To date, Frogwares has developed about 15 games; but perhaps none as big as their most recent project The Testament of Sherlock Holmes. A new classic adventure game, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes focuses heavily on the darker side of Holmes' story which, by the way, will end in his demise.
As you can guess, this game will be gruesomely dark, which is exactly what I was shown at E3 last week. In our brief demo session at the Focus Home Interactive booth, we were shown a brief gameplay demo which had us solve the beginning of a crime.
The demo began with us, playing as Holmes, investigating the death of the pope. It was a bloody mess of a murder scene that had us perform several actions that you can expect throughout the game: investigation, deduction, and puzzle solving. Our demo centered around the investigation and deduction elements.
We first had to investigate the crime scene to find clues. This was a fairly easy process that simply had us hover over the dead body and look for when the cursor changed into a magnifying glass. The clues we found helped us solve several questions like what social class the murderers belonged to and places they visited in the past.
After searching the body and the entire area surrounding for clues, we were able to make some deductions based on what we found. This portion of the gameplay was a little more difficult. Now I'll admit I'm no detective, but with the help of two others we were able to arrive at some rather difficult answers based on our deductions.
The deduction portion involved us taking the clues and making educated guesses, eventually ending up with us getting a lead to question. For example, based on one the footprints we saw we were able to deduce that somebody changed shoes – or something of that nature. Like I said, I was horrible at making these logical decisions. Eventually, we came to some educated guesses and surprisingly only got one answer wrong.
I had asked if the variety of deductions changed based on our answers and while they do, it all eventually leads to the same outcome which is the eventual demise of Sherlock Holmes. After all, this is his story. It deals with the investigation of Sherlock Holmes being investigated, with his sidekick Watson even questioning Holmes' sanity.
There was no real punishment for getting a wrong answers, though you do get achievements for correct answers. If you find yourself stumped, as I often did, the game does offer a help system making Sherlock Holmes expand its reach to a wider audience. Once again, there is no punishment for using the help system though it is reflected in the achievements or trophies you will unlock.
In all, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes features about 15 hours of gameplay spread across 20 different locations. The game attempts to break up the dreariness of death by allowing you to play as Holmes' dog Toby. This adds for an extra layer of humor as you can investigate scenes from another perspective.
The game doesn't offer the sharpest of graphics, despite its improved graphics engine, but if you are into dramatic, puzzle solving games with a dark overtones you may want to keep an eye on The Testament of Sherlock Holmes. It is set to release in September of this year for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.