SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE DEVIL'S DAUGHTER
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on June 14, 2016
I don’t know about you, but I like solving a good mystery. And what better way to do that than playing as the greatest detective ever imagined! So put on your hat, don your cloak and wander the streets of London. It’s time to solve a brand new set of mysteries; it’s time for Sherlock: The Devil’s Daughter. Come, Watson, come. The game is afoot!
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s daughter is the eight installment of independent game studio Frogwares’ Sherlock Holmes game series. It’s been two years since the release of Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment and Holmes is getting kind of bored. He just hangs around the house, doing nothing except for bothering poor Watson from time to time. Then, one day, Sherlock’s neighbor shows up with a young boy hiding behind her skirts. After some coaxing from Watson, Sherlock is persuaded to hear what the boy has to say. Without very much enthusiasm, he begins to make a mental profile of the boy and is quickly intrigued by the apparent disappearance of the boy’s father. And just like that, our super sleuth is back on the streets, doing what he does best; solving mysteries.
As is to be expected, you start off playing the game as Sherlock Holmes, following a trail of clues that runs across the city. Visiting crime scenes and exploring them are your main occupations in this game. However, there’s a twist. While, in previous Sherlock Holmes games, you couldn’t actually go wrong in the end, The Devil’s Daughter challenges you to really think about your actions, or in this case, your deductions. Because if you foul up the creating of a character profile, the outcome of future deductions may prove to be utterly false. So pay attention to every little detail and be damn sure you’re making the right assumption based on these details.
The city of London is a bustling one, with lots of NPC characters walking around, going about their business. It’s streets range from the high streets with all their grandeur to the narrow and grimy-looking alleys filled with vagrants, street urchins and other folk of somewhat lesser repute. The only minor issue I had with this great city is that, contrary to games like Assassin’s Creed or other games of that ilk, the city isn’t one big playing field that lets you go wherever you want to go. The streets you wander through are not all connected to each other. You may move freely through a certain area, but if you choose to leave said area, you’ll get a loading screen. Now, this is not something that cannot be overlooked, but having a complete city to move through might be an idea for a next game. Apart from that, this might just be a personal preference of mine, while other people applaud the idea of not having to traverse the entire city on foot.
In the main menu, you can choose which of two loading screens you would like to use during the game. There’s the standard loading screen and my favorite of the two, the carriage ride. When you go for the last option, you’ll see Sherlock sitting in a carriage as he’s being driven to his next objective. Apart from looking cool, this loading screen also gives you the opportunity to review clues you’ve collected and other case files you might have tucked away in the mental file cabinet that Sherlock calls his ‘Mind Palace’. Here, all the clues you’ve gathered are stored on the so-called deduction board. Whenever you get a new clue, it is added to this board and will stay there for you to examine it further at your convenience. The board also allows you to link certain pieces of information together to form new clues that lead you to new discoveries.
As you make your way through a number of possible crime scenes, your ability to pay attention to details is always your best ally. But, should the event arise in which you’re stuck and can’t find anything of interest, Sherlock’s got a few tricks up his sleeves that will make your life somewhat easier. First of these tricks is a skill called ‘Intuition’, which lets you discover previously obscured objects in the environment. Secondly, there’s an ability called ‘Imagination’. This ability lets Sherlock imagine objects that have once been in a certain spot, getting clues from the crime scene without the actual object of interest being there. Combine these skills with a cast of characters to talk to or interrogate, and you’ll have a large number of clues at your disposal in no time!
The fact that you start the game as Sherlock, does not mean you’ll play as the master of deduction all of the time. Pretty early on in the game, you’ll take the role of a street urchin who, under orders from Sherlock, follows a suspicious character through the crowded streets of a London neighborhood while making sure he’s not spotted by the man he’s trailing. Later on in the game, you’ll even take on the roles of Dr. John Watson and Sherlock’s faithful canine companion, Toby. The playing style varies from character to character, greatly enhancing the fun of playing the already very cool campaign of The Devil’s Daughter.
All in all, Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter is a highly enjoyable game for everyone who’s into solving mysteries. Fans of the series will surely rejoice because of the return of their crime-solving hero and gamers that are new to the whole Sherlock Holmes series couldn’t possibly ask for a better game to start with. The environments and characters look good and nicely detailed. The voice-acting is solid and surely gets the job done. Sherlock Holmes seems to be a bit younger than his previous incarnations and has a more hands-on approach, both of which are things I liked about the game. Because of the sheer amount of things to discover and to do in the game, you’ll never ever get bored while solving the mysteries at hand. So yes, Sherlock Holmes is definitely a game I would recommend to everyone who loves a good story, a good mystery and a really, really fun game!