Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Hands-on Preview – Eldritch Mysteries

Posted on February 1, 2023

I am a big fan of point-and-click adventure games, be they old or new, and so I have played a few Sherlock Holmes games in my day. While the traditional point-and-click has been left to the wayside in recent years, the Sherlock Holmes games have remained interesting and fun to play. At the same time, they still maintain a bit of that familiar gameplay loop of investigating areas, finding items and figuring out how to use them. 

When first booting up the preview build of Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, I was surprised to find that the game was a delightful mix of both Lovecraft horror and classic Holmes mystery solving. For a game originally released in 2009, this is a pretty interesting twist on the formula and it makes sense to remake this game for the modern era. 

The update to modern graphics does wonders for the game in cinematic cutscenes, where the world is lovingly detailed and beautiful, but the gameplay itself looks a little… off. In dialogue, characters were often much too close to the camera and it felt very uncomfortable to stare at someone so intently while they spoke. The graphics remind me a bit of an early PS4 game, and I hope they might get a refresh before the full release, but it was hardly a major deterrent. There were also multiple issues with flickering and graphical pop-in, but again, the game is still in development. 

Controlling Sherlock is simple at first glance, walking around and looking for items to interact with and making use of a handy option that highlights all interactables in the area. Things get a little more complex than that though when adding the Mind Palace into the equation. This is a neat way for you to collate all the information you have located and figure out how it can help you to solve your next puzzle.

Most puzzle solving takes place in the Mind Palace instead of in the real world, and once a solution has been discovered, you can then go and activate it in the world where applicable. It took me a little to get the hang of it, and so did the search system that allows you to get a closer look at glowing areas in the area to learn new things. It turns out that these inspectable objects don’t appear until you have the correct question ‘pinned’ and I didn’t realise this for quite some time, but once I did it was very easy to use.

I only got to play through a portion of act three, opening with Watson attempting to infiltrate an asylum and Sherlock bursting through the doors behind him in a disguise and doing his best American accent. Watson has quickly swept away to a guest room and Sherlock is taken down to the cells for treatment. From this point, you play as Sherlock, breaking out of your cell using a really interesting lock-picking minigame and then trying to find a way to both leave the cell block and learn more about the goings-on in the asylum.

When I did reach the end of the demo, I was craving more of the story and the game itself, so even though I found the visuals a little underwhelming, I can surely say that it does a great job of capturing interest.

Keep an eye out Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened in the first quarter of 2023 and get ready for some sleuthing!