I 'won' a free copy of Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper in the GameBoomers giveaway, so here are my thoughts.
First off, my laptop does not meet the minimum requirements for the game, and I was prepared to put this on my wait-for-a-new-pc pile.
I played the original Awakened on it, and it was almost impossible to finish as that game was just too much for my system.
But surprisingly, Jack the Ripper not only looks much better, it also performs better. I had no problems at all running it on my low-end laptop.
It has been well advertised that you can choose to play in 1st or 3rd person view. Of course it's always good to have a choice and I started playing in 3rd person. But just walking around the Baker Street appartment got me lost immediately because the camera angles kept changing. So I quickly changed to 1st person and played the complete game in that mode.
I didn't suffer motion sickness in The Awakened, but I could see why others did. In Jack the Ripper the waviness is much less, so if that's the only reason to avoid 1st person, you may want to try it again here. I don't understand how that's possible while at the same time being easier on the hardware, but Frogwares did it.
There are three very different sides to this game, and I came to think of them as adventure-mode, puzzle-mode and Holmes-mode.
This time there's no long and twisting story, no change of scenery, trips abroad or even outside of London. After the introduction you head off to Whitechapel and that's where you will be doing most of your legwork. This makes for a great sense of focus and immersion.
I'm not sure if 'beautiful' is the right word here, but the dreary Whitechapel area is recreated very impressive, graphically. Don't know how it compares to the real thing at the time, but it seems very plausible to me.
Here you gather information mainly by talking and walking and performing standard AG tasks.
If here you encounter any kind of problem, the game switches to puzzle mode.
An actual task is replaced by a stand alone (mostly) logic puzzle.
There are a lot of those puzzles and I found them enjoyable if short and easy.
The strange thing is that the puzzles don't correlate at all with the tasks they are linked to.
If you have to retrieve an object that has fallen between the floorboards, you solve a kind of slider puzzle, and as a reward you suddenly have the object.
I like puzzles and didn't mind this. But if you value 'well integrated puzzles'...
I have to be careful because there are a few threads on this in the hints section, but I'd say the puzzles are about the easiest I've seen in adventure games.
At certain points you'll be adviced to return to Baker Street, Holmes-mode kicks in and it's time for some good old Holmesian deduction. You need to extract conclusions from all your evidence and the game provides a few very clever interfaces for this.
You don't need to type any answers (as in The Awakened), so when the logic wasn't clear to me, clicking around a bit always got me there. Amazing how much information can be hidden in a limited number of facts.
And all the time I was wondering how Frogwares would get away with a fictional detective working on an actual unsolved murdercase.
I have no knowledge about the actual killings, so I don't know what part of the game is fiction, but I thought the ending was completely convincing.
Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper would be straight in my personal top 10, if.
If only this wasn't hands down the easiest game I ever played.
Every time you finish a task, the game tells you where to go next and/or what to do next. Sometimes even when you pick up an item, the game immediately tells you what you need to do with it. It's like playing the game while reading a walkthrough. I wanted to switch off the sound and turn my head every time I got that unwanted and unasked help.
I'm all for diversity; there should be easy games as well as difficult ones. But to make a game about a genius detective, famous for his brainpower, so insultingly easy, that's just weird.
And there's no need. It must be possible to hide these spoilers under a hint button or to make them available in an 'easy' mode, or something.
Frogwares added 3rd person view to the Awakened, I hope we will see a version of SH vs Jack the Ripper that hides all the spoilers and makes the player do the thinking, instead of just watching Holmes be brilliant.
The Bass is the basis