Although it’s not the simplest game title to roll off the tongue, Crimes & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes does exactly what it says on the tin: become Sherlock Holmes and solve crimes to instigate punishment… of the guilty by the rightful justice system of England, obviously. Hailing from Frogwares Games, a Ukrainian studio that have been creating adventure games for some time now, Crimes & Punishments puts you in the role of the world’s most famous detective (after Colombo, in this writer’s opinion), and gives you the challenge of solving 6 crimes. Not only do you employ the wit and intellect of Sherlock, you get to utilise one of the overlooked aspects of the character – the fact that he’s a master of disguise. Something that Guy Ritchie remembered in the films, but other adaptations have forgotten.
Alongside the ability to disguise yourself, there’ll also be interrogation techniques and puzzle solving to be had, shown off in the raw gameplay trailer below. This character portrait building could really be the hook of the game, examining the evidence to either confirm or disprove your targets story; I’m looking forward to seeing how that pans out. The studio have moved from an in-house engine to Epic’s Unreal Engine 3, and with it are letting us know that not only are the environmental details improved, there are 14 gameplay mechanisms as well! It’s not clear what all of these are yet, but we’re hoping one is about looking smug and superior whilst smoking a pipe.
In all seriousness, this actually looks like a refreshing change from the run of the mill third person adventure games out there. If the exploration and puzzle solving are not as handheld as the “Art of Subversion” trailer shows, it could turn out to be quite the head scratcher, and one to consider if you’re looking for a slower paced diversion from the incoming action-fest that is the run up to Christmas game release schedule. There’s also the fact that you can get it wrong and convict someone innocent, as well as make a genuine moral choice on whether to hand over the suspect to the police, or absolve them based on your understanding of the situation. It all sounds rather more than just elementary.
Focus Home Interactive are publishing Crimes & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes by Frogwares Games, and it’s scheduled for release on the 3rd October in Europe for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC.