Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter

$10.27

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Complete Review & Description

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter is the latest of Frogwares’ Sherlock games and it’s certainly an improvement on some of the previous ones (I’m looking at you Creepy Watson). The developers tried for a slightly different approach to this one and ended up with a daring, sarcastic and enjoyable Sherlock who is only a little bit of a jerk – but in a loveable scamp sort of way. Watson has gone through a make over as well, reverting to a younger, but still very loyal version of himself. Combined with their new neighbour Alice, and Sherlock’s daughter (yes, you read that right) Katelyn, The Devil’s Daughter offers interesting characters and an on going plot that delves into the detective’s personal life – a side we haven’t seen all that much of before.
Much of the gameplay offers familiar mechanics, allowing long time Sherlock fans to easily slip into the new role. The game is basically a mash up of several different mini games and quick time events. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It’s probably because each mini game is different from the last, allowing you to feel as if you are actually steaming open other people’s mail or playing lawn bowls. This is also the closest I’ve ever been to playing a sports game. Apparently I have a hidden talent for lawn bowls. If one task is really not to your liking though, it won’t stop the world’s greatest non-bat themed detective. You have the option to skip most tasks, though you won’t see the solution to the puzzle.

Despite having seen it before, the synapses based mind map used to create Sherlock’s final deductions still impresses me and each case is well built enough to make either of the potential endings seem viable. Whether you just really don’t like someone, or you genuinely believe the evidence, it’s again possible to wrongly accuse someone and have them take the chosen punishment. It’s not as satisfying, but the important part is that it’s your choice.

Costumes and disguises are once again an essential, though the most fun is in playing dress up and making the most offensive Sherlock possible. It’s not hard, there are some very bad hair styles and one truly fancy sportswear set that has never and will never see an ounce of sweat. Being a priest has never been so fun.–
Visually, we are greeted by a smoother, prettier game than before. While it’s still not the best I’ve ever seen, Sherlock moves around London with ease. His dog companion Toby is a mess however, as you’ll have the unfortunate experience of watching him move in third-person. I liken it to a well painted merry go round: it looks good, but no one believes that the up and down motion is in anyway like an actual dog’s movements. Still, switching to first person makes it bearable and the contrast between playing as Toby and the rest of the game shows how much effort has been put into smoothing the whole experience out.

I found the emphasis on creating a new Sherlock Holmes allowed for better character building. There aren’t in depth, character building moments exactly, but you can take cues off of the people Sherlock interacts with. The most important relationship is of course the one Sherlock has with his daughter Katelyn. While certainly a surprise when she first came on screen, and not exactly the most likeable character, it’s nice to see multiple sides of Sherlock, particularly those human ones not often shown. As you might expect, Sherlock is not the best father figure, but it’s certainly interesting to watch.
My biggest complaint (aside from Toby) was the story telling. Don’t get me wrong, like most of the other material, Devil’s Daughter gives us complex and well thought out cases and a great over-arching plot to enjoy – but the way it’s told at times is trying. In the first case your investigation leads you to visit a suspect. Instead of interrogating him or partaking in a little light breaking and entering, you are thrust into a chase scene in the middle of the woods with no warning. I understand that leaps in logic must sometimes be made for the sake of gameplay, but this felt more like a whole scene was missing.

None of that stopped me from wanting more though. It’s a good game with good characters and good storylines, but it will never be much more than that. It needs polish and a few extra scenes to truly do it justice. But if you want to solve cases, travel to Mayan temples, disarm bombs, and don’t mind giving the game a little bit of patience, you can’t do much better. Just make sure to bring your fanciest sportswear for the lawn bowls.

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