Sherlock Holmes The Awakened PC Review

Go where no man should ever go in pursuit of answers as Sherlock Holmes.

By R3GR3T, Posted 12 Apr 2023

Frogwares definitely seems like an odd game development studio, but they have their hearts set on bringing as much of Sherlock Holmes to us as possible, with a dark twist. Their main theme is aimed at mystery and detective work, making the players think outside the box or maybe even realize that there was never a box. Instead, there are a million boxes… With the majority of their past releases, they hit the nail on the head. With more recent releases like The Sinking City and Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter, Frogwares is delving a bit deeper into the dark side by bringing in an otherworldly intrigue.

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened, PC, Review, Screenshots, RPG, Horror, Lovecraftian, NoobFeed

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened might be a remake of Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened from 2008, but they are far from the same game or experience. Some aspects stayed the same and others changed for the better, and it’s an absolute joy. You’re still forced to think outside the box with your investigation, but you’ll need to be careful with your choices when talking to the people of London. You’ll have to put clues together and form your own assumptions as to where to go next, though clues can also be hidden in the most interesting ways.

Your latest case begins in Sherlock’s home, as usual, the newspaper always provides great inspiration for a case to solve. However, Sherlock’s train of thought gets interrupted by someone nearly breaking down his door and your newspaper going missing. What starts off with Sherlock suspecting that someone is trying to assassinate him, becomes a much bigger case involving countless people mysteriously disappearing all over London. It might be a small beginning but the plot always thickens, and it’s up to you to make your way through it to solve the mystery. You’ll find that the mystery goes beyond what we know, and instead goes deeper into Lovecraftian Mythos.

While Sherlock might be unique, you’ll at least have the option to change his clothes for every occasion. While you can’t go overboard on whacky colors or combinations for clothes, you’ll find that during that time period, people were somewhat more modest but it comes with an interesting twist. Following suit with the Lovecraftian Theme, the overall color pallet leans more towards the darker or muted side. It does look a bit dreary but it really builds a great ambiance as you explore the quiet roads of London

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened, PC, Review, Screenshots, RPG, Horror, Lovecraftian, NoobFeed

As your case expands and grows, you’ll have to find clues to piece everything together. Most clues can easily be found, but if you’re having trouble, there is a function to ‘pulse’ the landscape around you. This will reveal things you can interact with, and while it can speed up your investigation, it will only take you so far if you don’t have the right clue pinned in your Casebook.

Your Casebook will contain all the clues you’ve gathered but much like the mysteries you’ll have to solve, will be easy to navigate at first. But eventually, it will become quite busy. However, it does clear up as you solve the mysteries you encounter. Sadly, this does make life a little tedious when playing Sherlock Holmes The Awakened and slows down progression to a crawl if you’re easily overwhelmed. Even though most of the clues you gather form part of the bigger case, it becomes messy and confusing if you’re in the thick of it.

The Mind Palace is just as important as your Casebook. New questions will be formed there as you progress, you’ll have to tie your clues together to form an answer to those questions by connecting the nodes together. In the Mind Palace, your evidence and clues get divided into three categories – Items, Observations, Documents & Testimonies. While progression isn’t impossible, you can rely on trial and error to get to the right answer, but it is encouraged to pay attention and channel your inner Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened, PC, Review, Screenshots, RPG, Horror, Lovecraftian, NoobFeed

One of the most important skills you’ll have as Sherlock is Concentration. This changes the worldview slightly but can highlight other types of clues to help your investigation. However, this mechanic also relies on having the right piece of evidence or clue pinned in your Casebook to have any hope of finding something related to it. Another aspect of this ability is that Sherlock can use it to recreate scenes roughly detailing what happened. Though just like a puzzle, you’ll need to gather enough evidence to build the scene and cycle through each possibility. Once you have your scene, you can verify it to be sure it makes sense. If not, then you’ll have to go back and try again.

