TechSherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remake - An engaging mix of nostalgia and innovation

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remake - An engaging mix of nostalgia and innovation

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened Remake
Sherlock Holmes The Awakened Remake
Images source: ©

11:55 PM EST, January 23, 2024

'Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened' hit stores in 2006. Shortly after the game's release, a remastered version was produced, primarily featuring a third-person perspective. Both the original and the refreshed edition now look as if they were crudely crafted from wood. Due to unavoidable constraints, the creators could not work on a new installment in the series, so they aimed to revitalize this mature production by introducing several new mechanics and enhancing its graphics.

You may find it compelling

Compared to the original, the Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remake has undergone a few historical changes, but the core storyline remains consistent. The case appears straightforward at the outset: a dignitary seeks our assistance in finding his servant, who, as we soon discover, has been abducted.

Further investigation takes Sherlock and Watson to the London Port, where they learn that the servant's disappearance is part of a broader issue - more people are going missing under inexplicable circumstances. We identify a suspect who vehemently denies all charges. As we delve deeper into the mystery, the narrative takes a darker turn. The detective and the doctor eventually stumble upon a suspicious sect’s trail and end up in a psychiatric hospital.

The story is characterized by a dense and dark atmosphere, making it incredibly gripping. The developers have succeeded once again: it is characteristic of this series that the puzzle-solving and exploration aspects are as enticing as Sherlock's affinity for his tobacco pipe.

Old and new elements combine seamlessly

Frogwares incorporated innovations in gameplay. A redesigned interface was introduced, along with mechanics that will be familiar to fans of the series' latest installments. An example is the deduction system, which combines clues depicted as neurotransmitters in the protagonist's mind.

Additionally, in Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remake, we gain access to the detective's imagination. This element equips Sherlock with a "sixth sense" that visualizes past events based on environmental clues. The character sees the "ghosts" of the people involved in the incident. This ability has previously been seen in games like Crimes and Punishments.

It may seem that providing the master of deduction with supernatural abilities is detrimental to the series. Though I initially had some misgivings about this system, in practice, it is highly effective. Watching fragmented scenes in the protagonist's imagination inspires us to create our own theories about what transpired at the location.

A blend of less appealing and visually attractive components

Frogwares developed the remake in Unreal Engine 4, utilizing content from the series' latest installments. Notably, the main character looks identical to the one in Sherlock Holmes Chapter One. While playing, it's easy to feel that the content refreshed by the developers is somewhat dated. This is particularly noticeable in the animation department as character movement and facial expressions have room for improvement.

But it's not all negative. It doesn't take a Holmes or Watson to see that the remake's locations are highly appealing. Whether it's nocturnal London amidst heavy rain or the gloomy corners of a psychiatric hospital, the gaming environments are atmospheric and immersive.

As for performance, the game runs seamlessly on the PS5 without significant issues. Loading times are brisk and almost imperceptible. I didn't observe any performance drops. However, there was a single occasion when the game abruptly shut down while transitioning from an interior room to an external space. Hopefully, the creators will resolve this soon.

The curious case of the missing commas

Many players will be pleased to know that Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remake offers a Polish language version. The text and subtitles have been translated, but the spoken dialogue is only available in English. And that's for the best – a Sherlock production would feel lacking without the distinct dialogue of quintessential British gentlemen. Accents can make a significant difference in games of this type.

When it comes to the Polish localization, some signs of negligence slightly mar the overall effect. Throughout the text, I spotted a few typographical errors, and the handling of commas is particularly off-putting: too often they're missing where they should be, and vice versa. While this doesn't substantially detract from the overall experience, it's certainly worth noting.

  • Sherlock Holmes The Awakened Remake
  • Sherlock Holmes The Awakened Remake
  • Sherlock Holmes The Awakened Remake
  • Sherlock Holmes The Awakened Remake
[1/4] Sherlock Holmes The Awakened RemakeImages source: ©

Of course, dear Watson

Frogwares justified their work on the remake citing that the current conflict makes the creation of a completely new installment challenging. The game contains numerous references to Ukraine and its existing predicament, such as Sherlock and Watson sporting Ukrainian folk costumes and a news article discussing the sinking of the ship 'Moskva'.

Even if we set aside the political elements, I believe that revamping Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is warranted. The 2006 title possessed what differentiated the Holmes series from average adventure games – captivating storylines, engaging quests, and an enthralling atmosphere. Admittedly, none of us would opt for the original title now. However, the updated version delivers all the best aspects of the original wrapped in visually appealing graphics and with some noticeable improvements. In essence, the remake hits the mark.

We tested the game on a PS5 console. The review code was provided by the game's producer, Frogwares.

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