Bored to Death with “Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments”

Wait! You’re telling me I can play as the other best detective in fictional history!? The real OG of detectives! And it’s an Adventure game! Oh boy! Please take a seat Batman, I need to go vintage with my problem-solving skills, while smoking a pipe.

… 2 hours later …

What the hell is this? This could just be background noise.” Yep, I got bored with an Adventure / Interactive Movie style game. I have supported these style of games in the past and have said that this type of gameplay is something I enjoy. And I still stand by that. In the case of this game, …well, let’s just say it’s a bit – underwhelming. …Yeah, let’s go with that. SET UP TIME!

It’s London at the end of the 19th century. We’re on Baker Street. A man sits at a desk reading. He hears a gunshot. Rushing from his room he opens the door and we are introduced to a crazy blindfolded man with a pistol firing at a vase collection. Sherlock Holmes. After dodging some shots, Watson express is disapproval of these actions. Enter Inspector Lastrade and he has a case that needs solving. Time to play detective.

Die Vases!

The game is set up in with six cases for you to solve. Each one a little more involved than the last. Simple and easy to understand gameplay so you can spend the time focusing on finding and solving the clues to these cases. The visuals and cinematic storytelling of this game are spectacular to watch. The voice acting is something that other adventure games could learn from. Each railed section is wonderfully thought out to lead you to the next conversation. Hands down this is a really pretty game. And that is about it.

Now out of all of my gripes with this game, my biggest one is this game is too easy! Period. The game is set up to hold your hand through the discovery process. It is almost impossible to miss a clue. The game will tell you when you found all you can so you are not aimlessly staring at a table for 45 min. I guess that’s a good thing? The lock picking is a joke. The way they show deductions from the clues gathered is cool but a bit useless. Unless you just flat out don’t pay attention, everything seems it can only go one way. On top of all that you can flat out skip solving problems. Why they would allow that, I don’t know. Let just remove the part that make this a game completely. If you want, of course. I guess part of my problem is that if I am playing as the greatest detective, I expect a level of challenge in my solving cases. I heard LA Noir figured it out and it was quite fun. Just sayin.

The cool deduction board.

So aside from the boring ass gameplay, the game just seems to make the game drag on and the six case have no connection between them. The load times are ridiculous and the discovery element makes this game feel like it just is dragging it’s feet. On top of that, the developers give you this sort of seventh “case” running in the background but when the game concludes they wrap that “case” up in a nice little blow that feels like they forgot about it until the credits. There was only one case that felt like I had to put some thought into the conclusion. But really I didn’t care when I got it right, so the challenge factor might have been lost. Or maybe my disdain was already settled in.

Overall I feel like this game could have been released smaller with only two or three cases and released the additional cases as DLC. This game has really good ideas and elements that were used, however they just weren’t used anywhere close to their potential. This leaves you with simple story and weak gameplay. I don’t understand how some places gave this as high as 8/10s and 9/10s, but I guess someone liked it. I can see this as a challenge for kids, maybe. As long as you’re okay with them looking at murdered bodies, go for it… I guess. Other then that, just move on by. This really isn’t worth the time.