Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper
|a game by||Frogwares Game Development Studio|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, PC|
|User Rating:||10.0/10 - 2 votes|
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|See also:||Sherlock Holmes Games, Old School Games|
When Holmes Mounts Watson, you know you're in for something out of the ordinary. A real Victorian treat. But Holmes doesn't put it in him, that should be made clear. What he's actually doing is trying to determine how Jack the Ripper's the first murder took place, complete with adjustable strangulation movements and knifeslashing movements. It's like a little video editing suite, but with Holmes straddling Watson's lap and gyrating on top of him for a few awkward, silent minutes. Even Guy Ritchie didn't take these kinds of liberties.
But enough silliness, as those interested in things Sherlockian will be dying to know if this game lives up to the potential we all know is lurking within Frogwares' series. Sadly, it just makes nearly every single one of the same mistakes the previous ones did. The voice acting still borders on the criminal at times, the extras look like the Elephant Man's less attractive cousins and the opening section is one long series of pointless errands for bell-end characters who can't be bothered to walk 20 yards to pick up a satchel or something equally arbitrary.
When the game kicks into proper detective work, like deducing how a crime took place and other stuff related to that the game is much better. It just makes you angry that to get to these bits, you have to walk back and forth around the authentically dingy streets of Whitechapel running errands.
He's No Brett
Frogware have tried to address some of the problems found in the other games, to be fair. This time, the streets of London aren't nearly deserted. They're not bustling, but at least they've made an effort to make it seem like people actually live there. Even though there doesn't seem to be a single house that isn't a total wreck. A body is found in the back garden of a ruined house, only for someone to then say "Yeah, me ol' mum lives there." Really? She'd die of exposure within days if she did.
Even with some effort being put in, the afflictions remain. It's painful to hear some of the characters speak and parts of it just look jarringly ugly. Is it time to give up on the 3D and go back to a lovingly drawn 2D approach? They've kind of done so with the option to go out of first-person and use a point-and-click interface (though it doesn't work well) so there could be a willingness to address this next time, but we'll see about that.
As for now, this game can't be recommended, much as I want to do so for any Holmes game. It's just not good enough and, crucially, makes Holmes and Watson do things they just wouldn't do in the books. Which is, at the end of the day, the biggest flaw.