The famous fictional 19th century detective, Sherlock Holmes, has been framed for a heinous crime that he didn’t commit! Now he’s being hunted by Scotland Yard, and even Dr. Watson’s trust in his companion is wavering. As Sherlock Holmes, it’s up to you to solve the case and catch the real criminals and clear your own name in this point and click mystery game for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC (360 version reviewed here).
In the game, you’ll directly control Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as you search the streets of London and investigate crime scenes. When you get close to an item of interest, a magnifying glass, hand, or word bubble will appear. This will let you know that you can investigate something, take an item, or talk to someone. The game records every conversation you have, every newspaper article you read, and each item you investigate.
Once you have enough clues, you’ll be able to try puzzling mini-games similar to conundrums in titles like Myst. You might have to maneuver chess pieces to figure out how to open a safe, bend a wire properly to pick a lock, or sort out clues and possibilities on a deduction board. If you need a hint, you can activate Holmes’ sixth sense to help you find items of interest, but if you are close enough you can see them anyway, and it certainly didn’t help with solving the maddening puzzles.
The game isn’t without a few problems, though. Moving Holmes and Watson with the control stick is a bit clunky in third person mode, but luckily the first person mode works better, if not a bit dizzying. Most of the brain busting puzzles are much too counter-intuitive, so don’t feel bad if you need to refer to an online guide often. And while the graphics are decent, the character models sometimes look a bit creepy, especially the kid characters who are reading the story (and are totally unnecessary anyway). I’m almost certain this game is a sequel to a Sherlock Holmes title I reviewed a couple of years ago, so if you enjoyed that one or other mystery games like L.A. Noire, you might want to take a look at this one, too.
The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is rated M for Mature with ESRB descriptors of Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, and Use of Drugs. In the game you’ll investigate some pretty grisly crime scenes with severely wounded victims up close. At one point you’ll even have to gather clues from analyzing a severed finger! Blech! But really, the best reason why this game is best for grown up gamers is the high level of reading comprehension and logic involved, as the puzzles are extremely difficult. The game could be considered educational, though, what with all the brain teasers and interesting facts about the author of the real life stories during the loading screens.