Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One (2021) Review

Based on the character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One is the latest Sherlock Holmes videogame, it was developed and published by Frogswares for the PC, PS5 and Xbox Series S/X with versions for last gen consoles coming soon.

This is an origin story for our favourite detective so you wont be seeing Dr Watson in the game. The Plot actually sees a younger Sherlock Holmes returning to the Island of Cordona to revisit his family home and try to find out why his mother died.

He is joined by his imaginary friend Jon who acts as his conscience but at times seems to have a mind of his own.

While figuring out the answers to one of his biggest family secrets word of his unique detective skills gets around and young sherlock finds himself solving various different mysteries before he can finally get some answers.

The game is an open world Action/Mystery videogame based in the early 1800’s. It differs from a lot of other open world games as their is very little action segments and those that do exist can be skipped with very little effect to the player.

The Main Quest is very short and in order to get the most out of the game you really need to be focussing on the side cases and collectables.

The Gameplay is all very similar throughout the experience, you are a detective putting clues together to solve crimes, there are various ways to do this but some of the most frequent ways to solve a case are by examining a crime scene, you can view certain objects to gather information and you can even check for much smaller details such as blood spots on the carpets or scratches in woodwork etc.

Some people wont speak to Sherlock in his expensive suit so putting on different disguises is absolutely necessary, these can be purchased from various street sellers, you can also purchase furniture for your home from sellers across the island.

There are three archives you can visit, Police (Crimes), Cordona Chronicle (News) and Cordona City Hall (Official/Legal Documents). Depending on your clue you need to decide which will be the most useful to visit, you first need to select your clue from your case file then you can choose three key words to try and match some further information. For example if I was looking for a news article about an escaped monkey in Scaladio 100 years ago I would visit Cordona Chronicle and would search 1700’s – Front Page – Scaladio and that would then match the correct information.

Once you have enough of an idea of how a crime was committed you will be able to enter Sherlocks imagination where he can individually choose positions and actions to determine the most likely possibility of a crime before making his final decision in his mind palace.

Some items you collect during investigations can be chemically analysed to find out what certain stains or substances are. This process requires players to complete a small math puzzle where they need to find clever ways to match the required outcome by either dividing, adding, subtracting or doubling numbers.

The mind palace is where sherlock is able to connect all of his clues and make his final judgement of who is the culprit and how they should be punished, this normally results in whether he lets them go or reports them to the authorities but in more serious cases he can even suggest the death sentence.

The cases are almost perfect from a gameplay perspective you really do feel like a detective but if there is one issue I would say that Jon should have been a developed a little differently, throughout the game he constantly complains when you make mistakes but the game isn’t very clear on what direction you should be heading in, the clues are very complex in areas and I think that Jon maybe should have been used more as a hint system or a way to help players with trickier clues. I used a walkthrough more than once and I am not ashamed to admit that because this game can be really hard at times due to its lack of direction.

While the detective and mystery elements of the game really shine I feel its combat is a little lackluster, thankfully as I have already stated you can skip these but in case you want to do them, the idea is to shoot off armour and use the environment to stun enemies so you can arrest them, you can kill people but you will be penalised for this.

The problem with the combat is that its really slow paced and because of the lack of ways to interact and stun enemies it gets repetitive very quickly, towards the end of the game I found myself really enjoying the fact that I didn’t have to do these parts.

While your running around the island, eves dropping on locals and solving side cases there are actually 24 hidden treasures you can find by using photographic clues given to you by the treasure master.

These are actually quite cryptic and really challenging to find, they are a great way to have a break from the rest of the game which all follows a very similar gameplay pattern and there are some trophies to unlock if you collect these.

The game is lacking in its visuals, graphically its not really up to scratch with the modern hardware its been released on however that is not to say that it isn’t impressive. This is not a triple A game and it had a much smaller budget than some other games on modern systems, It doesn’t even have a physical release which says a lot in how much money was able to be pumped into it, what is really impressive is how the developers managed to make the world so realistic and immersive. The 1800 style really works in the games favour for being pretty cool to explore especially for fans of history. The load times are really fast and there is no issue with background items loading in too late. The developers were really clever with how they managed to hide invisible barriers, by putting Sherlock on an Island they are able to allow him to explore almost anywhere that he can walk too, he cant jump so he is restricted to the ground and since he cant swim the only barrier is the ocean which drowns him when entered. Smart game design like this allows players to remain immersed in the gameplay without obvious blocks taking away from the experience.

The soundtrack isn’t too special but I don’t think it needed to be, the small music tracks it uses are very simple and mellow, I does pick up during combat for the most part you are so focused on solving cases you forget the music is even there, so unfortunately I don’t have much to say about the OST here apart from its neither good nor bad.

Sherlock Holmes Chapter One was a lot better than I expected, I really enjoyed the freedom that came with the open world, I spent a lot of time focussing on the side content and really going after all the trophies which I did manage to pull off, they are quite easy to get and a good chunk are rewarded for making certain moral decisions and doing Jon’s various challenges.

The main quest line is fine enough but its very short especially on a second playthrough so again you really will want to do everything to get your moneys worth with this one, especially since you will be paying a fair bit on money as the game is not cheap for digital only.

Overall I really enjoyed this game but even with all of impressive features its got some pretty serious issues in its gameplay, the combat is creative but badly pulled off, again you can skip these but that’s still no excuse, the main puzzle solving and the mystery parts are really cool but a little bit too cryptic at times which can effect peoples enjoyment as just little hints would have been useful to help get us in the right direction without having to use the internet.

However I did get excited to play this game whenever I got the chance, even though I did use a walkthrough a couple of times I was still really invested in the story and cases I was solving, I thought the world was really well animated, it felt how I would imagine the 1800’s to be and the characters were all really interesting. I think it was a great choice to do an origin story as well before Sherlock becomes famous, who knows maybe one day we will get another game in this style, perhaps with Dr Watson?

