SHERLOCK HOLMES: The DEVIL'S DAUGHTER
BigBen Productions Frogware XBox ONE PS4 and the PC (Steam) UnReal Engine 3
In this, the eighth in the series of Sherlock Holmes game of pointing, clicking and solving puzzles, there have been a few quite major changes. To begin with BigBen Productions are formally the publishers taking over from the previous company Focus Interactive who published the first seven in the series. Then there has been a change of personnel. Holmes and Watson are still there, as is Mrs Hudson, Wiggins and the other known names but they have been revised both vocally and visually. Jon Hamm, known for many roles but mainly for being Don Draper in the Mad Men TV show, now voices Holmes and it doesn't take a computer facial recognition program to note that Hamm (or his doppelganger) is also (or very close to being) the model for the new-look Holmes.
Victorian London in the Autumn is beautifully brought to life by the exquisite backgrounds, trees, bushes and buildings. Holmes seems to be dressed a little updated with his scarf thrown cavalier fashion around and across his shoulders he looks more like an older student at Oxford or Cambridge; Watson however remains as stoic and boring as usual, though perhaps a trifle more dapper. Holmes, Watson and friends have several cases to solve, all of which are interesting and most definitely in the style of Conan Doyle's artistry.
Holmes is also not as astute as one normally thinks of him. For example when Mrs Hudson says he has a visitor he tells her to let him wait. What is wrong here ? I hear you say (go on, say it!) Well, for one thing Holmes always knows when he has a visitor before Mrs Hudson informs him, and secondly, unless it is someone he has never met, he generally knows who the visitor is. In this case it's his (adopted) daughter Katie, who surely he would have heard arriving.
SHERLOCK HOLMES The DEVIL'S DAUGHTER is a sandbox style game, allowing you to select where you want to go when it suits your train of thought. Each time you find a new location or are given an address it will appear on your travel map. Simply open the map and click on the location you wish to travel to. On occasion you will take over control of another of the characters, such as Wiggins, when Holmes is busying himself elsewhere (usually off screen). Whilst controlling Holmes you have the opportunity to go through his wardrobe and send him out in a disguise if necessary. You can also ask certain NPCs for information and directions should you be unsure of which way to go. Looking at everything in the streets and buildings really brings out the atmosphere of Victorian London.
Movement uses the regular control methods of Arrow keys or WASD for all characters under your bidding. To go somewhere specific or look at something or someone in an investigative manner you need to locate a small dot on them or it. As you get closer this dot widens to become a reticle that you can activate by clicking on. This will cause the other character to begin speaking or the object to possibly react in some way. Sometimes it may simply enlarge a piece of paper so you can see what is written or drawn etc on it, another time it might open a new dialogue or clue line. There are lots of people who will take no notice of you, many front doors that cannot be knocked on and numerous walls and trees that cannot be climbed, but there is also a myriad of reactive objects and items that will act on your stimulation.
Apart from Watson and friends, Holmes has three Ms to assist him solve the cases in this game. He has a Magnifying Glass, which he uses to great effect, a Microscope, where things too small for the Magnifying Glass can be examined and the third M is for Mini Games; there are several mini games / puzzles that you need to solve (or you can bypass them if you want to miss out on some of the fun). Finally, Holmes also has his Casebook ready to hand whenever he needs to remind himself of all the clues he has noted, who he has questioned and what he has asked them, in fact, basically everything you do is recorded for future perusal.
If there is a problem with Holmes stories I think it is the one that Conan Doyle himself found, and that is when do the tales roll on into one, as in when do they stop being intriguing and become matter of fact? Holmes was killed off by Doyle, as we all know, early in the series, only to be brought back by public demand with possibly some financial aspect also involved. This is the eighth in the series and although it is very good, accurate and true to the Holmes mythology you do, at times, get a feeling of deja vu.
Of course I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Sherlock Holmes stories and also for everyone who enjoys point & click adventures where a little brainpower can often circumvent a long-winded investigation.
Below you see twin circles, one red, one blue, which are part of one of the mini games. You have to keep the items balanced within these circles for about 15 seconds before the clue/puzzle is solved.
The snapshot below shows the interior of Holmes' brain at work. There are many different clues floating around and the idea is to link two or more of them to formulate a feasible idea. It's not as easy as it looks!