Saturday, 29 October 2016

#13: Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments

I'm very sorry that I haven't posted any updates recently! Life has been hectic and great and awful, and also I'm bad at writing blog posts regularly.

About a month ago, TrueAchievements started the second run of their Ultimate Head to Head contest, an event which pits pairs of gamers against each other in a race to get as many achievements from a list neither of them have. As soon as I saw it mentioned, I joined, then promptly forgot to do anything about it. When the contest started, I felt a complete idiot, as I realised it had picked about half of the list from the Xbox One games I couldn't play, but owned thanks to Games With Gold. There was a way to fix this before the contest began.

In the first week, my opponent was apologetic but destroyed me. Thankfully, the first four rounds were not knockout style, and it was my birthday coming up, so my father-in-law felt pity on me and sent an Xbox One my way! From then on, I could complete properly, which was amazing up until I lost my first knockout round. Oh well. Next year.

Anyway, this significant lead up explains why the next of my Games Beaten in 2016 is Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments. An adventure game, it follows six cases more-or-less inspired by the original Doyle stories.

From the beginning, it is clear that the developers have a great deal of respect for the source material. The environments feel real; every room and outside area is strewn with beautiful stuff. Dialogue is of the time, characters are reasonable, progression is natural. The game is fully voice acted, and while it is sometimes a little repetitive, the interactions between Holmes and Watson are genuinely funny and made me chuckle a few times. In short, it's everything I miss when I'm playing Ace Attorney. Things make sense in this game.

Unfortunately, it's also a little bit too easy. There are frequent mini-games which test your reflexes or accuracy, but they are skippable with no other penalty than potentially missing out on some achievements. You don't have to make any intelligent choices in dialogue. The game's deduction system, which is otherwise an excellent way to visualise what is supposedly happening in Sherlock's head, never requires you to actually know what you're talking about. An interesting twist is that the game does allow you to make the wrong conclusion for each case. Some of these are more believable than others, but the common thread is that you can reach them without finding all the pertinent clues.

Overall, I found it a pleasant experience, but not a mind-blowing one. I'd love to see a game which uses a similar engine but with more in-depth dialogue and more ways to be 'wrong'. Definitely worth the price of free which I got it for.

You might be wondering why this post isn't about Nocturne or Motocross Madness. Well, for some reason the latter has been removed from the online store, so I can't play it. I'll ask Emily to roll me another game. As for Nocturne, uh... maybe one day.

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