When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. With that in mind, the stellar title from Frogwares is now on the Nintendo Switch for a detective-driven adventure at home or on the go.
‘Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments’ was initially released 8 years ago and has made its way through several generations of consoles now. The question remains, how has the journey faired for this title and how does it handle on the Nintendo Switch.
Set at the tail end of the 1800’s, Sherlock Holmes will embark on 6 separate cases with help from notable characters along the way. John Watson makes a strong counterpart to the somewhat abrupt yet brilliant consulting detective, Holmes, and even gets a turn at being a playable character briefly. It wasn’t just the iconic characters that added to the atmosphere, Baker Street is your base of operations that serves a greater purpose and Scotland Yard brings an instrumental component in your investigation to interview suspects and inspect evidence.
For a game that was made at the end of the PlayStation 3 era, the design of the game has held up rather well. Each location is brimming with details from scattered and messy apartments with beams of light illuminating from open windows compared to the bleak and cold environments of the interrogations rooms.
Character details have also carried over with the exception of the unavoidable awkward feeling of stiff or clunky movements. During cutscenes and dialogue interactions it was a bit more fluid, the more noticeable issues though were some late texture pop-ins or surfaces flashing from time to time while in handheld mode.
Creating an immersive environment is only half the battle however, the other half is making an enjoyable experience. This is where the game truly shines in a blend of critical thinking, experimentation, and emotional investment. Any given crime scene will be littered with clues and people to interrogate to build your case through evidence and deductions.
Your notebook compiles everything for you as you use your ‘Sherlock Talent’ or ‘Imagination’ skills each at the press of a button. These modes show a different side of the environment and pressing ‘X’ can bring up a deduction menu to pair two thoughts together for a new direction of the investigation.
For those that have played ‘L.A Noir’ you may be familiar with the interrogation aspect of the game. The writing and voice acting takes over in these portions to portray an extra layer of depth in these mysteries you are trying to uncover.
In this game, I feel there is a much more streamlined and enjoyable experience as you examine a suspect’s attire and use that information, paired with the case you have built to tear down their arguments. With multiple outcomes per storyline, it will ultimately be up to you as the player to decide who you want to accuse with an option to reveal the true answer or accept your decision adding a layer of replayability.
There were a few speed bumps along the way with optional mini-games that felt like an afterthought to pad the run time. They can serve their purpose, such as Holmes getting into an arm-wrestling match because his hubris leads him into a superiority complex at times. For every forgettable mini game though, there were just as many challenging puzzles to solve that were satisfying in their own way.
Sherlock Holmes as a character has seen many iterations through film, literature, and games with each version offering its own charm. Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments, offers a relaxing yet challenging combination with memorable locations, characters, and crimes. When it is all said and done, it’s purely elementary.
- Faithful crimes compared to the source material
- Compelling writing and vocal performances
- Deduction screen and interrogations makes you feel like a detective
- Character and set designs sell an authentic experience
- Handheld mode for on the go crime fighting
- Texture pop ins are consistent throughout all 6 campaigns
- Character stiff movements shows the games age
- Half of the mini games are forgettable filler content