Sherlock Holmes Chapter One Review
While most of us know who Sherlock Holmes was and the games based around his life and cases. We never really got to see him in his younger days. Now with Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One launching on Nov.16th, we get to see the master detective struggling to prove himself as he uncovers the mystery of his mother’s mysterious death.
As a young Sherlock the first thing you will notice about him is his brashness and his arrogance. Though over time this facade of his slowly peels away when he becomes a master detective. It’s here on the island of Cordona that he learns more about his life and his mother’s death. A place where crime and corruption are rampant in an otherwise idyllic setting.
Want to see some gameplay first?
The gameplay in Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One is a familiar one, with some added new features thrown into the mix. We get the usual casebook where all our clues, conversations and documents that will aid us in our investigations to solve the cases. Our deductions are now all done in the “Mind Palace” where we get to deduce and connect the clues that will help further our investigation or uncover the truth and culprit. It works much in the same way as previous titles, but it’s laid out more clearly and I found it easier to navigate through it when discovering what happened in a particular case. When examining an area pressing the RB allows you to concentrate and you to see smaller objects around you in the world. You can also use it to remember certain moments from your past and follow the memories and uncover the truth within. If you press LB, it will highlight areas that are interactive in the environment around you and lead you to more clues.
Innocent or Guilty?
The young detective also has some chemistry skills too. When at a crime scene there may be evidence that may need a more scientific approach. Sherlock can go to his casebook and look up the evidence he has found. He can then use his chemstry set at his home to find the right chemicals or reagents that make up the biological or chemical material.
When you have enough clues at hand, Sherlock will use his detective mind and imagination to reconstruct the past. It’s from here that the past reveals itself and we must piece it together. When we piece all these events together, we get to validate our findings and Sherlock gives his thoughts on what transpired. Once you have gathered your thoughts and have all the evidence needed, it’s then time to approach the culprit. When you confront them, you can present the evidence and then hear their case. After a confession or a plea, you will be given a choice on what the outcome may be. What will the outcome be? Are they innocent or Guilty? Will you be able to choose knowing that you were correct in your convictions? Or perhaps you accused the wrong person?
The mansion, the Holmes home. As you investigate the town, you will be able to fix up and decorate your family home. These are found from street traders that was auctioned off or some of them can be provided as rewards. The Holmes’ mansion is a big part of the main story that you uncover through the story. What is behind those doors? You will need to uncover your memories to find out. You will also get people visiting you in need of your assistance and so the mansion acts as your Hub where you stay during your time on the island of Cordona.
It’s About Style
Sherlock Holmes is quite gifted at disguises, and in this latest iteration we are treated to a new disguise system. Each disguise that you can use allows you to take on different accents and mannerisms to blend in. This allows you to pass unnoticed to find out more clues and even eavesdrop on a conversation to further his investigations. While using a certain outfit will make you have a more of an upstanding style in the rich parts of the island. There will be those outfits than you will need to get into the more unpleasant parts of Cordona.
Disguises are not the only skill that Sherlock Holmes possesses, he is also quite handy with a pistol. The combat in the game is based around stealth, melee attacks and shootouts. These combat sequences consist of you making use of cover and trying to exploit enemy weak points and hazards that are scattered about the area. While enemies can be killed with your pistol, it’s always best to go for a non-lethal approach when it comes to the combat. You can do this in a few ways, either by sneaking up on an unexpecting enemy, shooting out a pressure valve to incapacitate them or by using Sherlocks own Snuff box.
You can forego the combat altogether if you choose, however, you will miss out on certain side activities and the Bandit Lairs. For those among you that will probably want to do everything the game has to offer, you will need to partake in some combat. For the classic Sherlock Holmes fans, the combat can be skipped, and you are able to concentrate more on the detective side of the game that is on offer.
A Thing of Beauty
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One visuals is a thing of beauty with a coastal view along the Mediterranean in Cordona set in the 19th century the town is. The town is a bright and beautiful place that has sun drenched streets where they are alive with people going about their daily routines. Whether it’s bustling through the markets or side streets or meeting up in the park for a chat and a stroll. The citizens of Cordona seem to be everywhere. The town is split up into five boroughs or districts, each district having their own distinct look and style, from mining to the wealthy.
The main characters within the story are beautiful rendered and each has their own distinct characteristics. Sherlock and Jon are two young protagonists who have incredible details, with Sherlocks face being the most detailed. Whether it’s beads of sweat on his face after being in a bit of a scuffle to him being in deep thought as he ponders over a crime scene or looking for clues. Each detail is represented by the subtle nuances on his face. Other characters like one Lord Craven, whom you meet at the start of the game. He is a bit of a drunk who has a terrible temper yet has some refinements of a nobleman. This is noticeable by how he carries himself and how he talks, while his eyes and Rosey red cheeks show that he is fond of the tipple. Most of the NPCs that you will come across seem more generic and are less aesthetically pleasing. However, this is natural when you look at the size and scope of the town that you are free to wander through.
A Sound So Sweet.
To accompany the visuals in the game is the soundtrack that can be beautiful and tranquil as you visit the streets of Cordona. Then will suddenly you will get an up-tempo rhythm when you step inside a room where a crime has happened. The two mix so well together it’s like a dance between each one. The character acting and voices are done very well when you consider that most games like this mess it up.
You can hear the different accents and tones of each charact you meet, adding to the immersive experience that the game sets. Some of the NPCs you come across can be repetitive. This is more evident when you are seeking information and you hear the same lines repeatedly.
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One breaks from the normal fetch and seek missions that you need to do. Rather than the usual goes here and talk to this person, you are free to tackle the case as you see fit and at your own pacing. Frogwares have put a lot of thought into the difficulty of the game, and they make it clear there is no handholding as you play. You are left to your own devices and there are no hints to show you who to talk to, where to go or what you should do. You are free to be the best detective you can be if you can. If you arrest the wrong person, you are not punished by this, though it may have some consequences down the line
As you progress through the story you will uncover the truth behind your mother’s death as each case brings you closer to the final reveal. Each case acts like a stepping stone until you piece together the mystery about Cordona and about your mother.
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is a journey like no other as you find the truth behind your mothers’ death. The new game features added really freshens up the series and the characters you meet are just as interesting as ever, while hiding something more sinister. The combat is a breath of fresh air while also not tying you down or being over complicated. While it takes time to get to grips with, it’s anything but Elementary.
SSG Rating 8.5/10