The game's sound design is odd; sometimes downright bizarre. Footsteps are louder than dialogue, grass sounds like rustling sweet wrappers and the voice acting is inconsistent.
On Xbox One, The Devil's Daughter is hampered by a shoddy frame rate, excessive screen-tearing and an overall lack of visual polish. Environments look good, but character models look no better than they did in Crimes & Punishments.
The core experience of being Sherlock and carrying out detective work is the game's best bit. It's muddied by annoying QTEs, daft mini-games and crummy stealth sections, but most puzzles hit the mark.
A decent-sized narrative that can easily be completed over the course of a weekend. There's little to no incentive for a second playthrough once you've correctly solved the game's cases, and you can still replay the endings to see each conclusion.
Unfortunately, Sherlock's achievements fail to add any reason to return to the game once it's finished. One playthrough is all it takes to grab the full 1000G and it's practically impossible to miss any of them, as they're all attached to merely progressing through the story. A wasted opportunity.
June 07, 2016
Sherlock is running through a wintry snow-laden forest and we have no idea why. Frogwares' latest stab at Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic detective starts with masses of potential, drawing you into its narrative from the off, but it's sadly not long before it runs out of steam. Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter is another solid effort from the Ukrainian developer, but it's too reliant on daft mini-games and the occasional needlessly obtuse puzzle.
That's not to say that The Devil's Daughter is a bad game. It's actually rather enjoyable while it lasts, despite more than a few descents into trial and error nonsense, where success the first time is a case of luck over skill or reaction speed. Once again, murder is afoot, and like the other games before it, there are clues to be gathered, suspects to be interrogated, and puzzles to be solved in the run up to each case's conclusion.
"Watson! Did you leave the stove on?"
People come and go in Sherlock's life during the game's runtime, as his faithful companion Dr. Watson stays by his side throughout. You'll quickly discover that there's an overarching narrative going on in the background as Holmes trudges through each of his cases, and by the time you reach the game's dramatic coda, your decisions will come back to haunt you before a final revelation comes to light. But not before you've been through all manner of weird moments, including delving into the past, where you'll journey deep into a Mayan temple bristling with traps.
As the story rolls on, you'll soon discover why Holmes finds himself in a cold and gloomy forest at the game's opening, and subsequently be treated to an interminable sequence in which you continue running for cover, keeping an eye on Sherlock's stamina bar, while maintaining enough distance between you and your pursuer.
It's the first in a range of slightly irritating interactive sequences that have been shoehorned into The Devil's Daughter, including a few too many analogue stick twiddling balancing bits and some silly eavesdropping segments where you're once again using the sticks to zone in on conversations. Even set-pieces that should on paper be enjoyable, like a violent bar brawl, are clumsy and poorly executed, leading to wearisome repetition. There are a whole bunch of sequences like this, and they all seem entirely unnecessary.
Still, each of The Devil's Daughter's cases pack in enough intrigue to keep you hooked, in spite of the game's choppy frame rate, dodgy voice acting and scrappy visuals that haven't really seen all that much of an upgrade since Crimes & Punishments. Overall, the game's presentation seems a tad lazy. I'm fairly sure I saw Inspector Lestrade's face recycled on three separate occasions sporting a different moustache, hat or whatever.
It's especially frustrating as Frogwares clearly hasn't skimped in other departments, expanding Sherlock's explorable hub area beyond his study and bedroom, enabling you to venture out onto Baker Street, prowling its cobbled streets amid the day-to-day hustle and bustle. It helps in fleshing out the game's atmosphere and sense of time and place immeasurably. But it's the moments in which you're deducing and fitting the pieces of each case together that prove to be The Devil's Daughter's saving grace, succeeding in making you feel smart.
Just wandering through the old cemetery, as you do.
Again, the real challenge comes in connecting all of the clues and reaching your conclusion, and when you correctly accuse the correct suspect, you can't help but feel a rewarding sense of gratification that you managed to figure it all out.
It's a shame then that the achievements don't give you an award for getting things right. The list simply tasks you with completing various story-related actions that you can't really miss, meaning you can bag the full 1000G in a single playthrough without even trying. It seems a bit pointless and a waste of an achievement list.
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter is another solid though unremarkable entry in Frogwares' Sherlock series that while comparatively more polished than its predecessor, still suffers from a variety of issues including trial and error QTEs, some poorly though-out mini-games and an overall lack of attention to detail. Hell, there's even a horrid stealth section to endure that's about as enjoyable as syphilis. These problems aside, The Devil's Daughter has its moments and is worth a go, especially if you enjoyed Crimes & Punishments. Arguably, however, the previous game had superior puzzles and more engaging cases, and made for a more satisfying whole. Sherlock's latest adventure can't help but seem like it's lacking that certain elementary something.