Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders review (PS4)

Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders brings the classic detective story to current generation consoles and PCs. We review the PS4 version.

Remember how the recent-ish Sherlock Holmes movies (with the exception of Mr. Holmes) felt more like an action adventure than a detective story? For fans of the classic Arthur Conan Doyle novels this could have been a disappointment, since old fashioned crime mysteries are few and far between these days. Luckily, The ABC Murders, an adaptation of the classic novel by Agatha Christie, stays true to its roots.

Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders, as it’s fully called, is available now on PS4, PC and Xbox One. Those with a pretty decent memory for not-so-well-known games might remember a game by the same title being released for the Nintendo DS, but although there are similarities this game was built anew from the ground up.

Presented with pleasant high definition cartoon-like visuals, The ABC Murders looks most like a classic PC adventure – the point and click kind. For part of the experience, it plays like one too – making this somewhat of a unique choice for console owners. If I had to pinpoint the genre with more accuracy, I’d say this is a blend between the classic PC adventures and the Professor Layton games – fusing your hunt for clues and conversations with the occasional puzzle.

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Over the course of the game, you’ll have three cases to solve before you get to the heart of the mystery and find out what connects them all – besides the serial killer that taunts you as he keeps eluding you. For those not familiar with Agatha Christie and her character Poirot – you assume the role of Belgian detective Poirot and travel England sporting a heavy French accent. Taking place in the early years of the 20th century, the locales you’ll explore look very “classic novel”-like indeed.

Some of the puzzles feel a tad random and tacked on, but they work well for fans of the Professor Layton genre who also prefer games that lean more towards the adventure side of the spectrum. Conversation choices never seem that impactful, but the quality of the writing is – partly on account of the source material – excellent. It’s the overall story that really shines through though – deciphering clues and making connections feels like fun, and getting it right is a satisfying experience. Without spoiling anything, the twist at the end is especially clever.

As an adventure game, The ABC Murders doesn’t manage to stand out from the crowd – and it doesn’t as a casual puzzler either, for the Professor Layton games have better puzzles. The graphics are appealing, but lacking in animation and with mediocre voice acting to go with it. Elevating the package well beyond being average, however, is the central plot and the storytelling. If you were hoping for an interactive detective story… it’s finally here.

Score: 7.0/10

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