Crimes and Punishments is an outstanding game for sleuths and wanna-be sleuths.
You play as the famous and quirky detective Sherlock Holmes as you set about to solve criminal mysteries. You are accompanied by your trusty friend and colleague Dr. Watson and many other familiar characters in Holmes’ universe.
The game is pretty straightforward. You are given a crime to investigate. You have to go to the location, collect evidence and data, talk to witnesses and others involved, and solve the case. That is the game on the very basic surface, but there is so much more to do and explore in the game.
As with most crime-solving games, you have a journal that you take notes in and can reference at any point in the game. You can refer to evidence you collect and use that to make your determination of guilt. Not all evidence is obvious evidence either; you have to connect evidence together to paint a clearer picture.
Similar to L.A. Noir, you can conduct interviews with suspects where you ask them questions and then have to determine whether they are telling the truth or not. You can only call their lie or bluff if you have collected evidence to substantiate your claims. The interview scenes are conducted in an interrogation room at the police station or at the location you met the subject. You can analyze the person you are speaking to in true Sherlock fashion. You will scan their faces, bodies, and clothing, and piece together bits of noticeable information to give you more of an understanding about them.
One of the very interesting features of the game is piecing together bits of information to come to your conclusions. You can’t always piece everything together so you have to be choosy with what you pick. As you match information, it creates what can be best described as a cellular map. If you piece things together correctly while making determinations about people or the scene, it will open up another option for you to choose another bit of information related to the crime. For example, if you say person A and person B are connected in some manner, you can choose a conclusion that person A could not be guilty because they were with person B during the crime. Or you can choose that persons A and B committed the crime together, which would open up another part of the map, eventually leading to your conclusion of the case.
What I really enjoyed is that you can choose to convict someone and not know if that was in fact the right choice. At the end of the investigation, it will give you a percentage of people who made the same criminal determination as you. You can then choose to find out the actual conclusion of the crime. If you choose not to, you move on to the next investigation. I liked that aspect because I could feel like my choice was mine, and I didn’t have to be proven wrong if I didn’t want to be.
This game looks beautiful. The facial features are pristine, the voice acting is superb and the detail in the world is articulate. If you like games like NCIS or CSI you will absolutely love solving crimes in Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments. There are six investigations to solve and each one can last up to an hour or more, depending on the amount of detail you put into your case. The producers claim that there are ten different endings to each case, so there is quite possibly twenty-plus hours of gameplay available.
The game feels like a combination of the Sherlock television series and the movie starring Robert Downy Jr. It’s played in third person view. You control Holmes, conduct investigation, use tools and equipment for finding evidence, and interview witnesses and suspects in a very real and convincing way.