Crimes and Punishments: this is Sherlock Holmes

Gare – Tuesday, February 4, 2014 4:02 AM
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Frogwares, having produced the vast majority of the Sherlock-themed games seen during the last decade or so, is now shepherding Arthur Conan Doyle’s undying hero onto new pastures – the upcoming project,(sub)titled Crimes and Punishments, will allow players to get to know a slightly more “modern” Sherlock.

So far, we do know that the new installment will most definitely not be the same point and click type of affair seen in most previous installment, and will have Holmes appear more active than ever. In terms of visuals, the upcoming tale will be brought to life with Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 and all its bells and whistles – more exciting than all the shaders and particles, however, is the gameplay aspect of Crimes and Punishments that, according to Frogwares, will let players experience in great detail what it’s like to *be* Sherlock Holmes. The legendary detective will be embroidered in not only one, but a total of seven intricate mysteries, making use of his stellar deduction and observational skills to find and unmask the suspect of each case. From what we’ve seen, Holmes will have to pay very close attention to the finest of details as well as all the telltale signs while conversing with other characters or investigating a crime scene for clues. Players will eventually use the collected morsels of information to interrogate a variety of suspects in scenes that can’t help but remind me of Rockstar’s LA Noire.

While the above is more or less what one would expect from a game starring Holmes, the twist that Frogwares aims to implement in Crimes and Punishments is an elaborate choice & consequence system, probably not entirely unlike the ones that have been tremendously popular in certain Western RPGs of recent years. Can the player find all the essential clues? And if so, will he be able to draw the correct conclusions? There is no greater blunder in the life of a top-notch detective than putting an innocent suspect behind bars, and the Reputation system present in Crimes and Punishments will force players to think very carefully before making such important decisions – unless, of course, they wish for their well-earned reputation to be smashed by the local papers. To spice things up even further, Frogwares promises an array of moral dilemmas: let us assume that we have found the correct suspect – but what if we sympathize with them, or find their deed justifiable? We may very well unveil and condemn the suspect to a life in jail, or – should our own heart and moral compass dictate so – quietly let them go. This allows for a number of interesting scenarios, I’d like to think – if Frogwares plays its cards right, the new Holmes game could be a truly memorable detective drama in the making. And yet I have to be ever doubtful – I can only hope that the game can live up to expectations and deliver consequences that do carry weight and potentially come back to haunt you, as opposed to feeling like you’re merely ticking options A or B in a neatly organized quiz. We’ll see how it all pans out.

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments is set for an early 2014 release, launching on Xbox 360, PS3/4 and PC platforms.

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