Game Review: Sherlock Holmes Vs. Jack the Ripper (360)

The video game is afoot! The world’s most famous detective is about to match wits with one of the most notorious killers in all of London. In Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper, help Sherlock and Dr. Watson solve the mystery of a series of murders and uncover the identity of the killer!

The game plays similar to a point and click adventure, but you control Holmes and Watson directly with the controller. When you get close enough to an item of interest, a magnifying glass or hand appears and you can examine it or pick up the item in question. In this fashion, you’ll collect clues, gather information from witnesses and police, and obtain important case evidence.

There are two ways to view the game. In the overhead perspective, you’ll see Sherlock and Watson as you move them around the streets of London. This is a good way to see more of the picture. But if you want to get a closer view of your surroundings, the first person view is the way to go. With the push of a button, you can switch to Sherlock or Watson’s view of sight, and can then walk around and see what they see. Handy if you want a more hands-on approach to the cases.

The game records every important conversation you have, every newspaper article you read, and every clue you’ve collected. When you’ve gathered all the evidence, it’s time to piece everything together to help solve the case. To do this, you’ll play a series of fun mini-games where you’ll connect the clues on paper like a flow chart, or reenact the scene of the crime using various possibilities of where the victim and murderer were standing, among other things. These mini-games are actually pretty fun, and one of the highlights of the mystery experience.

This detective game isn’t without its problems, though. The graphics are decent, but sometimes the characters look more like creepy mannequins rather than people. And sometimes it can be hard to figure out where you need to go, even with directions, when the streets of London all kind of look the same. Maybe if there was a little arrow to point you on the right track, so you wouldn’t spend so much detective time aimlessly meandering around London. Plus, some impatient gamers may not like the slower-paced gameplay and some of the puzzles aren’t as intuitive as I would’ve liked.

Even with these problems, Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper is surprisingly well-done, with authentic sounding voice acting and intelligent writing, as well as interesting mystery cases to solve. With the glut of 3-D shooters flooding the Xbox 360 market, this game is a nice change of pace. Fans of detective games like Phoenix Wright and Sam & Max might enjoy this one, too.

Kid Factor:

Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Mild Blood, Mild Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, and Violence. Most of the blood you see is just illustrations in the reenactments. There is some bad language in the script. Holmes and Watson will venture to the seediest sections of London and interrogate prostitutes and drunkards, so that’s there the Sexual Themes and Use of Alcohol and Tobacco come in. In fact, the first thing you see Sherlock do in the game is smoke a cigarette and talk about it!

In some of the story sections, you’ll view the action from the killer’s perspective, and while you don’t see anything too graphic, you will view people being strangled, and hear some pretty disgusting cutting sounds! So because of all this, the game is best for older kid gamers and teens.

The Sherlock Holmes game could be considered educational, as you will use logic, reading comprehension, and deduction skills to solve the puzzles. Plus, it might encourage players to read some of the Sherlock Holmes mystery books, exposing them to some classic literature.

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