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Holmes and Punishment

By Bobfish04-02-2013

Boy oh boy, where do I even begin? Tale a quick gander at the gallery and you'll see a whopping sixty-four images.  Only four of them, shown below, are for this upcoming, Unreal 3 powered behemoth of a game.  But it is well worth going back and familiarising yourself with its predecessor.  Though I am not as familiar with the games as I would like, I suspect that I, of all the Judges, have the widest knowledge of the source material. Especially considering that I have been re-watching (more on that below) the ITV adaptation over the last few weeks. I do know, however, that the point and click Holmes series has already carved out a respectable niche for itself, despite lacking the glitz and glam of the current heavy hitters in the industry. To see the vast improvements in polish promised for Crime and Punishment, all I can say is it's about time. Boasting eight new cases, which any loyal Holmseian should immediately be able to make a good crack at identifying with a few cursory glances.  Well, four of the cases at least.  The game promises:

"Murders, disappearances, spectacular thefts, and other investigations will bring you to the cutting edge of the detective genre and these cases will be the bread and butter of this game, written in the pure tradition of Conan Doyle's novels. Each case offers real freedom to players, who will have to make important moral choices instead of simply enforcing justice by the book. All decisions have an influence in the game and affect your character's reputation in addition to having realistic, sometimes unexpected, consequences."

Better yet, you now play as the man, Jeremy Brett himself! I mean, Sherlock Holmes. The Brett incarnation of him. Albeit somewhat fresher faced and a little less dead than his real world contemporary. For those unfamiliar, Brett, along with David Burke and then Edward Hardwicke (the latter being the character model chosen for this Doctor John Watson) captivated British audiences with what is still lauded as the finest television adaptation of Sir Doyle's novels across the end of the 1980's into the middle of the 1990's.A true professional, Mister Brett was increasingly ill during later recordings, to the point that recording would sometimes last for only seconds at a time before having to cease to allow him time to recover. And I, for one, can see a clear and obvious effort to maintain the same level of commitment here.

Looking back through the gallery for Testament (the previous title) every image, every single one of them, leaped out of the screen at me as a location from the series I loved. The interior of 221B Baker Street is, almost, exactly as I remember it from my childhood. For some reason the fireplace has moved, which struck me as a little odd, but the attention to detail is astounding, and now they're boasting significantly improved visual fidelity.  I am can feel myself almost literally salivating. It already feels like I'm coming home after a long holiday, and the game hasn't even been released yet. As with The Testament of Sherlock Holmes before it, Crime and Punishment is no longer employing a point and click approach to offer a "genuine third-person gaming experience befitting consoles and PCs" which only further adds to the great swell of anticipation building in my chest. Mark my words, this is going to be one to watch. I could go on for hours dissecting each and every infinitesimal piece of minutiae of the enormous catalogue of screen stills in the gallery below, but that would, well, take forever. So, rather, I invite you to join me in the comments below to offer your own thoughts and pick my brain with any questions you may have.

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