Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter
Having recently played and reviewed the dreadful zombie-splattering offering, Capcom’s Umbrella Corps, I hungered for a completely different gaming experience. Something that would wash away all of the virtual goop that I felt I’d been inundated in, after playing such a piece of abject rubbish. A game that would involve my wits and intuition, you know—utilize a little of that gray matter up there in the ‘ol noodle. Something that didn’t rely on super-fast hyper-run and gun blast-fests, and gratuitous amounts of gore and bloodletting, in order to appease the ravenous masses.
“Why don’t you try the latest Sherlock Holmes game?” a gaming friend recently suggested to me.
“Hmmm…I’ve never tried one of those, are they involving and interesting? Many developers have tried to make a Sherlock Holmes game work, and have always struggled to get it right. In fact, they’ve always been flops as far as I know,” I responded.
“This one is really good. If you’re a little burnt out on the frivolous action-type stuff you’ll probably dig it.”
That was all I needed to hear. I felt as though it was time to take a break from all of the shallow actioners that were substituting anything in the way of an actual narrative with buckets of blood and flying gibs.
I soon learned that Frogwares Game Development Studios’ latest Sherlock Holmes release, titled Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter, was the fifth installment in the series. I then checked out what gamers were saying about it online, and the majority of them considered it boring and that there wasn’t enough action and shootouts and fisticuffs, etc.
Upon completing Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter in about thirteen hours, I’d have to say that overall, indie developer Frogwares has faithfully recreated the most famous of detectives quite well, for the most part. Sherlock Holmes, a fictional character created by legendary weird fiction (look it up) author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is a highly meticulous and dogged puzzle-buster who always strives to get to the bottom of some very murky mysteries. Along with his trusty sidekick Doctor John Watson—if you’ve done something wrong, you probably don’t want these men on your trail.
Beyond Dr. Watson, Frogwares’ latest Holmes title also features other characters from Mr. Doyle’s series, such as Holmes’ adopted daughter, Katelyn, which were fun for me to see in digital form. Throughout Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter, you’ll get the opportunity to work on five fairly juicy whodunit cases. The cases themselves are only peripherally related to each other but must be solved sequentially in order to progress further into the overarching narrative.
Whether people have disappeared, turned up dead, or what have you, the intrepid Mr. Holmes must use his brilliant mind and unmatched deduction skills in order to successfully perform such tasks as interrogate witnesses and suspects, and collect and inspect found evidence. In this way, he begins to form hunches which further crystallize into strong cases against a suspect or three.
I say this because while you may have done all of the work and believe you have listened to every interview and poured over each bit of evidence, the game leaves just enough doubt to make even the most probable scenario, rather tenuous. I’ve read that many people who have played Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter just grow impatient with the game’s measured style, and therefore spaz out and throw the first suspect they come across behind bars. But more often than not, they are wrong. Plus, that’s not how you play a game such as this, you have to calm down, disconnect for a few moments from the whole action, action, action, video game mindset, and take your time (gasp!) in order to figure things out.
Unfortunately, it appears that Frogwares is aware that many gamers these days have the attention spans of goldfish on crack, and so have attempted to appease them by including action set pieces in the series for (apparently) the first time. I feel that these shoddily-crafted sequences not only don’t work very well from a game mechanics standpoint, but are also completely incongruous with anything to do with a Sherlock Holmes story. I mean, could you imagine watching a classic BBC Sherlock Holmes production, with all of that brilliant and nuanced British acting, and then all of a sudden seeing Mr. Holmes dive out of a window? And from there he throws up a grappling hook to and scales the walls, in order to catch a nosy eavesdropper he caught out of the corner of his eye? I didn’t think so.
Developers, please stop trying to appeal to all of the hyperactive, impatient masses, and be true to the worlds you are trying to articulate. You can still construct a formidable gaming experience without selling out. Okay, so stepping off my soapbox for now…
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter is certainly a beautiful game to behold. Even though Frogwares’ budget is but a fraction of what many triple A behemoths have on hand to play with, they’ve really risen to the occasion with regards to the game’s visuals. The characters are extremely well crafted, and, as the game features a lot of close up shots, I could even see the individual pores on their faces. Victorian London has also been brought to life in astonishing detail, we’re talking about something that compares very well to Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.
In all, I feel that Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter is a solid adventure/mystery that will keep many an armchair detective busy for some time, if they have the patience. Those expecting more of an L.A. Noir type experience, i.e. wild car chases, the smashing-in of various thug’s faces, and furious gun battles—will be disappointed with this game. Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter is a much more unique and measured gaming experience where you must use your wits in order to piece together clues in order to solve crimes, not blast through boilerplate riffraff. If you’re fine with that then you’ll probably be fine with this Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter.
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter boasts some really excellent and detailed graphics, but in order to get the most out of them you may want to invest in a decent gaming PC:
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