Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remake – A much better adventure than the first chapter, but does it live up to the original?

I’ll start unreservedly: If anyone among the reviewers is qualified to review Frogwares’ new Sherlock, it’s definitely me :). I already justify. Well, as a Frogwares Szerli, I was solving my first puzzles at the age of 15, when the match was Fri. “Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Silver Earring” (2004). From that moment on, I was completely crazy about the personality and adventures of this extraordinary detective from Baker Street. Then I immersed myself not only in the novels and stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but also in the cinematography from Basil Rathbone to Jeremy Brett to Benedict Cumberbatch. In short – I know a lot about Sherlock and also know whether or not Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is a good game.

Author: Ewelina Stoj

The recently released game Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is actually a remake of the production from 2006, which appeared in Poland a year later under the title Sherlock Holmes: Awakening. Although my favorite version of Sherlock from Frogwares was probably Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper (2009), The Awakening was also remembered positively because of the subject matter. Well, in The Awakened, the great detective had to face Cthulhu himself. So far, the rational world has collided with the fantasy world, which, however, turned out to be good for the series. It was also a bold move because the game offered 3D locations with FPP rendering (previous Sherlocks were classic dots with sprites). However, two years later, a nod was made to existing fans and the release was remastered into one that had the option of playing in the traditional adventure style – that is, an isometric projection was added, while optionally keeping the full 3D model. But enough about the original.

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is a complete remake of the production from 2006, which appeared in Poland under the title Sherlock Holmes: Awakening. The original “beauty” did not captivate, but it was very cool. Is the new version able to offer us something more than just modern graphics and controls?

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remake - A much better adventure than the first chapter, but does it live up to the original? [1]

Route 96: Mile 0 – What’s the 2021 Adventure prequel? Can you still count on annoying interaction and content?

Before Frogwares gave us the current version of The Awakened, they produced some really cool Sherlocks characters, and at the same time they also introduced The Sinking City (my review), which had more to do with puzzle-solving and love-making. The last Sherlocks to be released was the installment with the subtitle Chapter One (2021), which was a kind of reboot of the series (it showed a 21-year-old Holmes in his prime). If, like me, you’re obsessed with 221B Baker Street Detective, you know that the game didn’t necessarily appeal to the masses. And since The Awakened, which debuted this year, was supposed to be a continuation of the first chapter, the main character unfortunately “inherited” her voice and face – two things that annoyed me the most in the first chapter. All because earlier versions of the detective were simply more compelling as Holmes. He had a deep, calm voice and a face that radiated intelligence.

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remake - A much better adventure than the first chapter, but does it live up to the original? [2]

I don’t know about you, but Sherlock like this (Jack the Ripper) appealed to me the most

Well, we’ve already established that “it used to be, now it’s not”, and the new Holmes looks like a powdered dude ;), so it’s time for less criticism and more objectivity. Let’s start with the plot that I’ve only referred to so far. Just like in the original, Sherlock finds a trace of followers of an ancient cult and tries to find out exactly who is behind this cult and why the people around them are disappearing. During the game, which will take us from 8 to 12 hours, we will get to locations known from the original, but of course prepared – for the needs of our time – from scratch, all on the Unreal Engine. Interestingly, and positively, the game also features many locations and side stories that were not in the original. We are talking about the first mission, which is a kind of tutorial.

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remake - A much better adventure than the first chapter, but does it live up to the original? [3]

The gameplay has also undergone specific changes. And it’s not just about modern controls. It’s just that in single missions we encounter solutions that came to the Sherlock series after the premiere of the original version in 2006. For example, we are talking about a mental map and reconstructing the sequence of events based on the collected clues. Classically, there is also a lot of inventory reading and research, and there are also some conversations with side characters, but there is no question of long and boring dialogues. Same with clues and finding a clue – everything is quite clear and if we read the docs well, reasoning won’t give us a migraine. The level of puzzles (environmental, arcade or logic) is not very high, but you can get stuck from time to time, although this is more due to the lack of intuitiveness of a particular puzzle. However, the fact that, unlike the original, there are no time trials or stealth, should make you happy.

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remake - A much better adventure than the first chapter, but does it live up to the original? [4]

Graphically, the new Sherlock is uneven. At times the locations are very nice, artistic, atmospheric and highly detailed, at other times it’s made as if you’re in a hurry – this is especially noticeable in close-ups (pixel textures). The same goes for the side characters. Defined correctly, the voice acting is truly world class, but none of these heroes will stay in our memories for long. It’s very good that Watson is perfectly reproduced in my opinion (voice, look, personality – good old Locon). Indeed, he convinces me more than Holmes himself, that he is not very British. Another thing that can be called uneven is the plot, and at the same time – the locations. After all, it is often the case that when we get to a new location, the story also stops with this change. Although the whole game continues one story, somewhere in the middle it becomes less interesting, and as a result it becomes boring. The background music, which is too ordinary to hear, doesn’t help either.

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remake - A much better adventure than the first chapter, but does it live up to the original? [5]

If you’ve been sufficiently engaged with reading the above paragraphs, you can get the impression that I didn’t like Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened 2023. Well, that’s not entirely true, but it’s not a lie either. The New Awakening is certainly better and more engaging and atmospheric than the first chapter, but those who expected a thick and anxious atmosphere may be a little disappointed. If it’s as good as it is in The Sinking City mentioned earlier, it will be really tasty. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way from the original to the remaster, The Awakened ceases to deliver the overwhelming sense of menace that accompanied us from the first minute of the original. Yes – it’s nicer and more exciting now, but in the end I get the impression that Frogwares (consciously or not) has followed the path of Western overreach of form over content too much, missing out on what has been the best in Sherlock thus far.

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Remake - A much better adventure than the first chapter, but does it live up to the original? [6]

As you probably know, the Frogwares studio is a Ukrainian developer (their headquarters is in Kiev), so it should be borne in mind that creating any game (especially a good one) when the country is at war is not easy (and there is nothing like that then). ). Whether or not this argument is strong, however, I will let each person judge individually, and will summarize this quick review as follows: The new Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is a good medium, with which to spend a few pleasantly free evenings. This is a game for people who like to rack their brains, but who do not expect extraordinary nerve impulses. A game for people who remember Frogwares’ achievements particularly well, but by no means a game that deserves to be called a gem. Well…we have to hope that one day the war will end and Frogwares will finally give us the Holmes we’ve been waiting for years. Note: There is also the possibility that I live in nostalgia which is why I find The New Awakening to be worse than someone who didn’t deal with the previous installments of the series.

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