Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper Review
Xbox 360 | PC
Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper box art
System: X360, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Frogwares / Spiders 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Focus Home Interactive 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Apr. 29, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The only downside to Holmes is that the game is a little buggy and looks a tad dated. It's not a terribly big deal, but watching the strange alignments that Holmes' and Watson's character models go through while in survival horror-esque third-person mode (you can switch to first-person at any time for a better view-and easier navigation-of the world around you) is bizarre to watch, like something you'd expect to see in a late nineties PC game that doesn't have all its kinks ironed out.

Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot

The game also looks a little basic on the 360, and while the graphics are sharp and clear, the overly-fast and floaty first-person mode hearkens back to PC games like Thief or Unreal-when early 3D engines didn't quite have a feel for realistic weight yet. Other than being a little strange, this isn't much of a problem, though, and it certainly doesn't hurt the gameplay.

The only other thing that strikes me as odd is how the ESRB let this game get away with a Teen rating. Jack the Ripper's horrific violence against his victims is never seen directly (although I would argue that the truly disgusting gore sound effects in the first scene of the game should almost net a Mature rating on their own), but that doesn't mean this game is for kids. It's unlikely they would be very interested in the cerebral style of gameplay anyway, but the narrative, as was true to life, is filled with all kinds of adult subject matter and sexual themes.

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First and foremost, this is a game about a man who killed prostitutes, but even aside from that, there's a lot of frank talk and plenty of implication about the game's murders (and moreover the gruesome violence Jack the Ripper inflicts on his victims), the sex trade, venereal disease, and other seedy things. Hell, I didn't even know it was possible to say "vagina" in a video game and still get a Teen rating. I'm glad this stuff is in here, because it would be a disservice to the historical events if it weren't, and furthermore, Holmes' adult subject matter is laid out in pretty clinical terms most of the time. But if you're a parent with a teenager that has some interest in criminal psychology or forensics (or is a fan of Conan Doyle's books), just be prepared to explain some of the game's more mature elements.

That said, though, this is a surprisingly good, fun game, and with any luck, will help introduce the world of Sherlock Holmes-in print-to a larger audience.

By Steve Haske
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.6
Graphics
Holmes' visuals are basic, but they get the point across.
4.0
Control
Controls are pretty easy to use-it's more or less a standard survival horror control scheme, minus the tank controls, with a couple of weird layout choices for navigating stored clues and items.
3.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Holmes has a minimal soundtrack, and some sound effects repeat. The voicework is generally superb, particularly Holmes and Watson.
4.0
Play Value
Using logic and brainpower to deduce the facts is great fun, and the game is surprisingly entertaining.
4.0
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Follow the string of real-life murders committed by Jack the Ripper as the world's preeminent literary detective.
  • Alternate between Sherlock Holmes and Watson throughout the investigation.
  • Play in first- or third-person.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot - click to enlarge Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot - click to enlarge Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot - click to enlarge Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot - click to enlarge Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot - click to enlarge Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot - click to enlarge Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot - click to enlarge Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot - click to enlarge Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot - click to enlarge Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot - click to enlarge Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot - click to enlarge Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot - click to enlarge

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