The Testament of Sherlock Holmes Review
Compared to previous installments of the series, this is a definite improvement on all aspects
Sherlock Holmes is perhaps one of the most recognizable literature characters, and undoubtedly no other genre suits Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character more than adventure games. Thus, it is no surprise that The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is the eighth installment of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series by Frogwares. After the quite successful Sherlock Holmes VS Jack the Ripper which was also released for XBOX360, and Sherlock Homes and the Mystery of the Osborne house which was released for the Nintendo DS, Testament is the first game of the series to be released for PS3, XBOX360, and PC.
As usual, the game takes place in 19th century London, and as most games of the series, it has an original story rather than following one of Doyle’s works. Nevertheless, Holmes’ fans are sure to notice several references to the books and Frogwares’ Sherlock will certainly feel familiar. The game begins showing Sherlock accompanied as always by Dr. Watson, just having solved a case of stolen jewelry. The introduction also serves as a short tutorial in order to familiarize the player with the controls of the game. We see Holmes use his famous deductive reasoning in order to discover the location of a stolen necklace. While at first the jewel’s owner seems to recognize the necklace and thank Holmes for his services, the next day he surprisingly revises his story, claiming that the necklace returned to him was merely a bad copy. This of course does not look very good for Holmes. Things get even more complicated when Sherlock and Watson go to meet the Bishop of Knightsbridge only to find the man brutally tortured and murdered.
In Testament of Sherlock Holmes we get to see a different angle of the famous detective. Sherlock has always been far from perfect and Frogwares has managed to successfully create a brilliant yet flawed Holmes who is sometimes overwhelmed by the events surrounding him, and does not hesitate to use unorthodox methods in order to get his way. Overall, the game has one of the most complex and captivating stories of the series, allowing the player to discover Sherlock as a character while giving them a truly compelling experience.
Visually the game has vastly improved compared to the previous installments of the series. It is more than obvious that the developers have done a lot of work on the graphics; and it is no exaggeration to say that Victorian London literally comes alive. Even though, those who expected to see a 19th century L.A. Noire will probably be disappointed, as the game is closer to the classic adventure style of having a choice from a number of fixed locations rather than the open-world nature of Noire. However, this should not be considered a disadvantage of Testament by any means. The game design works very well for the title and every location that Sherlock and Watson visit is full of detail, perfectly depicting the architecture and overall feeling of the era. The game’s color palette is rich and diverse enough to make each location seem unique and create the proper atmosphere. From well-lit rooms to dark and creepy docks and a London prison, the game’s visual aspect is one of its strongest points. The only downside is that some of the character models seem slightly wooden and the game’s lip-syncing is far from flawless. In general the voice acting of the game is quite good; most actors do a great job in making their characters sound believable with only a few exceptions. The score of the title also compliments the game very well and adds to the story by setting the right mood.