Review by KFHEWUI
"Elementary, my dear Watson"
A strange and bizarre murder looms over London which is followed by another gruesome murder. Sherlock Holmes, being the genius that he is, inquires for information from the police about the recent murder, and after turning down the offer from the police to help with the case, Sherlock Holmes sets out on his inquirer that leads him down a dark and twisted path.
When the game starts, Sherlock Holmes does not look too bad but not too good. The character models look nice, and the textures are crisp. From a far the textures do not look bad with everything looking right from the peeling paint on buildings or cobble stone roads but closer inspection shows the texture look ruff. This game does not tax the system at all, but there are moments of oddities with the graphics. In the game there is a pet shop, and there is a pug in a cage which has an unnatural glow about it. Animation for the most part is passable however there parts where the animation looks unnatural from the collapsed elbows of the bending of an arm. Even the camera will have a few moments of messing up, and in a few cut scenes near the end of the game, the camera will shake back and forth when it is not suppose to meaning during animating the camera, the camera was probably slightly moved and hit an object. This hit is what causes the camera to shake.
The original PC version was a point-and-click adventure game, and in the process of bringing it over to the X-Box 360, there were some changes to make the game flow smoother by streamlining some of the game mechanics. Instead of using a cursor, the player gets to control Sherlock Holmes (and sometimes Dr. Watson), and the controls are responsive and the layout is decent. My only complaint is the run/walk button which is back and hitting it will cycle between walking and running. It would have been a lot better if it could have been mapped to the A/B/X/Y.
Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper can be played in either third person or first person, and I found that playing the game in first person view was much better since the camera angles could be awkward in the third person view. When Sherlock Holmes walks close to a person that he can talk to, a text bubble shows up from their mouth, and for items either a hand or magnifying glass will show up. The hand represents action/pick up while the magnifying glass will examine the item. Items that are picked up can be cycled through by hitting either "LB" or "RB" which is a lot faster than having to go through the menu like in the PC port however some items can be combined but they can only be combined in item menu.
The game does get off to a slow start, and the first part of the game includes several fetch quests where Sherlock Holmes must recover a lost item. This pretty much boils down to running back and forth talking to several characters, and the game is fully voice. It is a mixed bag when it comes to the voice acting, and the main characters do not sound bad however the NPC's which have nothing to do with the plot and serve as background characters range from awful to embarrassingly bad.
True to point-and-click games, Sherlock Holmes has numerous puzzles throughout the eight to ten hour campaign, and for the most part, the puzzles are not too difficult and are not too illogical. As Sherlock Holmes would say some of the puzzles are quite "ingenious", and the only puzzle that I felt hurt the game was the lock picking puzzle which has no explanation as to what to do or how to solve it like the other puzzles do.
The developers did a good job of pointing the player in the right direction for most of the game yet there were a few parts of the game where there is a lack of direction. Eventually I discovered that some of the parts where I became stuck were either due to not finding a certain clue or not talking to the right person with a particular item. This happened several times through the game to me.
Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper has a well written story, and it even becomes down right disturbing at a few parts. By the end of the game, everything is wrapped up tightly leaving no loose ends and delivering a satisfying ending that is not a cliff hanger which is refreshing since most video games end either abruptly or cliff hang.
The sound track is marvelous from Sherlock Holmes playing his violin or the piano piece that plays in Sherlock Holmes home. The city is quiet, and it helps create an atmosphere. Sound effects are nice, and I like how the footsteps change when walking/running on dirt and cobblestone. The only sound effect that I dislike was the female scream that happens at random in the background of the city.
As much as I enjoyed Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper, there are a few problems with this game. The replay value is low even with the achievements which most of them are obtained by beating the game (only four are missable). There are some oddities with the animation where arms bend awkwardly and even the camera has a few issues. Worst part of the game is the bug, and there are several game breaking bugs in the game. Luckily the game can be saved at any time, and it is highly suggest that the player keep several save files so that if they do run into said bug they will not lose too much progress. The bug I ran into involves the dressing up mannequin which my last save file was a few minutes before so I did not lose too much progress.
Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper is a decent game while it lacks in graphics it makes up with for a well written story however the ultimate problem is the numerous bugs.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/29/12
Game Release: Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper (US, 04/23/10)
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