Graphics:
6.4
Gameplay:
7.5
Sound:
7.2
Control:
6.7
Replay Value:
7.0
Overall Rating:
7.0
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Focus Home Interactive
Developer:
Frogwares
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Adventure
Release Date:
September 25, 2012


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective has experienced quite the resurgence over the past decade. In addition to multiple television shows and movies, Sherlock Holmes has also enjoyed moderate success in the video game world. 2009’s Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper was generally well-received and gave adventure aficionados a chance to play a thoughtful, challenging, intelligent title. The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is essentially a sequel and the first such adventure to arrive on the PlayStation 3. Flex those mental muscles…?

Graphically, the latest effort is a definite step up. Previous installments looked considerably dated and even suffered from a few old-fashioned bugs and glitches that we don’t normally see these days. Testament cleans things up a bit and greatly enhances detail, character design, and environmental clarity. That all being said, the poor lip-syncing for the voices and rigid animations keeps the game from competing at a high visual level. In truth, this presentation is barely average. However, perhaps it isn’t fair to compare it to the heavy hitters with massive budgets, and we should remember that flashy effects aren’t a focal point.

The sound is solid, as we’ve got a classic, fitting soundtrack, surprisingly solid voice performances on the part of most major characters, and some light ambient effects that add to the overall immersion. Much like the visuals, the audio is subtle, as it should be. The music, while appropriate and even quite lovely at certain times, is never intrusive and the effects are never in-your-face; these are the opposite of explosive. Still, with lower production values, technical mishaps like an audio balancing issue are all too obvious. You just have to accept that the puzzle-solving takes center-stage, so being all anal about such drawbacks doesn’t make much sense.

For those who are unfamiliar, this is not a liberal spin on Doyle’s books, like the films with Robert Downey Jr. There are no guns, virtually no action, and no half-naked women who amazingly all want a piece of Holmes. Leave it to Hollywood to turn Sherlock into a gun-toting, fists-flying ladies man. No, Testament , like Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper , focuses squarely on the mystery, on being the master of observation and deduction. Therefore, some may find this game too slow, too ponderous, and too mentally taxing.

But for those who miss the old-fashioned point-and-click adventure titles of yesteryear, and those who want to test their problem-solving skills, this one has you covered. Holmes and his ever-present partner, Dr. Watson, must solve a series of complex crimes, some brutal in nature, some more mysterious and vague. The crime scenes vary greatly and linking each crime is an undercurrent of public suspicion. A columnist for the city newspaper continually accuses Holmes of being a fraud, of planting evidence, and even of being worse than the criminals he so ardently chases.

And in some respects, that columnist is right. Not about planting evidence, but about Sherlock’s amorality and his willingness to do whatever’s necessary to solve a case. He isn’t as caustic or arrogant as Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock (and I wish he would be, because nobody has done it better to date, in my opinion), but he’s calmly determined. He’s not above threats and blackmail and as you progress, you start to wonder: “What won’t this guy do…?” But of course, all of this is secondary to the tasks at hand, which involve searching high and low for clues, meticulously analyzing the evidence, and drawing conclusions in your trusty notebook.