Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments (PlayStation 3) Review

By Drew Hurley 02.05.2016

Review for Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments on PlayStation 3

Old school gamers are always pleased to see a new adventure game. Telltale may have kept the genre alive, but its style of game is formalised with little variation or innovation. Developer Frogwares, meanwhile, has also been pumping out regular adventure games, with Sherlock Holmes: Crime & Punishment being the latest starring the deerstalker'd master detective himself and for the first time is hitting consoles, too. After a look at the PlayStation 4 version, Cubed3 goes back to see how it fared on PlayStation 3, as well.

Crimes & Punishments consists of six cases for Sherlock to investigate, and each is a very individual and independent story that feels somewhat episodic in nature. There are some underlying story threads between the cases, such as a mystery group of terrorists known as the "Merry Men" that Mycroft is investigating, but each can be enjoyed as quite the standalone story. The cases themselves run quite the gambit and each makes for a thoroughly interesting tale. There are plenty of grisly murders, of course, but also some intrigue between crime families, vanishing trains, robberies, Ancient Greek treasures, plus the classic Conan Doyle storytelling.

The core of the gameplay consists of Sherlock travelling from place to place, examining clues, finding links between these clues, making deductions, and interrogating or interacting with witnesses/potential suspects. The gameplay really excels - Sherlock's investigations all rely on "the little things are infinitely the most important," whether he be examining a suspect or the scene of a crime. The witness interactions require noticing small details on appearance and throwing the correct clue when they utter a lie or an inconsistency.

Examining a scene is even better; this iteration introduces a new "Sherlock Vision" view to find the little details to examine. These usually result in some type of mini-game or puzzle. There's a wide range of puzzles here, some of which are genuinely difficult and challenging brainteasers. For those who don't enjoy such things or get stuck on any of the puzzles, there is always an option to skip each one, having it instantly solved with no real repercussion other than a knock at one's pride and the loss of any related trophies. Solving the puzzles often rewards Sherlock with a clue to the case, clues that spin through Sherlock's mind and finding a link between two can advance the story and also give a potential "deduction" to play with later.

Screenshot for Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments on PlayStation 3

It's great to see an adventure title breaking away - if only slightly - from the overused adventure game mechanic of filling up the inventory with items and then using each item on each other or on everything and every person in each environment to figure out an often cryptic or senseless link. Sherlock will automatically use the appropriate item at the appropriate time and, instead, the experimenting with combining items comes in the deductions.

These deductions are more like the classic adventure game mechanics of old, since as clues are found and events progress, Sherlock adds more facts and items to his thought process. The trick then is to deduce the scenario from the clues provided, combining clues together to form a deduction that progresses further towards an explanation or culprit. A nice feature here is that the deductions don't always lead to the correct solution. There are numerous different solutions to each deduction and each solution can result in a few different endings to each case, each dependent on the performance of Sherlock and the logic of the deduction made. There are even opportunities to let a guilty criminal go free, which is an interesting addition that can take into account moral choices.

While the gameplay elements excel, the characters fall somewhat flat across the board. Holmes is lacking his signature eclectic personality and instead comes across robotic and without any real charm. Watson comes across as quite an idiotic sidekick instead of a partner and equal. The secondary cast are even worse in their performance, both from the writing and from the voice actors' delivery. The characters look good, at least. This is the first iteration in the series to use the Unreal Engine 3, and the quality jump is highly noticeable.

Screenshot for Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

It's clear that the staff members at Frogwares have an affinity for the character of Sherlock Holmes. They do a great job in crafting an experience that captures the essence of the Conan Doyle stories. Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishment looks fantastic and is filled with interesting and smart puzzles that make the game worth playing, but the writing and performance of characters mar the experience as a whole.




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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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