The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is a title published by Focus Home Interactive and developed by Frogwares. Personally I find Sherlock Holmes stories to be well told mysteries and stories. I guess anything is better when us Americans do not ruin it and make Watson a female so Sherlock and his trusty sidekick can have a heterosexual tension between them. But I digress and this is not a review of “Elementary”, this is a review about The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, a true Sherlock Holmes tale.
This game is about the trials and tribulations about Sherlock Holmes. After resolving the mystery of a stolen piece of jewelry, it is discovered that the piece was a forgery and the press points the finger at Mr. Holmes. While this is just the beginning of the slander, as he takes more events unfold to make London resent Sherlock Holmes and their trust in his detective skills dwindles away.
The story of this game is wonderfully written. It unfolds like a true mystery story, just like what Sherlock Holmes brings to the table. The only hindrance to the story is some of the voice acting. While I find Sherlock’s voice to be stellar, Watson can get rather annoying. The same goes for some of the supporting characters. Their voices drone on as if no emotion was put forth. It takes you out of the elements in many instances but you get used to it. The portrayal of Sherlock in this game is spectacular and it is a real treat to see his character break down to show that Holmes has some demons to deal with.
The art style is wonderfully done too. Minus some stiff animations in terms of movement during the cutscenes the game is visually pleasing. The models for Holmes and Watson are very detailed and it just works so damn well. The environments are great as well. The player interaction however is limited and you can only interact with things of “importance”. When something is moved or removed it goes into a different screen. However, this game is about the puzzles and mystery elements. Essentially, how well does this game play? Well I can safely say that the gameplay works and is very solid.
This is a game about puzzles and deduction. You will spend much of your time gathering clues in crime scenes and deducing the fact from fiction with Watson. There are three view points at which you can play, Third Person, First Person, and Point N Click. While I find the most enjoyment out of the third person view, the other two views are interesting additions. They are all very usable and the controls are easy to learn. Some extra things that really up the gameplay experience is the optional point of interest markers, think of Deus Ex Human Revolution and the glowing yellow outline function. It can be turned off for players who like to play a game and not have the game play itself. This is a puzzle driven game and the puzzles range from straightforward to very challenging.
I mentioned earlier that the gameplay has an effect on the story. You can also play as Watson in certain scenarios and his work is to write down the clues and make the connections for Sherlock to bounce ideas off of. As the story progresses you see Sherlock from Watson’s point of view and in a way, it is heartbreaking. This game would not be the same if you were not able to play as Watson. His gameplay sections are rather challenging as well. You have to separate the fact from fiction and finding that right connection will challenge your mind.
The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is probably going to be that sleeper hit but this game is flying under the radar and it needs much more recognition. The wonderfully written story, the character portrayal, and the challenging gameplay make this a game every Sherlock Holmes/puzzle fan must play. I give the Testament of Sherlock Holmes a 9/10. Pick this game up on Steam, PS3, and Xbox 360.