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Crime & Punishment: Sherlock Holmes (or what LA Noire could have been)


b00dles
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No one will read this and I'm probably the only one that actually bought it full whack (will now try and sell as I've almost totally nailed it though) but if you have a passing like for point n clicks and you liked the idea of L.A. Noire, this game is worth buying.

I'm being lazy and not going to go full on with screenshots and what have you as I'm convinced no one will care enough for me to bother but this is the best detective-y game I've played since probably Blade Runner by Westwood on the PC.

It does look nice but for some reason Sherlock looks quite a lot like Mark Strong at times, which kept on weirding me out and the lip syncing is almost non-existent.

BUT, the actual detecting and working stuff out thing works really well. You get a maximum amount of clues you can find per level and every case has at least two deductions that you can arrive at and make an accusation based on your deductions. The good thing is, it lets you carry on without explcitly telling you if you're right. It doesn't go quite as far as allowing you to just point the finger at the first person you meet but you can get it horribly wrong. There is also a moral deicsion you can make at the end of each case in regards to banging them riiiiiight up, or letting them off.

There is one thing right at the end to do with Mycroft which I'm not sure if it means you get a 'perfect' ending but I've not managed it and quite annoyingly, you have to play through the whole of a case to change your decision at the end (you can 'game' it by changing these on first play through until it's correct but I thought that was a bit cheating)

The Sherlock-ness is quite good, if you're a fan there's lots of little references and Toby is in it, as well as the Baker Street Irregulars and Sherlock is the slightly smug all knowledgeable variant of Sherlock but personally, he didn't get on my tits as much as Cumberbatch does.

There's some slightly daft straight up puzzle minigame bits (which you can skip if you really can't be arsed) and costumes that don't seem to do anything apart from two specific occasions when you're told to put them on but the interrogations aren't nearly as 'blind' as in L.A. Noire and yeah.... it's a good game.

I think polygon gave it an 8/10 or maybe a 7 and that's about right I'd say, it's not perfect but it is a SHIT LOAD better than L.A. Noire, which isn't arguably that difficult but if you like a bit of detection with 3D point n click gameplay like in Grim (don't get excited, nowhere near as good as that is) then it's definitely worth a pop as it will probably be bargain bin fodder already.

If anyone does care, I'll post more, or chuck some screenshots in as it does look quite nice at times too (although has slightly shameful load times IMHO)

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I've got this and just started the first case last night. I like the atmosphere and setting but it seems no game of this type is ever satisfied with straightforward observation of the crime scene and evidence, and the questioning of suspects. For example, I haven't a clue (lol) what the reconstruction of a hologram of a sailing ship floating above a tobacco pouch was all about. Then there was some weird business of matching two ideas, which I suppose could be Holmes having one of his periods of mental reflection.

still, very early days and after Alien I need a break from survival horror.

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Some views and replies, well I never :)

is this based on 'classic' Sherlock or the new BBC version?

It's based on Conan Doyle, nothing to do with any media versions but you could argue his 'deduction space' is borrowed from the TV show but it isn't quite as painful as I found that (I know it's TV but Sherlock wouldn't 'sort' through his memories and swipe things away etc as though he's using a Minority Report interface, it's just wank) I've read a few of the books and it is more like the original and is also set in 1895 or somesuch.

that sounds promising

It is the most similar to that in regards to the different ways of solving a case and being able to miss clues (you probably have to be a bit of an eejit to miss any though I'd think) but I very much like that you can. There isn't quite as much pixel hunting as was involved in that though, as Sherlock looks at points of interest and there's also a 'detective vision' mode which you can switch on and annoyingly (for me) occasionally you have to switch it on, which kind of seems a bit weird.

Fair point though Cosmic_Guru, you are right, there's still a lot of being told what to look at etc but it's still by far and away the closest so far. It is still quite flawed, I'm not going to pretend it's perfect by a long shot but considering how well L.A. Noire sold and it was utter shit, if you liked the concept, this is a game worth playing. I agree though, I'd much rather be able to have all sorts of free reign in regards to asking about anything, getting time of day of suspects more, or being able to look into all sorts of potential red herrings but then I know a lot of people would also find that incredibly tedious.

