Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remastered is the series’ first entry to resemble the games’ now standard formula. Sadly I’m still waiting on a story I don’t lose interest in halfway through.
This game has a darker start than its predecessors from the get go. After noticing blood spatters in town, Holmes ends up in a dark cave full of Cthulu carvings and a mutilated body stuffed with snakes. Yes, everybody, we’ve got some H.P. Lovecraft up in here!
Someone in town is performing some dark rituals, and Sherlock Holmes must stop the sacrifices. Exciting, right? While the narrative starts and ends strongly, the middle is muddled and only benefits from its gameplay.
Fro the first time in the series, the great detective is a travelling man, letting the player visit not only nineteenth century London, but New Orleans and Scotland as well. With the obvious exception of Baker Street, Awakened has no backtracking or retracing your steps. Each chapter leads you to a new historic location.
The user interface and controls are even clearer. The icons finally change when hovering over an interactive item. The inventory system isn’t clunky with all the collected items a right-click away. But most exciting of all is that Awakened introduces the series’ WASD controls, something most adventure games don’t dare do. I love the flexibility this allows. It ups the difficulty it takes to find what you’re looking for, but it isn’t the same pixel hunt as past games in the series.
Now I have yet to mention the puzzles, and there is good reason for that–there really weren’t that many. All the puzzles consist of following the culprit’s trail of breadcrumbs across the Atlantic instead of…lots of Sudoku (Can you tell I’m still bitter?).
If you want to get into the series and play them in any sort of order, I would start here. While not the best, it’s far ahead of the previous ones. It is accessible to a new audience while not setting your expectations too high. Just don’t boot it up if you have an issue with reptiles or tentacles.