6/10

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Detective Pikachu (2019) Movie Review

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Last night I managed catch a viewing of the Detective Pikachu movie in my local movie theate and it only seems right to talk about it. I am going to do my best to avoid spoilers but one or two small spoilers may slip through the cracks so this is your warning if you want to watch the movie.

Detective Pikachu is a mystery-fantasy film which takes place in the world of Pokemon, it was directed by Rob Letterman, Letterman co-wrote the script with Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit.

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Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) is a young man who has given up on his dreams of becoming a Pokemon trainer, this is due to the unfortunate passing of his mother and also because his father had been neglectful towards him through out most of his life.

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After his father dies in a mysterious car accident Tim travels to Rhyme city in order to collect his fathers assets and while at his fathers apartment Tim meets a Pikachu that he can fully understand, the Pikachu is played by Ryan Reynolds. Detective Pikachu believes that Tims dad survived the crash and that a larger mystery is behind the accident, Detective Pikachu and Tim work together to try and solve the mystery of what really happened to Tims Dad, while meeting other Pokemon and discovering more pieces to the puzzle along the way.

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The cast was ok in this movie although I wouldn’t say it was anything special apart from Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu, the only three major roles worth mentioning are Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu, Justice Smith as Tim and Kathryn Newton as Lucy who helps our two main actors with solving the mystery of Tims Dad.

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The visual effects and design of the various Pokemon is the highlight of the film. The Pokemon look absolutely fantastic, They went for a realistic approach instead of trying to make the creatures look more animated and in this case its worked out extremely well, if Pokemon were real this is how I imagine them to look and the environments I imagine they would reside.

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The movie is really funny and can be enjoyed by the entire family although in my personal opinion some scenes might be a little scary for younger children, as I have already stated the realistic designs work really well but that also means that in some action scenes the realistic Pokemon can come across as a little bit too real and I feel that it could make the experience rather unpleasant for some people.

This a really good movie, it has a nice cast of Pokemon and human actors, it has some excellent CGI that can be a little scary at times but the film is very funny and filled to the brim with jokes that both adults and children can get a laugh from. You dont need to be a Pokemon fan to enjoy the film so even if you dont know what a Pokemon is I would still recommend giving it a viewing.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Detective Pikachu (2019)

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Sam and Max Hit the Road (1993) PC Review

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Sam and Max Hit the Road is the first release of the popular point and click adventure series which follow two anthropomorphic animal detectives as they try to solve various wacky crimes, the games are based on the original comic book series Sam and Max: Freelance Police which was created by Steve Purcell in 1987.

12333 The game is based on a 1989 comic book release where Sam and Max need to travel to various tourist locations spread across America in order to find a Bigfoot that has gone missing from a local carnival.

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The game play is similar to any-other game of the genre you will need to collect random objects throughout the game and then either give those objects to those who may desire them or they can be used to solve puzzles, the game does add the ability to question suspects in order to gain clues about where the player should head next or how the player can get past some of the more difficult challenges the game has to offer.

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For me although the game was a lot of fun like most point and click adventure games, the best part was the characters and dialogue, the game is filled to the brim with dry humour which coincidentally is one of the only types of humour I genuinely find funny ¬† and let me just say that I was laughing my ass off throughout the majority of this game, I know a lot of people really like max for his psychotic personality and genuinely random moments but I have to admit that it was actually Sams character that I enjoyed the most, I found that Sam provided the majority of that witty dry humour that I love and although Max did this occasionally as well I just found it was funnier coming from Sam, ¬†I don’t think it really helped that for the most part Max was fairy useless in this game, some of the puzzles require you to use Max in order to solve them but honestly this hardly ever happened and for the rest of the game play you take control of Sam which is a shame because I feel that Max would have been useful for a lot more puzzles that he actually was.

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The Dialogue actually uses voice acting which really surprised me and the best part of this is that it was actually quite impressive, of course Sam and Max sound great Max has a more energetic voice which really suits his character and Sam has a more calm and serious voice which really works for him, everyone you speak too also has a unique voice and not one single character sounds the same as another.

Apart from pausing and a few other commands the game completely uses the mouse and I had no issues at all with the general game-play however I did not like the few keyboard keys that were chosen for smaller things, for some reason you need to press F5 to go to the save menu and if I didn’t look up the manual I never would have figured this out, another key that I hated was pressing full stop to skip dialogue, its a really random choice¬†when the developers could have easily chosen a much easier key that wasn’t in use, this wouldn’t be such an issue but when you keep having to speak to characters over and over again it can really get annoying having to keep listening to them repeat¬†the same sentences.

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The art style and visual choices in the game are absolutely outstanding, the colours are bright, the art is smooth and the many smaller details such as the use of shadows, creases in clothes and the density of different materials such as fur really help bring the game to life, not the mention the constant animations that run in the background of the game, the game has a few still image cut-scenes with some basic animation and if you weren’t actually playing the game you might think they were from a cartoon due to how much effort the game designers put into the visuals.

005fe384ddb3e3394a57771f36203588¬†Sam and Max Hit the Road is a very good game which I think most people¬†would really appreciate if they put aside some time to play it, It’s not perfect but its an innocent title that provides a lot of laughs and will leave you with some fond memories, I cant say I enjoyed it as much as I do Sierra Games but Lucas Art did a great job with this before the series got taken over by Travellers Tales 7/10

I hope you enjoyed my review of Sam and Max Hit the Road for Microsoft Windows and MS DOS.

By the way you can get yourself a copy of this game for fairly cheap via GOG.com

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By Padawan

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