There's also a few times later on when you do something that could have potentially been a good mechanic or what have you on a previous case but isn't a possibility. Also, bear with it, the first case is very much an intro case, I was re-doing one of them and found about another three potential deductions and a whole other suspect that I didn't even consider before - although smugly I was right in the first place so it didn't matter but it was nice that the option was there.

I got two of them completely wrong as well, which quite surprised me but it was clearly me being a bit daft, there are quite a lot of red herrings and false leads though, which doesn't make it too obvious.

It's also a bit too short but for 10-20 quid, it's definitely worth a play if you like sleuthing it up.

The bit with the boat is Sherlock using his knowledge and love of smoking, to "piece together" (tenuous I know) the brand of tobacco. That only happens twice in the whole game, the second one is lol-worthy what they use for an image.


Some views and replies, well I never :)

is this based on 'classic' Sherlock or the new BBC version?

It's based on Conan Doyle, nothing to do with any media versions but you could argue his 'deduction space' is borrowed from the TV show but it isn't quite as painful as I found that (I know it's TV but Sherlock wouldn't 'sort' through his memories and swipe things away etc as though he's using a Minority Report interface, it's just wank) I've read a few of the books and it is more like the original and is also set in 1895 or somesuch.

that sounds promising

It is the most similar to that in regards to the different ways of solving a case and being able to miss clues (you probably have to be a bit of an eejit to miss any though I'd think) but I very much like that you can. There isn't quite as much pixel hunting as was involved in that though, as Sherlock looks at points of interest and there's also a 'detective vision' mode which you can switch on and annoyingly (for me) occasionally you have to switch it on, which kind of seems a bit weird.

Fair point though Cosmic_Guru, you are right, there's still a lot of being told what to look at etc but it's still by far and away the closest so far. It is still quite flawed, I'm not going to pretend it's perfect by a long shot but considering how well L.A. Noire sold and it was utter shit, if you liked the concept, this is a game worth playing. I agree though, I'd much rather be able to have all sorts of free reign in regards to asking about anything, getting time of day of suspects more, or being able to look into all sorts of potential red herrings but then I know a lot of people would also find that incredibly tedious.

There's also a few times later on when you do something that could have potentially been a good mechanic or what have you on a previous case but isn't a possibility. Also, bear with it, the first case is very much an intro case, I was re-doing one of them and found about another three potential deductions and a whole other suspect that I didn't even consider before - although smugly I was right in the first place so it didn't matter but it was nice that the option was there.

I got two of them completely wrong as well, which quite surprised me but it was clearly me being a bit daft, there are quite a lot of red herrings and false leads though, which doesn't make it too obvious.

It's also a bit too short but for 10-20 quid, it's definitely worth a play if you like sleuthing it up.

The bit with the boat is Sherlock using his knowledge and love of smoking, to "piece together" (tenuous I know) the brand of tobacco. That only happens twice in the whole game, the second one is lol-worthy what they use for an image.

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I've mentioned this in the Steam thread. I've played and completed the Xbox 1 version, and I kinda loved it. I played the previous Sherlock games on PC, and this is waaaaay better than those, primarily because you can get it wrong and still carry on. Previously, you could simply match things till you got the correct deduction and proceed. In this, you have numerous branching deductions which you can change at will, pairing some will lead to conclusions, and there are several different conclusions for each case. If you pick 2 branches that contradict each other, it'll warn you. Because of this, you have to deduce yourself which of the deductions is the correct one, often needing to have a thorough look through the evidence. I'll give a spoilered example, which is the second case.

The case is about a train that goes missing, seemingly vanishing into thin air before a station that Holmes just happens to be at. After gathering information, you find the train had passengers on that also vanished, and that it passed through 2 stations previously. You visit these stations, and both report that they had the train pass. The first station master is obviously drunk, and possibly untrustworthy. The second seems legit enough. You find tracks branching off as well before each station, so the train could have been diverted before each one, and each one leads to somewhere it could have been dumped.

