Review | Sherlock Holmes The Awakened

Originally published at: Review | Sherlock Holmes The Awakened - XboxEra

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened is a full remake of the 2007 PC-only release by Frogwares.  Built from the ground up with all-new graphics, writing, voice acting, and gameplay this has been a labor of love for the Ukranian team during a time of incredible hardship. You are a young Sherlock Holmes, working on a terrifying mystery alongside your friend and colleague, John Watson. From London to Europe, and across the Ocean you will chase down a case both complex and rife with a seeming ancient evil.  It’s Sherlock meets Lovecraft, and it’s a lovingly crafted mix of fun and frustration.

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The game starts off with Holmes bored in his apartment.  He has no case, and his mind is full of frustration.  This is a much younger version of the character than you typically see in Frogware’s more recent Sherlock Holmes titles. Dr. Watson has a client whose servant has gone missing, and things quickly escalate. As always I’ll do my best to spoil as little as possible. There is a lot of H.P. Lovecraft in this game, and it works well. Holmes is a grounded character, who refuses to believe in the supernatural.  Having him potentially face a cosmic horror like this is rife with storytelling opportunities.

The Awakened is a Detective game, through and through.  There is little to no action, instead, you’ll use your journal to piece together what you should do in each new area. There is a “How to Play” section that lets you know what each icon in your casebook means.  Make sure to check these often as they clue you in on how to proceed in each area.  Those areas, no matter how big they look, are all very small. This is a modern version of an old game, and the map sizes are surprisingly slim compared to the modern Sherlock titles.

Your main gameplay mechanics revolve around pinning clues so that you can interact with or focus on specific spots.  Pressing left bumper will send a circular pulse out from your character, highlighting any interactable items with a small yellow or white circle. You might think “Well I was told I need a key, and here is one hanging up.  Why can’t I interact with it?”  You often need to pin the evidence about needing a key first in the menu before you can interact with certain clues. Once you have enough evidence you’ll use the Mind Palace system to match clues together to come to conclusions. That is the heart of the game, find clues, figure out what happened, rinse and repeat.

The other main mechanic comes in the form of using your right bumper to activate concentration.  This puts a green filter over the screen and allows Holmes to deduce what certain environmental clues may mean. You’ll know when to use this ability as small ghostly-green splotches will float in mid-air.  Often these environmental deductions will trigger a sequence where you’ll have to determine exactly how an event occurred.  Once you have interacted with every object and found every concentration point you’ll need to try and put them in the correct order.  It’s a lot of fun and if you make sure to check the icons in your journal it makes logical sense.  That’s not always the case though.


My main complaint with the game was how often I felt clueless about what to do next.  My journal had no more icons in it to indicate where I should go, and instead, I had to run from room to room hoping I missed an interactable object.  This didn’t happen a few times, it was dozens.  This isn’t a long title, and the areas are rarely large, so becoming lost as often as I did was immensely frustrating.  All the more so because I enjoyed the hell out of the story and gameplay when I did know what to do.  The map system is nigh on useless, as it gives you zero indicator on where you are, and instead is there to act as a fast travel hub when needed.

This game is not online so it works well with Quick Resume, but fair warning, if you quit mid-case it can be damned tricky to pick up where you left off.  It happened a few times when I rejoined a segment and immediately realized that I had no clue where to go next because I had forgotten the exact layout of the area.  There is a nice variety of biomes in the game as you travel countries multiple times.  Graphically it isn’t spectacular looking, but compared to the original 2007 release it’s a massive improvement.  Characters tend to have dead eyes, and the animations can be stiff, still, a solid art style and an occasionally scary bit of horror keep things lively.

The voice work is damned good as well, with an excellent job from Holmes and Watson in particular.  There are a few child characters seemingly voiced by children as well.  I’ve grown so used to middle-aged women doing every kid’s voice in a game that it was jarring at first but welcome.  The music and sound effects help transport you to the period well, even if they aren’t particularly memorable.  I ran into one constant bug while playing, and that had to do with falling from elevations.  Multiple times Holmes got trapped in a loop of perpetually falling, mostly in hallucinations where there were bottomless pits.  A few times I had to wait for minutes as I held the stick forward hoping he would move just enough to get off the tiny bit of rock he was stuck on and fall off the edge of a cliff (which only results in resetting your location).

Wrapping Things Up

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened does what a good remake should, and remakes the entire game.  New graphics, gameplay, story elements, dialogue, and more all work to bring together an experience any fan of detective-focused gameplay will love.  It has some issues with signposting and movement bugs, but if you love Sherlock Holmes then this is a trip worth taking.


Thanks for the review. That sounds like a good remake for a decent price. Never played the original, so this is very nice for a big fan of Sherlock Holmes (and detective games) like me.

Did you play the extra side quests/cases in the Deluxe edition? Are they worth 10 bucks?


if you’re into it I think they are


Hope they remake the Jack the Ripper entry of this series, would love that.

Thanks for the review Ill pick this one up.


Good review, putting this on my wishlist. :+1: