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Dec 23, 2012

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes PC Review

As a player of the Sherlock Holmes series since it began 10 years ago, I have to say that the series has evolved considerably since Curse of the Mummy. Testament is a wonderful new addition for players familiar with other Holmes titles. For players new to Holmes, this is a point and click adventure game (albeit with a multiple view interface reminiscent of some FP shooters) that still retains some of the frustrations of the genre such as linearity problems, inventory heavy puzzles and sometimes extensive exposition dialog. If you are more in to action heavy games, this entry may be quite dull and it may not be the right game for you. For those that have played other Holmes titles, this is definitely new take on an old character and is probably the best game in the series right now.

Watson must come to grips that Holmes might not be the man he thought he was and that he might be capable of some sinister deeds. Over the course of the game, even I started to lose faith along with Watson (with one extremely shocking/OMG scene in the third act).

Graphics (80/100): Getting better, but there is still room for improvement. Some of the motions are still jerky and the lip animations don't always match up with the dialog. Don't be put off by the opening sequence which starts off with some poorly animated/atrociously voiced children in an attic (small, bearable part of story). My awful computer made them look like the pale-skined, dead-eyed kids from Village of the Damned. They've also done away with the creepy Watson sneak ups and random arm flailing from Awakened. They still reuse characters quite heavily from older games and sometimes the copy paste elements are obvious (all old ladies in Whitechapel are apparently a set of 6-8 identical twins with differing scarf fashions).

Sound (60/100): Old stand by voice acting from Holmes and Watson (cynical and snarky as always :). The music is a little more banal than other games, lots of theme reuse and old sound effects. Sound must not have been a priority, but just make it through the kids and the game gets better (seriously who voice casted those abominations?)

Puzzles (80/100): You can't have an adventure game without puzzles and with these Frogwares has turned away from the easier ones in Ripper and gone back to the more frustrating types encountered in Lupin and Awakened. There is great variety- math puzzles, sliders, color match, combination and inventory puzzles- and most are not too bad. However, there is one chess puzzle early on that us quite evil for that level of the game, but there is a new skip puzzle feature in this game, so you never really get permanently stuck. The "sixth sense" (reveals object interactions) and deduction board features return from Ripper as well.

Playability (90/100): This game has a few more system requirements than previous entries, but my old boat anchor from 2007 played it fine with minimal loading hang up (don't recommend playing on a non-gaming laptop though). There are only a few glitches or bugs and it has an autosave feature at key scene changes.

Storyline (100/100): This is the best thing about the game. It's an entirely original story, but Frogwares has included the cannon from the other games (don't need to play others to understand this one though). I was genuinely surprised by many of the plot twists and liked the direction the game was taking. The ending may ruffle some hard-core literary Holmes fans, but I thought it was sweet and believable. Overall, there is 12-20 hours of gameplay, so it is a long game.

Cost (40/100): As advertised, the cost is currently too high but worth it in the $20-30 range.

Overall (80/100), if you enjoy the series -buy this game- and if you are new to the genre, expect heavy dialog and puzzle oriented themes.       

Verdict: 80/100 

Genre Adventure
Style Third-Person Adventure
Themes Urban Whodunit Franchise Characters
Release Date September 25, 2012
Developer Frogwares, Ltd.
Publisher Atlus
Flags Downloadable Release


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