I have a real fondness for adventure games, and I’m talking the brain testing side of adventure games here, not your generic action adventure game, Enslaved I’m looking at you. Many weekends lost in the secrets of Monkey Island, hitting the road with Sam and Max or just going Full Frottle with some of Lucasarts best of the genre. So Sherlock as a property is, on paper, pretty spot on for me, and while I see some great elements at play in this latest sleuthing adventure Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter succeeds as a way to lose yourself for another weekend but not enough to remain memorable.
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter follows the titular sleuthing genius through a handful of cases, each one feeling separate but of course throwing in little winks towards the titular ‘Devil’s Daughter’. Each case has its own opener, trawling around London (even the streets now, a first for the series), searching locations and getting inside the mind of Holmes to reach the satisfying climax found at the heart of each case.
Developer Frogwares has had some past experience with the Holmes’ brand, having Devil’s Daughter as their 8th game in the franchise after 2014’s Crimes and Punishments. This time, however, we go backwards as we play a younger, tougher Sherlock Holmes than the one we experienced in the last title. There is something a bit more Robert Downey Jnr/ Jon Hamm found in this take and at first it took me a while to side with the character in this one. I miss the overall feel of Sherlock in the previous title; he seemed more approachable before, however with all the current successful versions of the character in popular culture, it makes sense to keep some familiarity.
Rather than simply rummaging through houses and crime scenes looking for evidence, the game tries to throw some different gameplay styles into the mix to keep players moving forward. Quick time sections and tailing potential persons of interest keep the cases from getting stale in theory, even though I found the tailing sections a little long winded and it probably would have serviced the game better to simply be confined to the actual sleuthing for clues. It was a good idea to change the pace, but as the stories never really gripped me to the point where I could overlook these mini-game shortcomings, the filler moments became really noticeable.
While Frogwares have used this game as a soft reboot for its franchise, it would be more important in the future to reboot its engine. I suffered some insanely long load times, which were made worse by the fact that you have to press A at the end of a load time in order to move on. So there were more than a few times where I stared at the screen for upwards of a minute to see a tiny A button symbol appear. For example early on in the game, I walked out of a room only to realise I hadn’t finished and when I turned around to get back in I was faced with a long wait (pictured below with the loading circle). This issue, along with some screen tearing and some animations not syncing up with the voice acting, weren’t game breaking by any means but it did occur enough during gameplay to annoy and deserve mention.
SUMMARY: Adventure games of old, are hard to come by these days and Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter is a return to that classic genre amid all the triple-A shooters these days. Featuring some interesting new gameplay ideas outside of the general searching for clues and a new look for the Frogwares developed franchise, this new title is a welcome distraction for a rainy weekend. However a pretty so-so story, and some hardware issues dampened the strength of this new soft reboot making it difficult to recommend to those not well versed in the franchise.
Reviewed On: Xbox One
Playtime: 9 Hours
Sherlock Holmes: The Devils Daughter is available now on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. Head over to the Frogwares website for more details.
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John Wood is most known for being opinionated loudly in public but choosing the silent option in Telltale games. Usually found hidden in the corner of the nearest cinema, John is passionate about film and his childhood love in Nintendo.