Sherlock Holmes The Awakened Review – A Lovecraftian Twist on a Classic Detective
I have always been a fan of mystery detective games, and Sherlock Holmes undoubtedly reigns supreme in this genre. This is why I was thrilled to explore Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened by Frogwares, a studio renowned for its craftsmanship and engaging adventure games. Although not exactly a new game, but a reimagining of the 2008 classic of the same name, there is a wealth of new content to appreciate.
Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened offers a Lovecraftian spin on the Sherlock Holmes formula. The game starts with players controlling Sherlock and his trusty sidekick Watson. The opening chapter focuses on the mystery of a missing magazine found in a trash can, alongside poisonous needles from a cactus. This enigma sparks Sherlock’s curiosity and launches an adventure to unravel the truth.
A significant issue with Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is its lack of accessibility. To progress, the game expects players to possess extensive knowledge and familiarity with previous installments. Series newcomers may feel perplexed even in the first chapter, as the game offers no hints or guidance on the next steps. I found myself struggling to solve some mysteries due to unclear approaches.
This game is not a simple Sherlock Holmes story. It delves into the intricate Cthulhu Mythos and adopts a darker tone than previous games. While the subject matter may be challenging for those seeking a traditional detective story, the main campaign boasts numerous captivating moments that enrich the character development of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. The narrative serves as an origin story for the duo, first introduced in the prequel, Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, a refreshing reboot of the franchise.
Despite its low-quality animations and reused assets from the prequel, Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened still offers considerable freedom with its investigative elements. These limitations are understandable, given the development constraints during these unprecedented times, but they render the game less polished compared to similar titles. Even on a PC with maxed-out settings, the visual quality is inconsistent, featuring peculiar NPCs, bland textures, and scarce animation during cutscenes.
Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is shorter than its predecessor but presents a tightly focused narrative void of filler content. The engrossing mystery increasingly hooks players as they pursue answers to numerous questions. Frogwares draws upon its experience from games like The Sinking City and earlier Sherlock Holmes titles to craft this Lovecraftian adventure.
The game’s complex mysteries require players to gather information by talking to persons of interest and creating profiles that accurately describe them. This data is then used to corroborate and obtain more information from others. Although clues can be found among scattered objects, identifying interactive locations is challenging. A detective view is available, but it often falls short.
Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened grants complete investigative freedom, leaving players to piece together all the information to answer major questions. This is represented in the game as a Mind Palace featuring nodes that can be interconnected based on properties obtained through investigations. Determining the correct path can be slightly challenging, as the game expects players to deduce answers based on available information. Nonetheless, solving these mysteries is consistently rewarding, with no handholding whatsoever.
The PC version is well-made and not overly demanding. While it offers limited visual options for tweaking, it does support DLSS and an unlocked frame rate. The game can run on low or mid-range PCs without significant performance issues. However, I observed inconsistent visual quality, with some cutscenes and environments looking stunning, while others seem dated. Improved visuals would have been ideal, but this minor flaw does not detract from the engaging character drama and compelling campaign.
Despite its visual inconsistencies and lack of accessibility for newcomers, Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is a solid entry in the series. Its Lovecraftian twist, intricate mysteries, and character development keep players immersed in the story. While there is room for improvement in certain areas, the game still offers a captivating experience for fans of Sherlock Holmes and adventure games in general. Frogwares has once again delivered a remarkable adventure, even if it falls short of perfection.
Sherlock Holmes The Awakened Game Information
Platform: PC (Reviewed)
Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher