Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics **** Player participation (PP) **** Satisfaction Factor (SF)** Frustration Factor (FF) ***** Fair Play (FP) ** Tedium Factor (TF) ***


I bought this Frogwares game, which is currently only available for PC and not Mac, through Steam where there were no apparent Free Trials.  I thought as it was a new Sherlock Holmes it would be updated in many ways and so worth gamble of buying it without trying it first.  I was wrong.  During the Opening Sequence I had to quickly write down the tiny print Validation Code for when it was asked from me at some unspecified time during the game.  So I missed any instructions that may have been given then.

I spent 36 minutes of major FF working out by trial and error how the controls worked and making educated guesses.  I quickly collected the first clues with a few Instructions on the screen about how to go forward, walk, run, etc which then would not turn off so they impeded the play thought they were semi opaque.  I could access the Inventory by Right Clicking, and pick up Items but could not work out how to make Holmes use them – all I could do was get him to walk around the room, back and forth.  I couldn’t engage with him, or when I worked out how to be him I couldn’t interact with anything or with Watson.

I pressed ESC which took me (as I suspected) back to the Main Menu.  There I saw CONTROLS which took me in and gave me the run down on how to play – well physically anyway.  BUT – and it’s a huge BUT as far as I am concerned – you have to use the Keyboard as well as the Mouse for many of the actions.  There was a Bonus, or so I thought at first, of using the Space Bar for Sixth Sense (a possible Hints), but it turned out to be useless – Holmes’ face appears in the Top Right Hand Corner then fades away..  It does nothing more than that.  Well not so far.  It just added to the FF as at first I thought it was telling me to send Holmes to that area of the room, but Nooo.

You can access many of the things by Right Clicking into Inventory and using the Icons beneath it which lead you to Dialogues; Documents; Deductions; Map; and the final one lets you change from 1st to 3rd person modes.  However the Dialogues was only the Diary record of what had just been spoken during the time that the screen was partially obscured by the so-called instruction window.  And the rest, apart from the Mode-Changer, had nothing in them as I had done nothing.

Meanwhile I had distinctly heard Holmes say he had already solved the case.  How?!  And why, at such an early stage?  Ridiculous.

Tips: BEFORE you press Play go to CONTROLS and physically copy them onto a Notebook – I think for this game, as for most other Holmes games, a Notebook is a necessity.  NEXT I suggest some Meditation or some form of pacifying potion to enable you to float around with Holmes for long periods of time examining the same things endlessly without caring too much!  THEN, if there is one ‘out there’, look for a WALKTHROUGH posted by  some Clever-clogs aka Dinosaur who only uses Keyboard controls and hasn’t emerged, as the game hasn’t, into this Century, and thus, knowing what to do, has already finished the game!  I USED to know but left all that behind me years ago.

Now I have to be fair here – the Graphics are greatly refined especially re the 3D CG and Movement elements.  But what is the use of you can’t play the game smoothly, logically, steadily progressing, using your brain to solve the problems because you are hampered by antiquated Navigation Controls?!

I will make another attempt – some time soon, when my blood pressure has returned to normal – and will do an Update with perhaps some more comprehensive information for you.  Meanwhile, if anyone of you have actually tried the game and got out of the first room, then please let me know how!  So I can pass it on.

Any of you who have read my SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES Review will know that I love Sherlock Holmes games – I consider THE HOUND to be one of the better Sherlock PC Games created, despite being a Hidden Object/Adventure Game rather than 3D CG Adventure, with a modified yet gripping storyline.  It’s Graphically pleasing, with good Navigation/Controls PP that make it most Satisfying to play and to complete – high SF.  It’s shame that THE TESTAMENT OF SHERLOCK HOLMES game doesn’t live up to that one.

At this point I don’t recommend it – but may in the future.  😀

Jud House   26/07/2013

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About judsartwork

I write reviews of Adventure and Hidden Object games that are Crime, Fantasy, SciFi, Renovation, Travel, Quest and/or Mystery by genre. I have a Masters in Writing (2006) and have been writing novels, both crime and fantasy for many years; plus Haiku, verse, and prose both fictional and literary. I am also an artist of modern, Acrylic, textural and hard edge work, underwater, fantasy, expressionist, and Cosmos paintings. I use mixed media (Acrylic, Watercolour, Pastels) in textural Monoprints, finding surprises to expose within each work. Having both an analytical and creative mind has meant that I have strong powers of observation, and the persistence required to follow computer problems through till I solve them. Of course I am not always successful, but am willing to ask for a little help in order to then unlock the main problem myself. My Troubleshooting Blog, 'Problems and Solutions', was the result of my tenacity.
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  1. Sarca says:

    Hi Jud,
    Have you tried using a game controller instead of mouse and keyboard? Just a thought. I had started playing the PC version that way, but then used a game controller and things worked much better.
    I happened to really enjoy this one. It was a slow burn at first that ended up being one of the best games I have ever played.


    • Thanks Sarca. I’ll see if we have a game controller in the house. Pete should be able to hook it up for me. Mind you I really prefer to use the Mouse where possible – have never been a real fan of using the Keyboard to play games.
      By the way I tried to reply to your great piece about WordPress a few days ago. I too have experienced this traffic problem so have removed the Link in the blogs to Bigfish games. It’s weird though because WP used to provide automatic Link choices at the bottom of each New Post but then suddenly stopped. I guess they had a change of policy – perhaps I didn’t pick it up. When I asked for WP help re traffic they said my blog looked fine but that I should drop the Tags down to 15 or less – they never said anything about repetitions – and this was despite the fact that my Traffic had suddenly plummeted from about 60-80 a day to about 10 a day!!! I couldn’t work out what I had done differently that would cause this drop – or if WP had done something to it. Any ideas?
      What did you mean by seeing your Post/Page/Blog on Reader? That was a bit ambiguous – I didn’t know if you meant you couldn’t get Reader on your page, or whether you can access your page through Reader somehow?

      • Sarca says:

        So, people are able to search the WP Reader by the tags you have catagorized in your blog. This means, for example, if I had a blogpost with the tag “hidden object games” and posted it, I can go into the tag search in WP and do a search under “hidden object games” and my blogpost should come up. But, it wasn’t. I tried any tag I used recently and nothing.

        If someone was subscribed to my blog, they would be able to see my blogposts, but no where else in WP – until I contacted support, of course!

        Your blog is for sure showing up in the reader, because I found it searching for casual games, hidden object, Big Fish Games (can’t remember which tag I found you under). But, you’re there.

        Anyway, re: playing with a mouse – yes, me too. Especially puzzle games. Because Sherlock Holmes is more adventure and available on consoles as well as PC, it does have controller capabilities. Remember, if you go that route, to change your settings to controller in the game. It’s not automatic. I don’t like playing with keyboard. Too aukward.

      • Thanks heaps for that. 😀

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