I've been a self-proclaimed Holmesian for the past 10 years. I've read every story Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote concerning his famous detective, and I feel I know Holmes better than I do some members of my family. I've made it my business to scrutinize every piece of Holmes media that comes along, if only because a friend will ask for my opinion on it.
So when I say the Sherlock Holmes adventure games by Frogwares are excellent, the recommendation comes from someone with a lot of experience with Holmes adaptations. Their newest game, announced back in February, is Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments, launching for consoles and PC.
Frogwares has been doing their best to make the games different. Whereas the first three or so were traditional fluffy adventure games, the more recent ones have been trying their hardest to change the formula. In Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper, the murders by the titular serial killer are shown in horrific historical detail. Testament of Sherlock Holmes showed a colder, more aloof Holmes.
Now Crimes and Punishments is attempting to give the players the experience of actually being Sherlock Holmes. They have the task of examining the evidence, determining the guilty party, and deciding on a just action to take. You could pick the wrong suspect and send an innocent person to jail, or let a guilty party walk free after mistakenly believing they acted in self-defense.
This game will either be really, really good or bad. Holmes is so legendary for his intelligence that the very concept of putting him in the hands of the plebeian player is hard to picture. But if the trailers are anything to go by, Frogwares has committed completely to that concept. I am hoping they can pull it off, because I’m looking forward to it!
This game asks one thing of the player: Are you smart enough to be Sherlock Holmes? Time will tell if any of us can meet that challenge.