As if taken directly from the original stories, Sherlock Holmes is known to be incredibly observant. This carries quite well into Sherlock Holmes The Awakened. When you’re talking to new people or suspects, you’ll usually have the option to Observe them during the dialogues to build a profile of the people you interact with. You’ll need to find the points of interest on each person, then make a decision on a final verdict to build your profile.

You will also have the option to bring your observation up in the conversation, though the wrong verdict can sour a dialogue very quickly. As an example – You’ll meet a barmaid who’s wearing clothes that seem too tight, showing signs of pregnancy along with several other signs. After gathering up all the key points, you have to choose between she doesn’t know she’s pregnant or she’s trying to hide her pregnancy.

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened, PC, Review, Screenshots, RPG, Horror, Lovecraftian, NoobFeed

As mentioned, bringing up the wrong verdict can negatively affect the conversation, making them less helpful. While the right verdict can help your case as they’ll trust you a bit more. This mechanic does cause the difficulty to scale accordingly based on your choices. What makes this interesting is bringing up other people or irrelevant evidence during dialogues. The people you talk to can become annoyed or even rudely tell you to do your job, this provides a new level of frustration or humor depending on how you look at it.

The last major (or minor) mechanic would be the map. Unfortunately, even though you have access to a map, it’s not very detailed and it doesn’t show where you are. You’re also out of luck if you’re hoping for directions, this might be a downside for some but it keeps to the theme of the game. Keeping track of everything as you go does help a lot in this regard, but if your memory is lacking, you might be in a bit of trouble when it comes to getting around. The silver lining to that is, you get to constantly explore and rediscover all the places.

Even though you can talk and interact with Dr. Watson, he doesn’t provide any form of help when you’re stuck. The dialogue can become incredibly repetitive but it does change when you progress slightly. The same can be said for the rest of the NPCs, providing nothing helpful or even a direction if you get stuck. With Watson always being with you, it would be nice if he could provide a hint of any kind, even though it is Sherlock Holmes, but everybody needs a little advice once in a while.

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened, PC, Review, Screenshots, RPG, Horror, Lovecraftian, NoobFeed

As mentioned before, Sherlock Holmes The Awakened is a remake of the original 2008 game. The visual side of the game has been improved upon quite heavily but it still seems flat and very lacking when you take into account the current-gen hardware we have available, along with current releases. Development time is a huge factor but it makes the game look older than it actually is. The facial animations do really stand out though, and while it might be different, the younger version of Sherlock Holmes is more easily relatable.  In the end though, a bit more visual detail would really help Sherlock Holmes The Awakened shine through the gloom.

On the sound design side, Sherlock Holmes The Awakened got a lot more love and care. With the voice actors for Sherlock and Watson playing their parts brilliantly, you can actually hear just how much the voice actors enjoyed the parts they played. The NPCs you encounter, while a bit brash at times, also helped build a great ambience and add so much to the time period. The background isn’t as prominent as in other games like this, so it can be a bit scarce, but the main draw is from the recreated sound of London itself. However, the dialogues do become very repetitive and annoying after a while if you can’t progress, this draws away from the immersion in Sherlock Holmes The Awakened.

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened, PC, Review, Screenshots, RPG, Horror, Lovecraftian, NoobFeed

While Sherlock Holmes The Awakened has an incredibly rich story to experience, it feels like you have to work much harder than normal to get to it. The overall gameplay is incredibly smooth and the mechanics balance each other out quite well, but a form of hint is desperately needed for a game like this. As mentioned, the repetitive dialogue does unfortunately draw away from the immersion and experience, and the game needs some extra work on the visual side. Looking past those issues, Sherlock Holmes The Awakened is a great game to experience as long as you have the patience of a saint to solve the mysteries ahead of you.

Jay Claassen
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PS5, XBSX, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): Frogwares, Focus Entertainment, CDV Software
Developer(s): Frogwares
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Adventure, Mystery, Horror
Release Date: 2023-04-11

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