[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Frogwares” publishers=”ATLUS ” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”September 25, 2012″]
Sherlock Holmes is easily one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. He is one of those characters that are near instantly recognizable, no matter the medium he is portrayed in. Heck, even merely saying the word “detective” conjures up images of the British mystery solver (unless of course, you have been living under a rock).
So, when developer Frogwares decided to craft a new video game entry to the Sherlock Holmes saga available on major consoles, surely they had some big shoes to fill, right? Thankfully for fans of the character, the developer is no stranger to Sherlock Holmes games, having done several for PC. This translates to a solid and commendable mystery adventure game, and a welcome addition to the saga of Holmes.
Testament opens as Holmes and his faithful partner Watson are called in to investigate the theft of a valuable jeweled necklace. Upon realizing that the necklace is clearly a fake, people began to suspect Sherlock himself as the thief. Before long, a grisly murder occurs, and again, Sherlock is suspected of the crime. London begins to lose their faith in the detective as he struggles to clear his name and remove himself from the conspiracy unfolding before his eyes.
Wow. That’s one of the only words I can think of to describe the story line in Testament. True to what one would expect out of a Sherlock Holmes game, the developers do not disappoint. The game had me on the edge of my seat at every turn, and I literally found it hard to put the game down once I got caught up in the thick of things. By focusing more on the character of Sherlock Holmes, and not so much on the mastermind criminal that Holmes must thwart before the police, the stakes are raised considerably and it allows you to relate to the detective a lot more personally. No one likes to getting accused of something they didn’t do, after all.
The puzzle work in the game is also refreshingly difficult. It’s a mystery game, so my first inclination was to just point and click and try and solve things by interacting with the environment. Before long, it became very apparent I wouldn’t get very far with this strategy. No, to get anywhere in the game, you have to use reason and logic to figure things out. This is done with the game’s deduction system, allowing you to take clues you find around the various environments and piece them together into the solution to move forward. It’s a very cool system that makes you feel like you’re Sherlock Holmes himself.
Speaking of environments, the graphics in this game were surprisingly impressive. Granted, that’s not saying much in this graphics centric video game era, but still. There weren’t high expectations in the graphics department for me from a game I had barely heard of before I played it. Perhaps it’s a result of the developer’s long history of PC games. Whatever the case, you will find yourself impressed on how genuinely awesome some of the environments are, especially in first person mode.
Testament isn’t all roses and clovers however, as the game does have its share of low points. For starters, there are random segments where you have to play as Watson on little retrieval quests. This might not be a problem to some players, and no offense to the fictional Watson, but Sherlock Holmes is iconic enough by himself. You wouldn’t buy a Super Mario game to play as Luigi would you? It doesn’t help either that the Watson segments kind of feel like they were thrown in as an afterthought.
Another distracting part of the game was the voice acting. Watson and Holmes were very well done, but it seems like nowhere near enough effort was put into the rest of the characters. Some of them even sound like people trying to make fun of British accents. On top of that, I sometimes found the mouth actions not sinking up with the spoken dialogue. It was a bit interesting to say the least.
Petty problems aside though, Testament of Sherlock Holmes is a rather enjoyable experience. If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes, or even just a fan of mystery in general, Testament is well worth the money.