If you deduce that the train did not pass the first station, but did pass the second, this gets flagged as a contradiction, as there is no sensible way this could have happened.

You can logically deduce it didnt pass either, only passed the first, or passed both. Each one logically leads to a different outcome and culprit, so in essence the case hinges on proving/figuring out which one. The game does not spell out which evidence it is that points to this, but it is there. Each station master has to send a telegraph saying when trains stop, and the first station masters is garbled, implying he was drunk then, but he IDs the number of the train on it correctly, indicating he did actually see it. So it passed the first. The second is a bit more convoluted to explain, but it turns out the second station master is in debt and is being bribed by the culprits, and falsely said it went pass. You also have to figure out how Holmes saw the train "vanish" as well, which you do. Given that last bit, the train couldnt have gone through the second part, as there is no other exit place. So it was diverted before the second station, which leads you to who did it. You can still decide that it was diverted before the first or that it passed both, and let that play out. You'll still get an ending, and sometimes they react as if you're right, which is hard to explain why without spoiling other endings. Not sure how much of an effect it has on the ending though.

Of all the "detectivey" games I've played so far, it's probably my favourite one. It beats any of the previous Holmes games and the CSI one easily, because some of those are only really hard by making things really hard to find in the "find the object sections" or give you so many things to process or use together and it's more a test of thoroughness. There's usually very little actual brainwork involved or having to figure stuff out. I think this one can still expand on that a bit further, but it's on the right track. I'd often find myself just skimming through the notes or looking at the evidence to see if I'd missed a connection, and handily the loading sceens between zones is quite nicely done for that - you see Holmes in a carriage and can open you notebook and deduction board to look through things.

The last thing though is the voice acting and animation. While the character models are nice, everyone has a real unnatural "jiggle" to them when they talk. And Holmes himself is very monotone and quite boring at times. Lines that read like scathing put downs or witty comebacks are incredibly dry and there's little to no emotion. I dont think that it should have been a full on Cumberbatch copy for the performance, and someone is probably going to say that the actor has a big fan base as his version of Holmes or something (he's the same actor from the previous Holmes games I believe), but there are certainly scenes which would have benefitted from taking a few cues from him. He's ok, he's just not great.

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I saw the trailer for this on Steam and thought it looked intriguing. Like many others, I liked the idea behind LA Noire but absolutely hated the game, so some detective-y stuff might be of interest. One to add for the Christmas sale, I think.

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Finished the first case and I think I've got the hang of the mechanics now, everything just gets thrown at you initially! I don't realise the paired deduction items were all either / or until I had finished getting evidence, a bit embarrassing really. Anyway, I went for

absolving Cairns since it seemed the most logical deduction, he was there, he had the necessary strength and an old grudge against the man and so on, but it wasn't cold blooded premeditated murder.

Second case shows a shaky grasp of English geography but looks intriguing.

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Wow. Some people have played it!

George Clooney, you're also correect, it's way better than the previous Sherlock games and CSI etc but yeah, it could do with some work. To be honest, that's half the reason I'm pimping it because it's good but could just do with another iteration, or to have more courage of it's convictions.

I still think that they need to have the possibility of repeat offenders if you don't bang up the right person or something along those lines. Or by letting you come to possible conclusions when you look over the people involved in the case - there's this 'zoom' mode where you scan them and work out who they are and whatnot, it's pretty cool and quite Sherlock-ian (Sherlock-esque?) but all you do is find a hotspot on their clothes and Sherlock does his thing - for instance 'gardeners hands' are a straight away 'thing' where it might be better if you found out they were 'dirty and stained green hands' (or whatever) and then you as the played could select whether you thought they were a gardener or ummm... a painter... er.... OK bad example but you should get the picture.

