[Review] The Testament of Sherlock Holmes

Part of me really wants to love this game and the other part just wants to puke from all the motion sickness this game has caused me, simply because of bad camera control. 

Speaking of bad control... the awful controls for this game are seriously it's biggest downside. I've never played any of the 3D Sherlock Holmes games before, so I didn't really know what I was getting myself into... my gaming-bestie J had some more experience with the Sherlock Holmes games (besides our recent adventure with "The Case of the Rose Tattoo", awful old & slow game, yet it still got better controls than this recent entry...) and wasn't as appalled by the controls as I was. She still agrees that they sucked tho. Badly.

We played the game on PC and tried both using the 360 controller and the mouse/keyboard combo, but walking into a desired direction can prove quite a challenge with both styles. Getting a bit more control over the camera proves to be less of a hassle with the right analogue stick on the controller, but you basically have to rotate and adjust it all the time or else you're suddenly looking at a tree/wall/whatever from a 3cm distance.

I don't know at what point Watson stopped being creepy Watson and instead became insanely annoying "GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY, YOU IMBECILE!"-Watson, but it's the case for this game. Often times Watson will block your way and it's frustratingly annoying to walk around him... or walk around anything else, really. 

Small rooms often provide quite the challenge (of the wrong kind) as well. Positioning the camera in a way so you can actually see anything isn't quite as easy as it should be. Maybe not using the ego-perspective was our problem, maybe the game would run more smoothly that way, but besides the fact it would totally worsen my motion sickness (I usually NEVER get motion sickness in third-person/over the shoulder kind of games... so I don't even want to think what would happen if I played this with a first-person view) it's not exactly how point & click adventures should be... imo. :(

We mastered the controls, eventually, or at least got used enough to them to play through that whole thing anyway. And it's actually quite fun and captivating. 

One thing that bothered me a little was the high amount of gore. I can stomach quite a bit blood and all but dude, you shouldn't eat anything while playing this game. (Combine this with my motion sickness and you're in for a wonderful puke ride... :D)

Admittedly, it was part of the story and there was a perfectly fine reason for all the... wounds, but still, I could have done with a bit less of that. Or at least less zoomed in. 8)

Story wise we get to listen to Sherlock's (great?) grand children ("What the!?" you think, like we did when we started the game? Well, it all gets explained at the end of the game. :>) who find one of Watson's 
memoirs of Sherlock Holmes' cases. From there it's a constant mix of cutscenes, searching for clues, solving puzzles and running around until the case finally gets completely solved so even Watson gets it. (Hoo boy, it always amazes me how stupid Watson is...)

It's a worthy story for a Sherlock Holmes game, the end was surprisingly satisfying (more so than the last of the original Sherlock Holmes stories) and most of the puzzles were very fun to solve, tho they really could have been a bit more explanation as for what exactly you're supposed to do in some cases.

My favourite part of the game was probably the (return of the) deduction board. I loved finding all the clues and bringing all the gained information together in a way that makes sense... :)

I probably would have never finished the game if I had played it all by myself, as the game get easily frustrating when you're stuck and all the control-issues would have bothered me way too much, but together with J it was quite fun. But for a game of this generation it simply has too many faults to be considered a good game. It's a good Sherlock-story and it got neat puzzles, but it's an awful video game.

Shiny Sherlock is shiny.

Depending on what system you play it on the game can look anything from "pretty rad" to "somehow disturbing & creepy". My PC isn't the latest high-end shit, so it definitely looked crappier that those official screenshots I borrowed. ;> Characters would often look a lot more creepy than they were supposed to... (especially the grand children, they looked immensely creepy with their shiny skin!) The scenery of 19th century London looked quite lovely tho.

All in all I can't really recommend this game unless you're really into adventure games and/or Sherlock Holmes. Or totally don't mind the awful controls. I had my fun with it, but I wouldn't go back there again. Ever.

1 comment:

  1. Not a title that particularly interests me, but my oldest is into all things Sherlock so I suspect we may wind up with this down the road.