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By Chuck Osborn

As far as games go, famed detective Sherlock Holmes has never looked or played better than he does in Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments. The latest in developer Frogwares’ adventure series uses Unreal Engine 3 for a much-needed graphics upgrade. The more disappointing news is that Holmes’ final deductions are based largely on a website of circumstantial evidence.

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Crimes and Punishments takes place over the course of six perplexing, well-written cases that give Holmes ample opportunities to vày what Holmes does best: Snoop around crime scenes for clues, interrogate suspects, và talk down to lớn just about everyone he meets. Murder is afoot in each of the cases, but that doesn’t stop them from being diverse; from a gruesome death by whaling harpoon to an Egyptian-style ritual killing, the plots had me riveted. And like a good winding mystery, the person who did it is rarely the one you suspect initially.My one criticism about the structure of these cases is that they’re all standalone stories, with nothing really linking them together except for the involvement of Holmes & his trusty chronicler, Dr. Watson. Holmes’ brother Mycroft, a British government official, shows up early on to lớn foreshadow the concluding case, but otherwise the anthology just...ends. No overarching mystery, no grand denouement.Controlling Holmes from a third- or first-person perspective, discovering clues by searching crime scenes for evidence và questioning suspects is pretty easy and straightforward. Objects of interest are clearly marked by floating text boxes; some may require activating Holmes’ detective vision (similar khổng lồ Batman’s in the Arkham series) which uncovers secrets that would go unnoticed by lesser sleuths. It’s a bit limited, since there are no secret areas or unlockables khổng lồ uncover – but on the bright side, because detective vision didn’t need lớn be activated unless I was prompted to vì so I didn’t waste time hunting for hidden clues that weren’t there.Some clues will require further research, such as consulting an archive of old newspapers & encyclopedias, while others may need to be tested in Holmes’ lab. Testing and picking locks present mini-puzzles that range from dreadfully easy to lớn brutally difficult. A plus is that overly challenging puzzles can be skipped without penalty.While it’s easy lớn find clues, making the right sense of them can be another matter. Clues can be combined to lớn make deductions, leading khổng lồ the final deduction of the murderer’s identity. The problem here is that each case has more than one possible conclusion -- with only one being the “correct” one. Since many deductions are based on very circumstantial evidence (a rope was tied with a sailor’s knot, so a sailor must have been present!), there’s rarely a proverbial smoking gun that clearly points toward any one suspect. Lượt thích a game of Clue, several possible outcomes are plausible, but only the final conclusion screen reveals whether the right gọi was made. Luckily you can go back and trả lời the conclusion until you make the right selection...IF you’re able khổng lồ combine the clues in the right way.
Conclusions also come with a moral choice: Should the suspect be arrested or absolved of their crime? From what I could see, there’s no reason for this feature to exist except khổng lồ slightly alter the final cutscene; it doesn’t change the gameplay for future cases or alter how people interact with Holmes. It’s a mildly interesting inclusion, and I hope it’s fleshed out more in future installments, but the morality system is wasted here.Brief and, in relation lớn the rest of the gameplay, unexpected kích hoạt sequences punctuate the climax of each case. Unfortunately, these sequences cannot be replayed; if a suspect commits suicide before you can shoot the gun from their hand, they’re dead permanently -- no backsies. On the plus side, these sequences showcase Sherlock’s boxing skills và Watson’s marksmanship, while also giving each story an extra rush of adrenaline và finality.

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What really sets Crimes & Punishments apart from its predecessors, though, is its sparkling new look. It’s gorgeous on PS4 và PC; every character is rendered in rich detail -- so much so that you can see individual stubble và facial blemishes. It’s one of the most beautiful adventures I’ve played. Likewise, the voice acting is well done & pitch-perfect to lớn Crimes’ style và time period.
Crimes & Punishments offers a huge advance in graphics and gameplay for the Sherlock Holmes adventure series, và is well worth playing for longtime fans -- especially if they’re playing on a new-gen console or PC. The cases are thoroughly enjoyable, but deducing the murderer can be nebulous and unsatisfying due khổng lồ a preponderance of circumstantial evidence.

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Sherlock Holmes: Crimes và Punishments


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Experience the adventures of the great detective Sherlock Holmes like never before with Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments.