Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is a game full of mystery and intrigue. It’s a game that will surely pique the interests of anyone itching to solve crimes and mysteries. Let’s take a look at the game and see if it’s worth getting.
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One takes us through an investigative journey with Sherlock Holmes and his partner-in-crime Jon. It starts off with Sherlock visiting the island of Cordona to pay respects to his mother’s grave. Little did Sherlock know that he would be tangled up in a web of crime, mystery, and intrigue.
The beginning act of the game takes you to this hotel where the game teaches you the basics. The controls itself are easy to determine but they can get confusing sometimes. The game relies heavily on the stories that it presents to you so reading important notes and clues as well as being observant can really take you far in this game.
However, you can also just wing it and take a best guess on what you’re supposed to do next. The game doesn’t really coddle you because the game allows you to experiment and find out for yourself. Luckily, the game has a guide for you to look up should you ever feel like you are stuck. I find this very handy because I just skimmed over most of the tutorial.
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is subdivided into two parts, the overarching main story and the subquests that branch out. The main story revolves around the mystery behind Sherlock’s childhood as he tries to remember what happened to him back then. While the subquests are side stories that revolves around people and clues that help paint Sherlock’s childhood memories. The people that you need to ask or clues that you need to get will often involve solving a mystery for other people.
Observation and deduction is key to solving the most mysterious of stories here in Sherlock Holmes. Each story has very different settings and approaches and will usually involve more than one person. The game is very good at providing a lot of information but it’s what you do with that information that will matter in the end.
One unique feature of the game is the Mind Palace. Here, Sherlock strings key pieces of information to provide a solution to the mystery. The information that you acquire comes from several sources of information to give you the most possible outcomes to each mystery. These pieces of information comes up as clues that you can pair with each other to reveal a deduction. If you pair up clues that are wrong, it will indicate that it was a wrong pairing, allowing you to remember that you have already paired those two clues together. The deductions will then be the information that you can connect together to confirm an outcome. Some deductions will have two choices that if you decide to choose one of the other it will eventually unlock a deduction that will help you decide the outcome of a mystery. It can come up with a solution based on what choices have been aligned and you can basically play God and accuse or incriminate someone to be the culprit.
There is really no right or wrong answer here in the deductions but it does play out the outcome and the consequences thereafter of your solution. Either way it will close the case once you have determined who is the culprit behind the mystery. Some mysteries will have 4 outcomes will others may have six. It really depends upon the clues and deductions that you are able to string together. You can even end up with just one solution if you can’t be bothered into investigating the mystery further. The freedom of choice is well pointed out in this game and you can really customize the story to whatever you want it to be as long as you have access to the right clues.
The Casebook is where Sherlock stores these pieces of evidence and it can either be people, an item, a crime scene, chemical elements, notes and several other things. The information and ideas you gather can then be highlighted in your casebook where you will get hints on what to do with them next. As far as hints goes, these icon hints are the only times the game will tell you what needs to happen next to a specific evidence. It can hint at several things like wanting you find a location, ask people around you regarding it, talk to a key person about it and several other functions. All the explanation for an icon can be found under the “How to Play” section of the game in the “Options” menu.
Sometimes when you really get stuck though and have no clue where to go next, the best thing to do is just explore the world. If that doesn’t work sometimes donning the right disguise will enable you to talk to specific types of people. Evidences can also be pinned so that they show on your screen. Pinning evidences will allow you to do additional actions like being able to ask people with the pinned evidence or if you are in Concentration mode, Points of Interest and Tracking will appear.
Speaking of Concentration mode, Concentration mode allows you to see the world differently. A scribbled white circle will normally appear on the screen when something requires your concentration. Activating Concentration mode for these Points of Interest will allow Sherlock to deduce what was missing in that area or he will take notice of the details of an object. Concentration will also allow you to reveal details of the people around you, a key tactic if you are looking for a certain individual. Tracking will also appear in Concentration mode based on a pinned evidence to enable you to follow a set of footprints and where it leads.
Another feature that I really like about Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is when Sherlock has all the key evidence in a crime scene, you can then unlock the ability to recreate the crime scene. In these situations, Sherlock sits back and lets Jon do the work. Jon places key people in place on the crime scene based on the evidence you collected. There is only one answer to the recreation of the crime scene so you’d need to make sure you have placed the correct people in their correct places.
Traversing the island of Cordona can be tedious at first because you’d have to travel to a location first before you can unlock fast travel. To fast travel, you can either open the map and choose a fast travel location or approach the nearest horse carriage and it will open the map for you to let you choose the travel location. The map will also show you points of interest like important buildings and Bandit Lairs.
Bandit lairs are the combat areas of the game. If you want to make some quick cash, defeating the enemies in a Lair is the way. The combat is not something to be desired for really as it feels rather clunky and unpolished. You will also have to restrain yourself from killing the bandits because you won’t gain any money for killing them. You’d have to be able to use the environment to subdue your opponents or wait for your snuffbox to activate so you can stun them. What I don’t get is how the enemies seem to shoot you very accurately even from a distance. The combat is not one of my favorite things in this game and I’d rather avoid it if possible.
The characters in the game is also something that I feel detached to. They all seem to have the same expression save for the tone of their voice. There were even several moments of the game where I don’t understand why they were crying or why the mood is sad. It just doesn’t feel authentic or believable. Nevertheless, it didn’t really hamper my experience with the story. However, due to this weird display of emotions, you can’t help but feel no remorse on whoever gets accused as the culprit.
Overall, Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is a very immersive story that puts you in the shoes of the detective. The mysteries are challenging and elaborate and can set you up for hours and hours of endless fun or even forever if you get stuck and don’t want to get help from the interwebs. If you’re a big fan of Sherlock Holmes or mystery puzzle games, then I would definitely recommend this game for you.
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One – Review
It’s a fun game that has its few kinks that can easily be ignored.
A massive city to explore full of mystery and wonder
Challenging puzzles and mysteries to solve
Recreating a crime scene is always interesting
Characters seem to convey only one emotion
Combat is not very appealing and something that you'd rather want to skip