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Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter

Score: 77%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.
Developer: Frogwares
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter is another great collection of new mysteries to continue the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and while each adventure in The Devil's Daughter feels like an isolated incident, the game does a great job of weaving a bigger plot around and through these stories. Too bad there are other difficulties in the game that make it downright frustrating at times.

From a presentation perspective, The Devil's Daughter is the best looking and sounding Holmes game I've played yet. All of the characters are as well detailed as the environments you will be exploring. Central characters like Holmes, Dr. Watson, Inspector Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson all look their parts, while new characters for this game don't look out of place at all.

From the audio side, the voice acting never feels phoned in and the dialogue generally feels smooth and never forced. Background music and sound effects do their job of setting the general ambiance of the locations, and that could be anything from the site of a horrific accident to an old cemetery to an ancient Mayan temple.


Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter has players controlling Holmes (and sometimes a few of his companions) as he works through four major cases. While each case is independent, how you choose to treat your suspects could influence how some aspects play out in the game's overall story.

You see, Holmes' adopted daughter, Kate, has come to visit, and while this causes some commotion, it isn't until Sherlock's new neighbor makes an appearance that things start to get odd. It quickly becomes apparent to players that Kate isn't just any adopted child, but based on veiled discussions between Sherlock and Watson, there are things about Kate's past that even she doesn't know. When Alice, the new neighbor, appears and starts hinting that she also knows Kate's history, Sherlock quickly becomes protective of his ward. Unfortunately the manipulative neighbor seems to be several steps ahead of Holmes, and that's hard to do with Sherlock.

Sherlock's cases include tracking down a boy's missing father, solving a murder that appears to have been committed by a living statues, finding out who threw a bomb into Holmes' home and even determining the cause for a complex and devastating street accident that seems to be aimed at taking out very particular people, though the scope of the accident might be far greater than the perpetrator intended.

As Sherlock explores the various scenes, he will pick up tidbits of knowledge, and from those tidbits you will be able to draw conclusions to determine who you think the person behind the crime is. Interestingly enough, you can easily draw false conclusions, and only once you've confronted the potentially guilty party, can you verify if that was the right choice. The game does give you a chance to undo that choice before ending the mystery and advancing the story though. So, if you haven't quite got it right, you can either continue your investigations or, if you know you've got all the clues, change your deductions and avoid the red herrings that led you to the wrong person.

In general, I found the detecting and deduction aspects of The Devil's Daughter to be very satisfying. I will admit that there was an occasion or two where I found myself accusing the wrong person, but in one case, I hadn't actually finished my investigations and in another, I felt like it was more of a toss up between two suspects, I just happened to choose the wrong one first in that case.

Where Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter has problems is when it tries to do just a little too much. There are parts of the game where it strays away from the adventure genre, and those times get very frustrating very fast. At the end of one case, you are being chased by a sniper and you have to run through woods and a swamp to get away. You have to occasionally take cover to catch your breath and avoid the random shots that will slow you down, oh and at some points, if you make a wrong step, it's instant death. A later part of the game (though not much later) has you playing a lengthy three-round game of lawn bowling. While skippable, it just feels like a frustrating waste of time, especially since it comes on the heels of not only trying to survive the aforementioned shooting, but also trying to determine exactly what outfit Sherlock feels is appropriate for the game.

Seriously, there are times when the game forces you to change your outfit to fit the occasion. While some of these make sense and fit into the story, like acting like a doctor or preacher, this particular instance was frustrating because it took me quite a while before I realized that it also wanted me to choose a specific hat.


In general, I found myself making very steady strides in Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter, that is, until I hit one of the events that would stop my progress dead for a good half hour or so. These events would frequently lead me to putting the game down for a time and walking away, especially in the case of the wooded shooting scenario. While other somewhat frustrating events weren't as bad as that one, they still felt off. One example is when you have to navigate Holmes through a trap-ridden Mayan temple. Each floor is filled with puzzles that will leave you dead with the barest of wrong steps. While I didn't have a problem with the puzzles themselves, the fact that Sherlock was basically imagining the whole ordeal while trying to recreate an expedition that went wrong some 14 years prior made the whole experience feel like it wasn't actually necessary for the story.

Game Mechanics:

Deduction is the name of the game when it comes to anything Sherlock Holmes related. In Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter, those deductive skills are put to use in a few key areas. One is the Logic Space where you can piece together the various clues you've found. Learning that a person has familiarity with electricity, coupled with their political viewings, might make them more likely to be the killer you are hunting, but then again, you can also decide that their electrical knowledge isn't quite good enough to pull off the trap that was set. Choosing to believe the trap was too advanced for that person changes how the facts flow together. Meanwhile, another suspect's motives might make them more likely to do the crime, unless you decide that they have too much to lose and another's gang-related history makes them a more likely candidate. As you learn about the crime and the suspects, the facts will lead to conclusions, but how you interpret those conclusions is how you will decide if a suspect is the person behind the crime or not. I enjoyed this aspect of the game a lot and it really adds a solid visual element to what goes on in Sherlock's head as he works through the facts he knows.

The other part of The Devil's Daughter that relies on deduction is Character Profiles. Much like in the books, when Sherlock meets someone new, a quick scan of their appearance yields many insights into whom he is talking to. In this game, you can look over a new character and select various aspects about their appearance. While most of these result in straight up facts, many will have you choosing how to interpret what you see. Are those marks on the hand a sign of hard work or fighting? Does that necklace mean she is rich or just likes to be flashy? Is the gauntness of this kid due to being sick, or is he just under-fed? If you deduce correctly, then you will often have a few extra dialogue options while talking to that person and you can gain a few more insights into the investigation.

I have mixed feelings about Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter. The actual crime solving portions of the game are great. I really enjoyed the story, both the individual mysteries and the main one involving Kate and Alice. Where The Devil's Daughter falls short though is when it tries to do more than that and becomes a frustrating experience. There is a skip feature for several of these parts, but as an adventure gamer, I find the idea of skipping a part of the game just to get to the next piece of the story to be a personal defeat. I feel like this is a title most adventure gamers would enjoy, but if you are like me, you might have to swallow your pride some and just skip over some of the more frustrating aspects of the game if you want to keep from getting too frustrated at the game.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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