Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper

Posted by: HandsFree

Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper - 06/28/09 04:50 PM

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.
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper - 06/28/09 05:47 PM

Thanks HandsFree, I'm glad you enjoyed it (sort of). Sounds like one to play when you just want some entertainment and not a challenge wave

Of course, "easy" is a relative term lol
Posted by: Mad

Re: Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper - 06/29/09 10:59 AM

Thanks for your review, HandsFree thumbsup

"Of course, "easy" is a relative term "

So true !!!! lol
Posted by: chrissie

Re: Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper - 06/29/09 01:55 PM

Thank you HandsFree for a worthwhile & interesting review!

I'm a person that suffers from motion sickness but not as extremely as some other players! I really appreciated the option to play in 3rd person but I know what you mean about getting lost in that mode! So, I did frequently switch to 1st person on occasions when it was helpful to look around environments & also to get a sense of what was around, but I could only do this for short periods before nausea set in!

I have to disagree that the puzzles don't correlate with the tasks they are linked to - I thought they were all much better integrated than many other games I've played, including the slider puzzle to retrieve an object that has fallen between the floorboards - surely a little imagination & artistic license has to be granted here!

The puzzles may rank amongst the easiest you've seen & I can't disagree that perhaps there was a lot of direction in gameplay, but personally I thought they were challenging enough & you only have to look on the Hints Forum to see that!

I thought it was a nicely balanced game where the story flowed along with the puzzles being the main challenge - if you are used to games like the e.g. Rhem or Myst series type of challenge then it will be a walkover for you! So it's all comparative & according to taste.

But, if you've played it & found it too easy this is good info for other players! thumbsup

Posted by: HandsFree

Re: Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper - 06/29/09 03:52 PM

To put things in perspective: Myst and RHEM are much too difficult for me, and I'm not comparing the game or the puzzles to that type of gameplay.
But I've seen complaints about, for instance, Dracula Origin being too easy. I thought the puzzles there were much harder. So I'm interested to hear what game people think has actual puzzles that are less challenging.

But as I said, I didn't mind so much that the puzzles were easy because I still found them enjoyable.
My point is that the game keeps telling where to go and what to do. No nudges in the right direction (that I also don't want) but full spoilers. That's very unusual, and I would not like that to become the norm. Why not just make spoilers available to who wants them?
Posted by: Mad

Re: Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper - 06/30/09 03:50 AM

It's that age old problem smile

Player's definitions of a "difficult" puzzle will always vary wildly and therefore a developer will never be able to please everyone .... So the same surely goes for the construction of the plot or story ??

Personally I always think the best thing to do is just dive in and "have a go" !!
Sometimes it can be disappointing, yes, but I find that most times I am actually pleasantly surprised at just how much enjoyment I CAN get from all the different game content around thumbsup

And I also think that the resurgence of the Adventure genre has brought us some really good games from some talented new developers thumbsup
Posted by: Volkana

Re: Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper - 07/03/09 07:34 PM

Thank you handsfree for the review. The part which you can choose the mode you can play it's very good and i have to congatulate the makers of the game. It's very important cause now this game can be purchused and played by all. Honestly i wouldn't buy it if it was like the previous one 1st person
Posted by: Sassafras

Re: Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper - 07/04/09 06:57 AM

I absolutely loved this game and thought it was way better than the previous SHs. Although I am a first person player all the way , the option to choose is a great addition.
I have read many many books about Jack the Ripper, and I must say this game was EXACTING to every detail of the murders. The victims, the manner in which they were killed, the crime scenes, and even every single suspect were all factually correct. It's lovely to see how much research went into the game.
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper - 07/05/09 11:04 PM

Sassafras, I think that options is brilliant. I hope all companies pick it up wave
Posted by: Jenny100

Re: Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper - 07/18/09 12:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Sassafras
I absolutely loved this game and thought it was way better than the previous SHs.

I thought so too, and I'm not a fan of Jack the Ripper stories.
It's certainly one of the best games I've played this year.