Back in the glory days of video games many of the most popular games didn’t require the reaction speed of Bruce Lee on Speed, in fact with this type of game you could stop playing and have dinner without even the need to have a pause button. The style of game I refer to is the ‘Point and Click’ adventure, and in this modern high speed world even classic remakes aren’t really attracting newcomers and only getting love from us older gamers and our rose tinted glasses. So I was excited to find a new, up to date, take on the good old point and click adventure, but sad to think in this world of twitch gaming that it may just fade away into obscurity…
One thing you will learn early in The Testament Of Sherlock Holmes is never to skip a cut scene or dialogue section. This game really is a methodical series of collecting clues and taking note of who says what. If you do miss something don’t fret, Dr. Watson will be taking notes for you to examine at anytime. The interface has you moving around different locations in 1898 London examining clues and questioning suspects in the aim to solve a pretty in-depth crime. As you move around items and people of interest will be highlighted by a magnifying glass symbol. Not all clues are simply in the open though, many involve you solving intricate puzzles to open locks or decipher notes. The level of some of these puzzles really does add to the maturity level of this game, and finally solving them is immensely satisfying.
The two major let downs in The Testament Of Sherlock Holmes are the controls and the lip syncing, or lack of. Firstly, the controls. Although you never have to react quickly, the inability to set the inversion of X and Y camera controls independently is a real pain. It’s just unbelievably frustrating and really breaks the immersion when you are constantly fighting the controller to face towards a highlighted clue. As for the lip syncing, I found myself looking at other on screen objects to avoid getting annoyed at the terrible lip sync effort. But more importantly it allowed me to concentrate on what was being said and not the fact that it looked like one of those old Kung Fu movies with English dub. Neither faults are real deal breakers but do kill the immersion a fair bit.
Overall the presentation is up to scratch and graphically Mr Holmes and Dr. Watson are passable. I did at times have some background music that seemed out of place, whether that was just a badly chose piece or if it was a bug replaying a previous incorrect piece, I’m not sure. Obviously this is a single player game with no kind of online or offline co-op or multiplayer, even though you would have thought you could have had a friend in co-op as Dr. Watson. The game is just too slow, in a good way, and thoughtful for more than one player. I wouldn’t call The Testament Of Sherlock Holmes a long or hard game, I think methodical might be a good word for it.
I quiet like the slower pace of game that is presented here but even at my age found myself craving the faster pace of other titles I have on hold. Maybe it’s the world we now live in, all A.D.D. and no time to do anything. But I’ll tell you, maybe the old adage about stopping and smelling the flowers is something to adhere too. Yes the controls and lip syncing are well off but behind that is a good old fashioned Sherlock Holmes mystery with some great puzzles and classic story telling worthy of anyone who can slow down and take in the details. And as for a little light fact, did you know Sherlock Holmes never said "Elementary, my dear Watson" in anything written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle….
Released on 28/9/2012 on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.