Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One | PS5 Review
Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One is the latest in the Sherlock Holmes game series and as you can expect, it’s a detective mystery game. It was developed and published by Frogwares and is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, and XBox, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.
The story kicks off with a young Sherlock Holmes heading to Cordona to pay his respects and say a final goodbye to his mother. Holmes and his trusty sidekick Watson barely have time to make it to their hotel before a dead body is discovered leaving the perfect mystery to be solved. As you progress you quickly discover that this murder is only one part in a long string of crimes being committed on Cordona and luckily enough, young Sherlock has plenty of experience solving such mysteries. The main narrative of Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One focuses on and explores the various circumstances and suspicious events that surround his mothers death and provides scope for many more events going on around Cordona at that time.
To help you solve these mysteries, Frogwares have incorporated a feature known as Mind Palace where you can link together clues that you have uncovered, review evidence that you’ve found and use these to draw your conclusions of what has actually gone on in these dark and worrisome times. Fans of previous releases in the series will be familiar with many of the mechanics, however newcomers like myself will quite appreciate the Mind Palace as a place to collate all your information rather than having to retain it until the appropriate time. Alongside familiar mechanics, existing fans of the series will have new ones which really transform the game. One of these key features is eavesdropping. If your investigating something, you can walk around the nearby area and listen to all the punters at the bar gossiping and chatting away and it then becomes your job to try and use the powers of deduction to figure out whether they're talking about anything related to your current investigations. For me personally, I found these conversations to be quite vague and not really of much use so I often found myself just meandering aimlessly beside NPCs listening to them repeatedly to figure out what's pertinent to my case and what is just idle gossip and I discovered it was mostly just trial and error.
Alongside the new features added to your detective skills, there is also some combat in the game, which did feel quite arduous at times as you try to lure perpetrators towards gas pipes and other similar traps for you to stun enemies rather than kill them - what kind of a detective is going to walk around killing suspects rather than arresting them? Despite not being a prior fan of the series, it seems like the developers have stuck to many familiar aspects to the series but have also evolved and developed some new ideas and new takes on things and from watching gameplay of the past games, the differences are certainly noticeable.
My main criticism of Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One is that after a while everything really began to just feel like a bit of a chore and when I say everything, I mean everything. Things got a little bit repetitive and I found my engagement with the story really waning, which was quite sad, because the concept is most certainly there and interesting to me. There was minimal variation in voice lines from NPCs or the methods in which you gain your evidence and everything very much feels like it was pressed in a cookie cutter and churned out all identical to one another. Whilst this consistency is generally a good thing, I feel like there also needs to be some variety to keep people engaged. My final complaint is that whilst the game does generally run at a reliable 60fps, I found it began to struggle visually during the more open world sections which is a shame, because initially I found the graphics to be quite well polished during the early stages and then it suddenly just started to go downhill.
Despite this however; I really enjoyed Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One. Frogwares have clearly found a formula that works and conveys a story that's very much fitting to the classic tales that we all know and love. Existing fans of the other games will thoroughly enjoy this new instalment and will likely appreciate the changes and upgrades made mechanically. If you're a budding private eye, Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One is more than worthy of joining your collection.
Lj’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Many thanks to Wire Tap Media for the Review Key.