Sherlock Holmes, Crime and Punishment Review: The game is afoot!
Crime and Punishment takes place over the length of 6 separate cases. All usually involving the death of another although it may not always become immediately clear. As Sherlock, it is your job to explore, examine and deduce who the murder may be. While the case seems pretty cut and dry from the start, you’ll start to realize how far from the mark you really are. Many of the victims and possible leads only add more to the case making each final conclusion only that much harder to figure out.
You will be introduced to dozens of locations ranging from a simple farm to a high-class roman bath. The crime scenes are extremely varied, but they are also just as beautiful and detailed. Roaming through an old excavation site created one of the best moments in both exploration and finally finding the big missing clue to an already twisted and misconstrued case.
Mini games are prevalent throughout every case, and usually show a key point to the mystery at hand. They are always different and rarely repeat each other; the most common being a lockpick puzzle that increases exponentially in difficulty by the end of the game. The more unique puzzles range from simple chemistry experiments to creating a blade from different materials. For those having trouble, you are able to skip puzzles so that you may keep the mystery moving forward.
During all of this, you have the ability to piece parts of the puzzle together in hopes of creating the final “deduction”. While you can start matching key points immediately, I would highly recommend seeing each case through to the end. The people you speak to in the beginning may be hiding quite a bit, yet they are usually never the criminals. In one case, I was extremely confident with my decision by the second person I spoke to. Yet, once I completed the case, I was so far from the mark, I never even met the actual murderer.
While I had a great time portraying the great detective, I was let down quite a bit by the structure. The game is comprised of six cases, yet none of them hold any form of connection to each other. If someone dies in one case, its lost and forgotten before you ever even start the next one. There is a story that looms over all of the cases, but it’s almost more of a whisper than really anything else. Only briefly introduced in the second case, it’s never mentioned again until the end.
Crime and Punishment was a bit of an unexpected journey. In a market saturated with high action, fast moving parts, it was refreshing to be able sit down and enjoy my time as I scrupulously searched through each clue, sometimes rebuilding entire crimes scenes. While prior Sherlock titles didn’t quite hit the same bar of polish, it leaves me open to what Frogware may have lined up next.