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Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened

Developer: Focus Home Interactive | Publisher: CDV
Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: Adventure

Release Date: 03/01/07

One of the greatest literary inventions is Sherlock Holmes. I won’t bother going into why – either you like him or you don’t. If you are unfamiliar with the exploits of this notable mystery figure, then run out and buy a couple of the books. If you aren’t into reading (and that’s a shame, really) then go pick up some of the old films starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes. If you are unable (or unwilling) to watch a film in black & white then I really don’t know what to say. Just knowing who the character is may no be enough when playing Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened.

Of course being familiar with Holmes (and Watson) may not be enough. H.P. Lovecraft created a world in the early 20th century which to this day captures the imagination of readers – Cthulu.

These two great literary forces come face to face in Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened and players are certainly in for a treat. More than simply an adventure game, more than a mystery, this is a great story where players get to take part in two worlds that have been thrilling fans for generations.

By using the Holmes character, the developers are allowed to make use of more challenging (but logical) puzzles. No detail is too small – though the game is certainly not going to require players to have a PhD.

Certainly this will be a great exploration of the rational overcoming the irrational. Holmes’ logic and linear problem solving going up against the madness inducing elder god. By playing as both Holmes and Watson, clues will be collected and the mystery will be unraveled.

While many might initially balk at the idea of having to keep track of all of the different clues and conversations, the game does the bulk of the heavy lifting. Before progress is made from one “level” to the next, Holmes will need to go though the various bits of evidence to see if there is something that might be missing. This will serve as a help for players to make sure that they are able to solve the particular piece of the puzzle before moving on. Answering the questions given allows for progress, and the various bits of evidence in each chapter are keys to the answers. It’s all rather elemen… sorry.

Conversations are recorded in their entirety as well. This also helps greatly with a game as richly detailed as this. Nothing is insignificant, so having the conversation logged as Holmes would remember it not only aids the player, but helps to truly recreate the world of the famous detective.

Don’t expect this to be an easy game with everything handed to you though. In a truly madness inducing feature worthy of Cthulu himself, some of the puzzles will be so obvious yet miniscule that it is entirely within the realm of possibility to spend a long chunk of time examining the wrong wall for the missing bit of evidence needed.

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened may not be the best looking adventure game, but it certainly looks good. A full 3D environment helps to recreate the world of Holmes and the voice acting is also decent. Certainly there are better, but by and large there are a lot more worse.

After playing the game for a few hours, I have to say that mystery fans will be very well served with this game arrives in September. So far the story moves along at a good pace, the puzzles challenging but logical and the immersion quite good. Certainly adventure game fans will want to keep an eye out for this one.

By Daniel "Monk" Pel... - 07/17/07
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Suggestive Themes, Violence

Screenshots for Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened

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