Exhibit B: Building Leads And Playing Games(cont.)
As you traverse the different settings, you'll find yourself doing more than just walking around and picking up clues. While many clues are able to be somewhat deciphered from the start, there are others much more complicated that call on Holmes to look deep into either his mind or his assets. Take for example, trying to figure out where a cigar came from. As he tries to think about it, the player is given the task to make an image out of the fragments that appear on the screen while using the evidence piece itself as a bit of a manipulator for the image. Another example is throwing a harpoon at a pig carcass to replicate a cause of death accurately.
There are minigames littered throughout the game and all of them contribute rather well. They don't feel like they're just fluff to make the game last longer but rather an integral part to the Holmes experience. One of my particular favorite minigames is whenever I'm required to mix chemicals and reagents together to help figure out something otherwise unseen about a clue. But don't fret if a particular puzzle or mini-game is stalling you out and leaving you stumped, the developers have thought of those who just wanted to experience the story and has put in the ability to skip these segments should you wish. I wouldn't suggest it unless you're absolutely stuck, however, considering this is a major part of the gameplay.
Once you've gone through the minigames, found all the clues, and interviewed all the people of interest, this leaves you alone in Sherlock's thoughts to assemble the outcome via deduction. This is where the magic of the outcomes happens as you put together all the clues the way you see fit in a search for the truth. While there is one "right" outcome, the possibility of all the others makes it a rather amazing show of freedom in the hands of the player. It will warn you if things you've put together are contradicting eachother, but other than that it will never give even the slightest hint on whether your assumption is right or wrong. That is entirely up to you the decide.
As my first foray into Frogware's take on Sherlock Holmes, I was not disappointed. Not only did I enjoy myself in the mix of beautiful scenery meeting with enticing story, but the type of gameplay to match that actually made me feel like a detective. When a game boasts about choices, people tend to be wary. They tend to wonder if their choices will actually matter. The fact that every choice has an impact in some way in Crimes and Punishments makes it excel past its peers in the detective genre of games alone. Mix in enjoyable gameplay, appealing visuals, and a mostly great voice acting cast, and you can consider this case closed. Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments is hands down the best detective game I've ever played and one of the most enjoyable experiences of the 2014 gaming year so far.
Freedom of choice leads to amazing replay value, beautiful environments, almost all of the voice acting, great story, enjoyable gameplay; minigames don't feel like filler but rather an integral part of the experience.
A few of the side characters have lackluster voice acting, the ability to skip certain sequences offers a path of less resistance which goes against the point of a challenge, ability to check if you got the right suspect or not at the end of a case goes s