Sherlock Holmes may have a hit TV show, fantastic movies and thrilling novels but he’s still yet to break into the video game market with a title that is well… good but the murder mystery style of The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is gunning for that first successful game.
It all kicks off in London, 1898 as Sherlock Holmes and Watson are called to an incredibly wealthly household which has recently been burgled. After a whole bunch of searching around, you slowly piece together the thief’s identity to announce that it must have been an acrobat midget (yeah, we couldn’t believe it too). After the extensive tutorial, you’ll be chucked knee-deep into a bloodbath and then it goes all downhill for our beloved Sherlock as the entirety of London is turned against him. The original storyline that the game features is gripping throughout and will not fail to keep you hooked. It doesn’t feel like a cheap knock off out for a quick buck and any fan of crime games will adore it.
As you progress through the game, you’ll have to search for clues which are scattered around whatever location you’re investigating, clicking aimlessly around the area for evidence. A pretty nifty feature is the ability to seamlessly switch between first and third person, as well as the ability to have a minor out-of-body experience to search the area.
After you’ve found enough clues (usually a cut scene will trigger), you’ll then have to use your super special detective powers to work out what happened and who is to blame. Don’t worry though, it’s pretty easy to find the clues; unfound ones are blue while ones you’ve already discovered will either be green or disappear off the screen.
Figuring out what happened in each crime scene is fairly easy too due to each question having a multi-choice answer with zero punishment if you happen to get it wrong. If you do get it right however, the scribbled square in your notepad will turn green.
I hope you like difficult as hell puzzles, Sherlock is jam-packed full of ‘em, often running into several in each location. 2I enjoy a good puzzle game now and then; it’s a nice break from the overcrowded shooter market however the puzzles in The Testaments of Sherlock Holmes were just frustrating throughout. You’ll find yourself staring at a puzzle without any clue what you’re meant to be doing and guessing until the game realises you don’t understand it, letting you skip it to progress through the story; if only it’d show you how it could have been done after skipping it.
As frustrating as the gameplay can be at times, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes features superb voice acting. The two voice actors who’ve portrayed Holmes and Watson truly sell the characters to you, whether it’s a bit of banter between the two inspectors or when Holmes goes off on one of his mind-boggling rants. If only the lip syncing was on the same level.
The most notable improvement between TToSH and previous Sherlock titles is the dramatic revisualisation of 19th century London. Its predecessors were rather… lacklustre (and that’s being generous) but FrogWare went all out this time. From Sherlock’s house to the blood soaked bishops quarters they will send shivers down your spine with the tense atmosphere.
It’s rare to see a game truly deserve its M/18 rating but within an hour of playing, you’ll understand the need, it may even be one to make sure your kids avoid until they are the appropriate age. The developers certainly didn’t censor anything when it comes to the butchered corpses which are truly terrifying and after inspecting them, the crime scenes of LA Noire look like something from fairy tales, burnt and tortured bodies in full detail wasn’t exactly what I signed up for.
My biggest ‘problem’ with The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is its value for money as once you’ve finished the main campaign, there is very little to do with the game due to it featuring no multiplayer (in any way) or reason to replay the story other than maybe clearing up some achievements you may have missed.
The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is one of the most surprising games I’ve played this year; I came into it expecting another crappy game milking a popular franchise but it really is a quality title, just for the story alone its worth checking out. It’s definitely a nice change of pace from games we’re currently used to seeing on the market.