The key is that Crimes and Punishments sells the illusion that I’m experiencing a Holmes adventure. Its production values are pretty good, and the writing and voice acting are very good. It also has a sense of humour. For all the cool authority Holmes projects, Watson is clearly the one who has to put up with him on a daily basis, and their banter is laugh-out-loud funny. The traditional adventure game “examine everything” mechanic makes perfect sense in a game about Sherlock Holmes, a man renowned for his powers of observation. And uniquely, it’s possible to reach the wrong conclusion on the basis of the evidence. My one gripe – there is no “save anywhere”. There isn’t even “save and exit”. Instead, the game uses a checkpoint system.
Meanwhile, Jane Jensen informs me via email that the soundtrack for the Gabriel Knight remake will not be sold separately:
Hi, Peter – no, it is only available digitally as a gift with the pre-order of the game. It will not be sold separately due to our licensing agreement with Activision.
In other news:
- I wasn’t the only one having fun at a con over the weekend. Here is Eurogamer’s writeup of Firaxicon, complete with Sid Meier anecdotes.
- Below is a teaser for Vane, whose devs are ex-Team Ico. I can see the resemblance — it shares a dreamlike, fairy-tale atmosphere with Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. One to watch!
- Impressions seem favourable for Age of Wonders III‘s expansion pack, Golden Realms, and for Endless Legend. Both are on my “buy on sale” list. Reviewers are generally positive on Endless Legend‘s artwork and original world, with the caveat being the game’s AI. And it sounds as though Golden Realms addresses pacing, my main concern with the base AOW3.
- Hands-on previews are trickling in for Civilization: Beyond Earth and This War of Mine. I wonder how much depth there will be in This War – its premise is certainly great.
- And speaking of premises, check out SWAP, a capture-the-flag FPS minus the shooting, and upcoming indie tycoon game Big Pharma.
- The newly announced Zodiac is a Vita and iOS game that owes a clear debt to FFT (name and music), and to Valkyrie Profile and other side-scrollers (gameplay). I am a little concerned by the possibility it might be free-to-play – we’ll see if that’s confirmed.
- Finally, USGamer takes a look back at Resonance of Fate, a PS3/X360 JRPG that I’d like to finish one day.