I finished a case, and this game gets a kick out of playing with my conscience.
This installment takes a different approach to the mystery genre. Instead of funneling the player down from a bunch of clues to only one solution, you are given a deduction board to work with and can reach multiple conclusions through different interpretations of the evidence. It’s not even that your solution changes throughout the game—you can choose to ignore and misunderstand clues. I didn’t realize that there were different endings until I finished and ended up using the “Replay Ending” option to try to see all of the endings. You can check to see if you charged the correct suspect too though in the first case, the correct suspect had the most detailed end sequence.
I can’t tell if this game tried to make a comment on today’s justice system on purpose, but it does show the faults in putting your faith in one person for this kind of work. Sherlock is known not to necessarily be the most moral person, choosing logic and answers over the greater good on occasion. Here you see him come to the wrong conclusion four separate times and Inspector Lestrange just take his word for it. Even when you find the thief or murderer, you can choose to let them go if you choose. This might be why we make multiple people listen to two separate sides and all of the evidence and take a vote. It might at least lower the chance of easily-accessed corruption.
Really, it was probably just their attempt to make the game more open-ended. I’m glad for the choice either way.
But they couldn’t just leave the endings at that. After deciding someone is guilty, you have to decide whether to convict or absolve the person. In my first case, this meant that there was a total of six different endings. You are allowed to replay the ending as many times as you wish, and once you decide which decision hurts your heart the least, you can hit “Accept Choice.” You are then given a personality type based on your decision. Can’t really speak on its accuracy—I was given the title “Sympathizer.”
The description of the game attempted modernization was accurate though. Crimes and Punishments adds in a lot of elements that I’ve never seen before that seem a little out of place.
1. Quicktime events. Really. Each time you catch a character in a lie, you can press “Q” to get the opportunity to present contradictory information or evidence. And if you don’t like these or have trouble doing them in time, here you can replay them as many times as want without consequence. This helps with how easy it is not to follow Sherlock Holmes’ desired line of questioning.
2. FPS and fighting. Again, between this, the quicktime events, and the moral choices, it feels like the developers are trying to emulate that Telltale style of adventure games. During one experiment, I had to simulate using a harpoon to figure out how much strength would be needed to pierce a person. I had to aim accurately and use the correct amount of strength. This took me five minutes. It felt like when I hovered what I guess was the figurative scope over the target, it was always a millimeter off. Of course you can skip it if you want to—this game does a good job of adapting to people who only want the story—but doing that doesn’t feel right. What is with them and the guilt?
3. Unlockable outfits and hairstyles. I know Mr. Holmes is supposed to be a master of disguise, but if that’s the case, why would I have to do so much legwork to gain access to his costumes? He’s well-experienced at this point, so you’d think he would have more than two suits and a sailor’s costume. Of course it lets you customize him regardless with a few starting options for if you like your detective balding, curly-headed, or in a hat.
Now off to my next case. Maybe I’ll get a new hat.