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Games : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: September 30th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

Crimes and Punishments: Sherlock Holmes

Overview -

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes character has seen countless adaptations over the last 127 years since his inception, the best - subjectively - being 'The Great Mouse Detective' from 1986. As with most long runners that have enjoyed considerable popularity in print, television, cinema (etcetera) incarnations, video game versions were unavoidable. 'Crimes and Punishments: Sherlock Holmes' is the tenth entry in the 'Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' series by Ukrainian/Irish developer Frogwares. What crimes lurk behind this promising title?

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
September 30th, 2014

Video Review

Ranking:

'Crimes and Punishments' boasts beautiful graphics that are never the pick of the litter. Somehow, there's always something off. During extreme close-ups, the eyes with their dead stare are evocative of the dreaded uncanny valley. Details are stunning: each dot of the male characters' stubble can be individually counted. The convincing, well-rendered cut scenes impress. Minor graphical errors, such as Holmes taking a puff of his lit pipe, and exhaling - although the pipe never quite touched his mouth. A few instances of clipping through occur on different occasions, but nothing too alarming. The game never slows down and runs like a charm on the PlayStation 4.

Audio Review

Ranking:

Lip-syncing is always slightly running behind. It's very noticeable, and a little sad. As if these characters are dubbed on the spot. I'm pretty sure French, German, Spanish (etc.) players, who are accustomed to lips not matching up due to their country's tendency to post-synchronize movies, won't mind as much. A minor blessing in disguise, then.

With the regular NPCs, there is a troubling lack of variety. Every bobby or police constable will respond with a stern, monotone 'Mr. Holmes'. Ad infinitum, if so desired. Really? That's all they have to say? There couldn't have been different phrases? A few moments of recording time and a simple dialogue tree goes a long way in terms of presentation quality, and that's lacking here.

Ambient sound design fares better. In Scotland Yard, there is constant and realistic murmuring audible in the background. Sound effects are effective and realistic, but music is used sparingly. On the audio front, 'Crimes and Punishments' won't give the amp a rock-out, but the eerie aural atmosphere lends itself quite well to the game.

Final Thoughts

Being new to Frogwares' 'Sherlock Holmes' games, I wasn't altogether sure what to expect. As a big fan of old school adventure games, I was surprised by the distinct fun and challenge presented in 'Crimes and Punishments' as well as some of the modern touches both in terms of gameplay and story. With the PS4 being so young in its life, I'm glad to see a classic genre making headway on the platform. While some clues are really hard to find and others are laughably easy, 'Crimes and Punishments' finds the perfect balance between frustration and inspiration. A pleasant surprise for all aspiring sleuths.