It's obviously no R* game so doesn't have the polish of LA Noire but as a detective game, it's head and shoulders above it. You can cause some quite chucklesome little bugs in the scenery making Sherlock 'stand' on odd objects so he shoots up a few feet in the air for example too but it's quite endearing in it's slightly ropy charm.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just to echo whats been said here, this is actually a fantastic detective adventure game. I've only played the first case, but the presentation/atmosphere is excellent, the mini-story-telling is actually pretty competent and matches the standard of your average Lewis style TV dramas, which for videogames is champagne cork popping time, and the celebral cortex mechanic as a way of building a suspect is very nifty. Well impressed. If you like this sort of thing, you'll really like this. Longevity does seem to be an issue - I solved mission one with all clues found and the right suspect, and have no compulsion to replay it - but based on what I've played... 4/5

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just to echo whats been said here, this is actually a fantastic detective adventure game. I've only played the first case, but the presentation/atmosphere is excellent, the mini-story-telling is actually pretty competent and matches the standard of your average Lewis style TV dramas, which for videogames is champagne cork popping time, and the celebral cortex mechanic as a way of building a suspect is very nifty. Well impressed. If you like this sort of thing, you'll really like this. Longevity does seem to be an issue - I solved mission one with all clues found and the right suspect, and have no compulsion to replay it - but based on what I've played... 4/5

Yeah, it doesnt last too long to be honest, and while you can pick different solutions, you dont need to replay it to see how it plays out - it lets you re-do your conclusion if you want to see. I completed it probably about 4 days I think. Though I did play it quite long sessions over those days, it was surprisingly hard to put down once I got into it. I dont expect to go back to it though. I enjoyed it a lot, but dont expect it to last that long.

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I'm on the Sherlock train too. I love this game, nails the Victorian atmosphere, and really pretty decent writing. Video games are about empowerment fantasies (or is that just me?) and this really makes you feel like an ace detective. I rather suspect this is something of an illusion as the game pretty much leads you by the hand the whole way, but it is saved by the deduction space where you rearrange the connections inside Holmes' brain to connect clues and make deductions. Amazing. And the game doesn't even give a shit if you get it wrong because you're SHERLOCK HOLMES goddamnit and if you say Mr Wiggins is guilty he ruddy well is. But it tempts you "press the button to see what REALLY happened, you know you want to" and you do and it flashes red and it's off to Holmes' brain again to rearrange neurons for half an hour to figure out where you went wrong the first time.

So in short - if you are a Sherlock Holmes fan, you'll lap this up.

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Just finished the last case. Brilliant game. Compulsive. Elegant. Certainly not flawless, but the atmosphere, narrative and clue mechanics make it into something much more than the sum of its parts. Cannot understand the relative apathy from the videogame press. Don't think Eurogamer even reviewed it. Considering the over-produced generic shite that does get coverage - a gross disservice.

With a bigger budget, some AAA casting, a grander scale for the investigations, and the promise of extra cases via DLC, this could be a huge.

For now, a solid 8/10.

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Just finished the last case. Brilliant game. Compulsive. Elegant. Certainly not flawless, but the atmosphere, narrative and clue mechanics make it into something much more than the sum of its parts. Cannot understand the relative apathy from the videogame press. Don't think Eurogamer even reviewed it. Considering the over-produced generic shite that does get coverage - a gross disservice.

With a bigger budget, some AAA casting, a grander scale for the investigations, and the promise of extra cases via DLC, this could be a huge.

For now, a solid 8/10.

Eurogamer actually did review it, and in fairly positive terms, in fact it's what made me buy the game. Their description of how it allowed you to be wrong (yet oh so right) intrigued me so much I positively had to. I had previously written off these Sherlock games as rubbish, but it seems like Frogwares have been beavering away for years getting slowly better. I have high hopes if they are doing a Cthulu game.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-09-30-sherlock-holmes-crimes-and-punishments-review

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Ah, okay, fair enough - somehow missed that review. Seems overly harsh to me - the characters are well drawn out for a videogame, and certainly interesting enough to compel you to solve the cases - but glad they gave the game the exposure it deserves.

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If there was any sort of truth behind Gamergate, they would be decrying the lack of ethics surrounding the high scores of LA Noire in comparison to this coming and going with little to no fanfare and being sooooo much better.

