You can think of “Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments” as being something of an epic mash-up. On its face it is a rather direct investigation game based on the adventures of Sherlock Holms, however, upon closer inspection you discover that there’s much more to this mystery than meets the eye. For example, its subtitle “Crimes and Punishments” also echoes the Dostoyevsky novel of nearly the same name and it eloquently introduces a fresh but classic sort of gameplay at the same time. For anyone that’s an avid video gamer and a fan of Watson and Holmes’ exploits, this is definitely a title worth checking out, here’s why…
Firstly, if you’ve ever had even a passing interest in mystery novels or adventure, this game is going to feel like an old friend. The historical recreation of ye olde London is definitely good enough to keep you immersed, as is the general voice acting and presentation. While roaming around you really get the feel of being in Holmes’ world, with villains around every corner. Likewise, the way the developers focused on Sherlock’s brain here was most inspired. Throughout you get he sense that your choices actually matter and influence the world around you (even if there are ultimately problems in this area). The obvious leanings toward modern iterations is also present – with text segments floating above clues and so forth, almost as if you’re reading the contents of Holmes’ mind. Crimes & Punishments is full of moments like these, along with excellent character development and other things.
Throughout the course of solving your 7 unique cases you’ll also be able to switch between first and third person perspective. In any game where there’s an emphasis on finding clues, investigating and just generally surveying the environment, this ability to shift up the viewpoint is definitely welcome. Again however, the structure of the game itself, having been divided into segments, just seems to be much more palatable and more convenient, especially if you’re the type of gamer who plays in spurts. Overall SH: C&P resonates deeply as a solid example of what a pure detective game might look like. Sure, it isn’t perfect, but whatever shortcomings it has are greatly outweighed by its positive aspects. Some might either like or dislike some of the more standardized mini games and puzzles (like lockpicking); in truth, if you’re an RPG fan you should used to it by now.
On the PlayStation 4 and XBOX One, Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments truly shines, with tight, decent graphics. Naturally, the character and level design reinforces this as well. What we’re left with is a mélange of elements which, when taken together as a whole, add up to a fine detective game that all aspiring sleuths should check out when they get a chance.