Release Date: 9/30/2014
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The Good: Great visuals and facial animations, characters really stand out
The Bad: Boring gameplay, every case plays out the exact same way, not much in a way of suspense
The Sherlock Holmes adventure series has had its ups and downs. If the story isn’t up to par with the show or books it’s clunky controls or poor gameplay. Crimes and Punishments sounds darker than it really is. Honestly the game is more about the characters shining through and less about the crimes or gameplay.
The game starts out surprisingly cinematic for a point and click. Watson is dodging Holmes gunfire in his study as he ducks and weaves between furniture. It shows just how more nuanced the series is and just how much it has grown. Among the four cases you solve neither of them are all that interesting. The game tries to get you thinking big mysteries but honestly the dull way of going about the cases keeps you from really caring.
The gameplay consists of walking around areas and finding anything you can click on. Some items can be examined, certain characters can be profiled where you scan the character in slow motion to find interesting points. There are various puzzles as well but these seem to be half broken since pieces won’t snap in place and various objects won’t register. Surrounding that is figuring out where to go and then solving clues to bring the whole thing together. Hopping back and forth between areas gets old especially with the long load times. The character interactions are somewhat interesting and I couldn’t help but smile at Holmes’ sarcastic way of going about things. Other than this the game offers a dull experience of the detective mystery of old.
I played through the first two cases and honestly started losing interest. Each case has the same exact way of being solved. Wander around an area and pixel hunt, interview characters, run back and forth between areas and rinse and repeat. The game looks really good and the facial animations are surprisingly well done. Adventure game fanatics may love this game, but anyone else wanting a bit of action or suspense like in the Telltale adventure games won’t find it here.