Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment or An Adventure Like Back in the Day …

Once in a while, you feel a bit tired of the same gaming routines that seem to be ubiquitious these days. Shoot, reload, shoot. Slash, dodge, hack. Tackle, pass, shoot. And for good meausre, drive, drive-by, escape. And shoot again. You want to escapre this daily digital grind? That means you probably look for a game such as Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment.

There is no real shooting. Hardly any fighting. The only QTE thing is asking a quick question during interrogations. Most of the time, 99% of the game, Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment is a quiet game. Have some tea, have a biscuit, just relax and delve into the mind of Sherlock Holmes. Mind you, it’s the “original” Sherlock, not a modern adaptation.

If you have played Rockstar’s post-war depression epos L.A. Noire, you know about half of Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment already: Looking for clues, interrogations, asking the right questions. But then again, Sherlock has an arguably sharper mind – you can draw conclusions from your hints. There are also occasional puzzles to be solved, either in form of “mind images”, opening locks or building devices. From time to time, there are mini-games such as arm-wrestling or throwing stuff with the correct force. Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment offers a diverse detective life, that’s for sure.

But Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment offers more – digital detectives need to be careful: it is possible to go wrong and to send the wrong guy to the gallows, or to prison at least. Each one of the six cases comes with multiple endings – there is true and false, there is compassionate and strict. Sometimes the correct solution to a case is not really obvious until you actually pick the correct choice – by luck or by deduction … well, that’s going to be your secret now, won’t it?

A real accomplishment of the game is getting the atmosphere right: Be it a dark, foggy day in England (basically, everyday life), be it the depiction of contemparory people, Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment manages to hit the perfect note most of the time. There is a certain melancholic feel to it, too.

Sounds fun, and it is relaxed fun for the most parts. But sometimes, Sherlock comes to conclusions not everyone can follow, unless you know everything about peculiar details. For instance, if you don’t know that the harbour town of Plymouth is en route to some Spanish pilgrimage destination, you have to end up guessing the correct answer. This makes Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment sometimes feel like a quiz show where general knowlwdge or pure luck seem to be of more value than logical thinking – not exactly the best way to tackle the footsteps of a great detective.

Furthermore, invisible walls, lost of backtracking between locations and long loading times make Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment feel outdated at times. Then again, the graphics look good (astoninishigly good for an adventure), and the locations might be rather small, but they are full of details. However, the details can be a bit much at times – it is to get lost among 5 different locations, and good luck finding one clue hidden somewhere.

At the end of the day though, Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment manages to score with its well-made atmosphere, the laid back approach, the subtle humour and some proper thinking you need to solve a case. And while Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment might not have the glamour of L.A. Noire’s Cole Phelps, the naive charm of Adrian Monk or the rumpled trenchcoat of Lt. Columbo, the game still gives you a certain feeling what it must have been like to follow the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes back in the day.

Rabidgames concludes: Sherlock’s latest instalment shows lots of potential if you don’t mind an excursion to the less travelled fields of calm point & click adventures. If you need a break between chaotic everyday life and as hectic digital lives (be it Diablo 3 or Destiny), Sherlock Holmes: Crime and Punishment is your perfect getaway. Just relax, lie back and solve a case. Or two.

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