The Awakening was remastered to address the first person movement problems by adding a third person point and click interface. For that effort we have to give credit to Frogwares. How did they do? Pretty darn good overall and they included the option to switch between the two formats. There was at least two times when you could not get things done in third person and were forced to resort to using first person. However, a few times once you were in first person the game did not give you the opportunity to switch back. That may or may not have been a glitch in my copy. It is best to save before making the change so you have a back up just in case. More on that later.Mechanics
It is a typical point and click interface without need to resort to any key board keys save one time where you need to crouch by using the control key. This was limited to only one area of the game. I had forgotten to crouch walking upright into the room and still the guard did not see me. So this is not Broken Sword crouching by any means. The inventory screen is activated by right clicking your mouse and clicking a second time to close it. You have the inventory, note book, documents and read items such as letters in that screen. Puzzles are mostly inventory based with no timed sequences, no mazes unless you count the swamp as that could be considered a maze. There are a few riddles which Holmes labels test. You will be asked a question from time to time where you get a keyboard on the screen and you respond by clicking on the letters to spell out your mostly one word answers. The answers of course are based upon what Holmes or Watson discovered along the way. The escape key brings up your options, save, load exit and so on. More good news is the game most of the time is alt/tab friendly. Once every six or seven times it would not respond to that action forcing you to exit the game, if you were in need of a wt or something else. You can also use keyboard commands such as I for inventory etc. There is also an option to assign your own choice of keys for various shortcuts. Double clicking will establish running for the character. You switch back and forth between Holmes and Watson several times through the game. By default speech is printed along the bottom of the screen and you can click through speech if you heard it all before. Voice acting is quite good with no annoying characters, well, perhaps one who is just overacting. That character is limited to two one minute sermons so it is tolerable. Save games from the first person only version will not work in the Remastered version. So don't drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what is wrong with your machine. They are not compatible. As I indicated above, twice I had to switch into first person once because,
the game would not allow you to approach a balcony railing and view a fountain on the ground. You were required to lay a ladder over the railing to land on a fountain. In order to react with the location first person view was the only avenue where you could gain a line of sight.
Graphics & Interactions
was in the swamp because the detail was so poorly defined and you were unable to look up in third person.
The graphics are excellent except in regard to pixel hunting and there are several places where it becomes down right infuriating. In the swamp the detail is fuzzy and I spent three hours searching a tree for an object. One where without it the game becomes a dead end. After three hours I finally gave up asking for a saved game which MaG quickly provided. Also when examining things on the ground like footprints it is not uncommon to have to drag that magnifying glass over the same area a hundred times before you hit the solitary pixel that triggers the reaction. The same thing occurs while trying to use the tape measure on those elusive footprints. You may have to run that tape over the print several times before the trigger fires. I had to check MaG's walk through several times to verify this was the right spot. It would be easy to decide there was nothing interactive there. But we all know when MaG says measure the footprint she is not making it up. Those are the infuriating issues that prevent me from placing this game on the top shelf. It is one thing to require a player to puzzle things out by laying out those footprints challenging the player to decide to look, measure, feel etc. That makes a decent puzzle, but when you limit the trigger area for the appropriate response that is just unfair and infuriating. Beyond those small percentage of the game issues it is a fun play. As I said the voice acting is decent, the story fairly detailed while characters are rather blocky in regard to supporting characters. Often you will see an arm move using an object not remotely close to where it is being used. I would encourage any gamer to give this one a play as long as those little uglies don't cause you to implode. Walking around can be problematic as Holmes likes to wander in spite of your persistent clicking and shouting, "go here idiot!" There is a user friendly map that allows instant beaming to a spot. Limited in some places but none the less it is a very welcome and useful tool. The game is fairly linear by not letting you to leave a region before you have completed what you must do. I have no objection to that as finding out you missed something several chapters back is no fun. Story
This is a well rounded in depth story with lots to do and considerable area to explore. You start out in London switch to Switzerland then visit New Orleans and finally Scotland with a few in between visits to 221B Baker Street. Why do you do this? Because you are on the heels of a lunatic fringe group that is trying to bring back a demonic entity to devour the word. It is quite dark and often gory. Not for the squeamish or those offended by graphic violence. But as typical in Sherlock Holmes games the ending is complete with Sherlock explaining what happened to an often confused Watson. This is quite a long game by present standards with nothing thrown in to artificially lengthen a game. I would rate this game a bit below top shelf simply because of the infuriating pixel hunting. Had that not been there I'd agree this would be a great game. But it is not. Though well worth your time and far better than most. This is not the first Sherlock Holmes game I have played. So I knew what to expect in regard to character rendition of Holmes and Watson. They are quite good. But they fall short of the on screen players in those old black and white movies. When the characters have been definitively portrayed in a series of 14 movies by actors, Basil Rathburn and Nigel Bruce everything else seems to pale because they were Holmes and Watson. We do have to commend Frogwares for listening to customer complaints about dizzying floating camera angles, confused orientation and motion sickness. All of that is missing from the third person perspective they included in this remastered release. This is a decided improvement and a well done effort.