The 10th game in Frogwares’ series of Sherlock Holmes adventure games, Crime & Punishments is technically ambitious, adopting Unreal Engine 3 for the best-looking instalment yet.
Gameplay is thoroughly old school, though, an unapologetic point and click in approach, if not execution. Played in third- or first-person, Crimes & Punishments allows you to investigate murders and disappearances across Victorian London, using Holmes’s keen intuition to piece together seemingly arbitrary clues.
Interrogation of suspects adds an LA Noire vibe, pulling apart inconsistencies in stories, while costume changes help Holmes go undercover to hunt down information.
Unexpectedly good writing and (mostly) solid voice acting keep the attention, but ultimately the game is unpolished. Holmes’s walk animation is ropey and crime scenes are reduced to looking at everything before moving on. That said, Crimes & Punishments is oddly compelling once you’ve allowed yourself to be drawn into its narrative.
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