WE are sure Arthur Conan Doyle could never have known how popular his Sherlock Holmes tales would become.
But everyone loves a crime thriller and they don’t come better than the adventures of Holmes and co. There is such a rich back-catalogue of tales to pull from so it’s a no-brainer that the super sleuth has had a run of surprisingly good games.
Ukrainian studio Frogwares is back with a “re-boot” for their series. Sherlock Holmes Chapter One sees him returning to his childhood home of Cordona – an island in the Mediterranean.
Holmes has a lead that there is more to the death of his mother than was originally thought. The tale is set ten years after Violet Holmes’ death and that kicks off the 12-hour adventure that sees Holmes explore Cordona and question the locals.
Obviously Holmes is a lot younger than we have seen in most outings. He is about 21 and far from the great detective he will become. Instead he’s working as a private-eye, but his skills are a little rough.
Dr Watson is not part of the story yet but Holmes has an imaginary friend who is also called John.
You have a number of cases and crimes to solve and you are often dropped in at the deep end with no hand-holding. It’s up to you to find the clues, link them and draw your own conclusions.
When it works it’s great, but you can get lost or stuck and there are no hints to see the light. Suddenly it all grinds to a stop and you just go for pot luck rather than use your skills.
Surely John should be stepping in an giving you a helping hand or, at least, hinting at a direction to keep you on track.
Beyond solving the core cases Cordona is a bit of a dead island. There is lots to see but very little to do. This is a shame because you will quickly choose to travel quickly rather tha explore the open world.
Holmes does get into a scrap or two and you can arrest or kill your attacker. But, beyond getting a bit of easy cash, there is no point in pushing for the arrest – especially as you have infinite pistol ammo.
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The game looks good and the soundtrack and voice acting all add to its time-period vibe, but there are a few rough edges like voice lines being out of sync or there being a lack of any facial animations.
There are some good cases, but the world and content may just be a bit too elementary.
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One review
The final score…3.5/5
Format: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4 and PC
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