled for the wrong person to end the case sooner. Does it matter if you pick the wrong person? Not really. You can still complete the entire game and get a decent rating without condemning the correct suspect. I also have some issues with granting mercy to the murderer. Some of the murders are somewhat understandable, but that isn't the way justice works. You can give mercy to every criminal in the game and I find that part kind of weird.
After a while, you'll notice formulas. If you follow certain patterns, it will be easy to reach the end. The game is overly predictable at times. However, it's really easy to get lost in the environment. There's a guide to help the player, but I still wandered aimlessly for long periods of time before finding the right clues in a few sections. The game also lacks replay value. After I finished the game, it didn't seem necessary to play again.
Overall, I would only recommend this game for people who enjoy mysteries or gamers who want to take a break from their usual genres. It gets boring and redundant sometimes, which is not a good thing. I might also recommend this game for steampunk fans because of the time period and experiments. If you want to have a more laid back experience for a while, give this game a shot.
That concludes my review for Crimes and Punishments. Next week, I might have a double feature review for Alien: Covenant and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Be safe and have a good week.