Presumably there were no women to harrass along the way.

Also, I really don't understand the 'end' bit of this game. Right at the very very very end, there's just this shot of Sherlock by the fire and you can look through your note book but can't seem to do anything. I'm not spoilering it because absolutely fuck all happens (or at least, I can't make anything happen) Is there anything to it? It almost looks like there should be some sort of super clue, or final bit of deduction I can do but nothing....

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I guess it's a space for you to ruminate over the cases solved and think of other ways to solve them.

It does feel oddly empty though - and why have camera control? Maybe if you get all the trophies something happens?

Yeah I thought it might be somewhere to go back and pick your different endings if you hadn't done it first time round (which it isn't) then I thought it could have been something to do with Mycroft and the conspiracy storyline thing but again nothing. Unfortunately the last case is bloody long and I haven't been arsed to go back and try the different option at the end of it.

I hope this did well enough for them to do another, I know they've made about 4 on PC but this is way better than the one of those I did play a while ago. With a little bit more variety and possibly the ability to involve more NPC's as possible suspects, it could be even better.

Also I was quite chuffed to have a case in Kew Gardens as it's just down the road from my house :D (even though it wasn't quite 'right', even in Victorian times it was bigger than it was portrayed but still).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finished this, loved it, one of my favourite games of the year just for the pure atmosphere of it. Felt like they ran out of steam at the end though, they had stopped doing any puzzles other than the lock picking ones (I liked the Kew gardens timeline though), and they couldn't be arsed to do more than two conclusions for the last case. Really, no Sherlock trope was left unmined, but that's pretty much what you want, isn't it?

A few of the cases lurched uneasily into the bleedin' obvious, but I think they really have the basis of a great detective game with the system they have developed, by shifting the focus from finding objects (where LA Noire fell down, forcing you to look at loads of red herring objects) to making deductions. I spent ages just thinking about the conclusion in the steam baths case before I picked it. Would it be braver to not let the player know if they were right? Eurogamer seemed to think so, I'm not so sure. Think you need closure.

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I purposely didn't find out if I was correct on any of the cases until the end, just in case that counted as 'cheating' for the main game but they didn't even have an achievement for not doing so. If you don't check you have to play through the entire case again and some bits are unskippable, I was (perhaps naively) hoping it would be set up for repeat playthroughs a bit more than it is but I do hope they continue in this vein, rather than simplifying it or what have you.

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I purposely didn't find out if I was correct on any of the cases until the end, just in case that counted as 'cheating' for the main game but they didn't even have an achievement for not doing so.

And how did you do? I only got one wrong (and I still got the right perpetrator, just the wrong method). So I think the game was a little too easy. Still, all about the journey and not the destination and all that.

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I got one moral decision wrong (the one with the Australian gal) and I got the train one completely wrong somehow, although I was playing through it with mates and I was channeling Holmes as every gut instinct was right (apart from aforementioned) and my mates were way off til more clues showed up :sherlock:

Although yes, still a bit easy really. I still think it would be good if there was more direct consequences to your actions in things like this, I thought it about LA Noire too (despite that being plop for various other reasons). If you pick the wrong perp, it would be good if they then offended again or were involved again somehow at least.

To be honest, I was slightly disappointed that there wasn't some really super clever tie up with all of them being down to Moriarty or something.

I'll still definitely, 100% buy a sequel but it just could be really quite special with a bit more tweaking / polish.

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  • 8 months later...

The PS4 version ran smooth as silk, a shame the PS3 one was plagued by performance issues. I really enjoyed this game though, as the topic title said this is what LA Noire hoped it would be. Voice acting and animations are excellent too.

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It's constantly about 10 to 12 quid on PSN in nearly every sale they've been doing for the past 6 months.

I thought it was ok. I'm a big fan of adventure games and liked what I'd heard about it but I got about halfway through case 3 and found myself getting bored. It's all a bit dry and the dialogue is mediocre with only very occasional flashes of sparkle.

I might go back at some point but I don't feel especially compelled in all honesty.

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