The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is a puzzle-filled mystery adventure game developed by Frogwares and published by Atlus and Focus Home Entertainment for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. This original tale has Sherlock Holmes using heavy-handed means to solve London’s most complex mysteries, including blackmail and other methods not generally employed by the legendary detective in the novels and short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The plot starts taking some unexpected turns after Holmes’ friend and confidant Dr. Watson begins to question his credibility, making for a great spin on a classic character.
Players take control of either Holmes or Watson at various points in The Testament of Sherlock Holmes and use the game’s multiple-choice deduction system to make decisions based on the clues uncovered at crime scenes. The big draw, aside from playing as the master detective Holmes, are the puzzles players are tasked with solving for critical clues in an investigation. Some of the puzzles are truly challenging mental exercises, but less ambitious gamers are granted the ability to skip them if they take too long to find a solution. If you purposely picked up a Sherlock Holmes game though, you know what you signed up for.
Even after being in development for almost three years, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes unfortunately suffers from a lack of polish. Character audio doesn’t always sync up with the avatars, whose looks and movements are a little underwhelming even using a new graphics engine, nor are the controls as responsive as I’d like them to be in either first or third person point-of-view. Though it was made for consoles, the game has the drawn out pacing of a PC-ported point-and-click adventure that will throw off gamers expecting an adventure more along the lines of the eccentric Guy Ritchie cinematic interpretation of Holmes of recent years.
Seeing as the last time I played as a master detective solving crimes across a large sprawling city my character donned a cape and a cowl, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is a decidedly much more restrictive experience. As intriguing as it sounds to comb the streets of London as Sherlock Holmes and Watson solving crimes, and it genuinely is, the game’s hit-or-miss approach to providing clues and instructions needed to complete puzzles can remove players from an otherwise engrossing experience. If you enjoy solving puzzles and have a bit of patience for the game’s presentation and pacing, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes can ultimately help people live out their fantasies as the iconic character from Baker Street.
The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is available now on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC for $39.99.