When searching for a detective style game and more specifically one featuring the iconic character of Sherlock Holmes, you don’t need to look anywhere else but at the Frogware titles. I mean the team have been creating games about everyone’s favourite sleuth since the beginning of time, well.. okay maybe that is taking things a bit too far. The point is they have been creating these titles for a very long time now.
However, what makes Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One so different from their past titles. Well for a start, this time we are playing as a much younger Sherlock, one that is still trying to find his way in life. This time Sherlock Holmes is struggling to cope with the loss of his mother, that is basically the whole gist of the story and we learn this very early on in the game. Though when it comes to crime solving, things don’t differ too much from past titles, Sherlock is still very smart and still has a huge arsenal of detective tools at his disposal.
In fact this time around we get to play dress up and solve various cases whilst donning a disguise, some of the time story progress will prevent you from progressing if you are lacking the correct wardrobe. Alongside that each case also comes with multiple different endings, which though different, does not seem to have an impact on the story itself. So regardless of your choice the game will continue and the case will then move on, perhaps this is more of a minor gripe within the game. I mean what is the point of having different endings if they do not serve much of a purpose? Having a single ending would perhaps make the game a tad bit boring but having no real impact, it all kind of feels the same.
If you have managed to play Frogware’s other title, specifically The Sinking City, then you will easily recognise a lot of the mechanics within this latest title. Such as the Mind Palace, which is used to connect various clues in order to make your final deductions. This looks and feels exactly like The Sinking City’s version of the same thing just perhaps with a different coat of paint, so to speak. The Casebook menu also feels and looks somewhat similar too. I guess given that they are both detective games and they are both made by the same company, the similarities are inevitable.
As for the story, there is a total of five main story cases altogether. Each of which vary in length but mainly feature the same method of completing the case, there is also very little combat to be found. So I hope you enjoy exploring rather than anything fast paced.
However, when you do come across the combat, though a bit buggy at times, it is not too bad a feature. Being a detective your main objective is to arrest criminals and if you fail to do so, by way of a slight murder or two, then the game will punish you for doing so. You will not only get yelled at by John, or is that Jon hmm? (I still haven’t fathomed what the correct way of spelling his name actually is), you will also loose out on potential rewards too.
If you ever get bored of doing the main story there is the option of taking part in the occasional side activity, such as completing cases for the local detective agency. Each optional case will reward you for your efforts and these rewards can then be used to purchase more costumes and other such goods from the local vendors.
Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One is a nice little title that introduces us to the god of crime solving, from being able to get a glimpse into his past and seeing how he formed and became the character we all know and like today. It provides a nice starting point.
However, the story with John Jon is rather amusing and odd. Especially towards the end, his whole character just seemed strange and unnecessary. It felt like I was playing a game aimed at kids sometimes. It didn’t feel right.
Also, for quite a while now the Frogware’s Sherlock Holmes games have seemed to be lacking, mostly in the story direction. Whilst it is nice to see young Sherlock develop, there really isn’t much of a story within this game.
In fact the main story played second fiddle to other cases, this is not a good thing when coming from other Sherlock Holmes titles of the past that had a much stronger and gripping story to it.
Release Date: November 16th, 2021
Platforms: PC, Playstation 5, XBox Series X/S
Genre: Detective, Adventure
Main Story Length: 11-16 Hours
Platform Reviewed On: PC
Overall Rating: 3/5