More Reviews
REVIEWS Firefall Review
Repetitive gameplay makes this fall a little boring.

The Walking Dead: Season Two Review
At this point, you’re not coming back for the zombies. Let’s get down to business.
More Previews
PREVIEWS Mortal Kombat X Preview
Huh, does that mean Mortal Kombat XXX would be a possible game title in the future?
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Madden NFL 15
Release date: Out Now

Destiny
Release date: 09/09/14

FIFA 15
Release date: 09/23/14

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
Release date: 09/30/14


LATEST FEATURES A Comprehensive Guide to Dealing with Controversy in the Video Game Industry
Need help wading through the latest misogyny/homophobia/racism/corruption debate in the gaming industry? Paul Tamburro’s here to help!

inFamous: First Light Battle Arena Hints, Strategies, Tips [Stream Over]
Watch as I build out our feature of useful tactics for players in Sucker Punch's wave-based and arcade-awesome arena mode.
MOST POPULAR FEATURES The Updating List of PAX Indies
We're heading to PAX Prime! Are you looking to check out a few unique indie games while you're there? UPDATED: Dragon Fin Soup, Dungeon of the Endless,

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP samsmith614 Since game design is a business, I decided to see what's really selling well for the PS4. I did this search a week ago, and at the time, out of the top 20 bestsellers on Amazon 10 had not even been released yet. By now some have been released. But others still have not. And yet others...

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Review

Chris_Hudak By:
Chris_Hudak
06/29/07
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Adventure 
PLAYERS
PUBLISHER CDV 
DEVELOPER Frogwares 
RELEASE DATE  
MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
M Contains Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Suggestive Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Tentacles for Sherlock

That’s right: Sherlock Holmes meets the Cthulhu Mythos. Yikes.

click to enlargeIt’s funny, the division bell-curve of gamers on this one. It says something about the various factions involved—I’m still not sure what, but it’s definitely something. The Arthur Conan Doyle purists balked at this one when they first heard tell of its coming to the European market…and the Lovecraft crowd slavered over it. In similar fashion, the Euro crowd normally partial to PC adventure games tended to harrumph the very idea, while the Stateside casual-to-console types—who might not otherwise be so attracted to the generally slower-paced world of adventure titles— have enthusiastically embraced it. I’m just sayin’.

Already released in Europe, and available for download here in the U.S., Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is an adventure game, but it takes a first-person approach and lets players use hands-on sleuthing techniques to investigate a mystery spanning the globe — from the streets of Victorian London to Germany to New Orleans, Louisiana. Looking through the eyes of Baker Street’s most famous resident (and those of his erstwhile friend, chronicler and intellectual straight-man Dr. Watson), players scan the environments for physical clues, many of which can, after some pixel-hunting, be examined in closer detail. The clues themselves are diverse in nature, and include footprints in the dirt, fibers found on rusty gates/fences, fish scales, scraps of paper, and even the injured hands of corpses.

What cannot be thoroughly studied “in the field” can be brought back to Holmes’ “home office” for further study…and occasionally, players will be called upon to cobble together useful tools from various found objects. The evidence-studying aspects are more consistently logical than not, relatively free of the all-too-common scourge of video-game goofiness—no arbitrary, platypus-shaped keys here.

click to enlargeOther investigative activities—in such a cultured, dignified game-world, one hesitates to call them “mini-games”—include thwarting combination locks on doors, cracking codes, and drawing the Lovecraftian “Elder Sign.”

Speaking of which, purist Mythos nerds can relax right along with the Doyle-geeks: Despite the shooter-like first-person treatment, there won’t be any two-fisted taking on of Tsathoggua, no shotgunning of Shub-Niggurath, no assaults on Azathoth—this is no Dark Corners of the Earth, nor is it meant to be. Instead, it’s up to the player to use reasonably straightforward Holmes-esque observation and detection techniques to prevent a group of bent cultists from raising That Which Can Eternal Lie. It’s an odd clash of fictional mythos versus "real" mythos, and it works surprisingly well (“Hey! You got your tentacles in my opium-pipe! You got YOUR opium-pipe in my…”)

All the while, the voice-acting is of adequately Thespian caliber, terribly British and snooty in all the right ways—hopefully something that won’t be changed as the game makes its way to the American market.

click to enlargeAlas, not everything in Sherlock Holmes is logically derived. For instance, the maddening insistence that the sometimes-lengthy cut-scenes cannot be canceled or skipped—understandable the first time around in such a clue-intensive game, but unfortunate if you’ve already failed a game-section and need to go through it again. One touch that some gamers will find intriguing and others annoying is the scheme of “testing” the player on crucial, previously-discovered facts: If you’ve been paying attention as you should have been, you’ll answer some pertinent questions—and then you’ll be allowed to continue. Go on vacation and lose the illustrious thread, and you may be held back a grade.

CDV has a checkered history of publishing some extremely ”niche,” oddball—and at times, downright questionable—game titles from foreign markets, but Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened looks to be one of its most intriguing, promising picks for introduction to the American games market (and they’ve made plain their intention to address some of the minor complaints about the previously-released European version of the game). So I should state that officially this is a review of the European version. On the other hand, it is also the version you can download and play in the U.S. right now, where it is priced in U.S. dollars on the developer's website.

Famed Holmesian deductive (actually, inductive) logic meets gibbering eldritch chaos on American game-store shelves this September—put that tentacle in your pipe and smoke it.
B- Revolution report card
  • Sir Arthur Conan Lovecraft
  • Thoughtful puzzles
  • Good voice acting
  • That you can never skip
  • Prone to repetition
  • +/- Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.


More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened


More On GameRevolution