Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, a title that may sound familiar if you were playing adventure games about fifteen years ago, has been given a fresh coat of paint with this 2023 remake by Frogwares, who despite the situation Ukraine managed to deliver an impressive reimagining of the original game. With a unique blend of classic detective work and Lovecraftian horror, they’ve done a commendable job of modernizing the game while maintaining its core mechanics and atmosphere for longtime fans. We checked it out on a PlayStation 5.
One of the most notable changes in this remake, as you’d expect, is the update that the graphics were given. The game looks beautiful, with detailed environments and character models that are much more lifelike than in the original release. The Lovecraftian horrors that Holmes and Watson encounter are truly terrifying, and the game’s dark, moody atmosphere is perfectly captured in the updated visuals. If you played Frogwares’ The Sinking City, you’ll feel similar vibes here at times.
Those vibes also translate to the sound design, which is top-notch, with haunting music and sound effects that perfectly complement the game’s horror elements and atmosphere. The voice acting is also excellent, with the voice actors bringing the characters to life in a way that feels authentic and believable.
In addition to an audiovisual boost, the gameplay mechanics have also been updated and improved in this remake. Players will still be tasked with investigating crime scenes, gathering clues, and interrogating suspects, but now these tasks are more intuitive and streamlined than ever before. The game also features a few new mechanics, such as a deduction board that allows players to piece together clues and draw conclusions about the case. Again, something we’ve seen in other more recent games, but it works well.
However, there are a few negatives to note. The game’s pacing can be a bit slow at times, with long periods of investigation and dialogue that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Additionally, some of the game’s puzzles can be frustratingly difficult or feel obscure, and the lack of a hint system may leave some players feeling stuck if they don’t search for some hints online.
It’s worth noting that this is a remake of a game that was originally released almost two decades ago, so that accounts for why some players will find the game’s mechanics and pacing to feel a little dated. However, the updated graphics, sound design, and gameplay mechanics go a long way in making this a fresh and enjoyable experience for both new and old fans of the franchise, and make this iteration of The Awakened feel less like a PC adventure game and more streamlined.
All in all, Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is an excellent remake that does justice to the original game while also improving on it in several ways. The game’s unique blend of classic detective work and Lovecraftian horror is still as captivating as ever, and the updated graphics and sound design truly bring the game’s world to life. While the game’s pacing and difficulty may not be for everyone, fans of the franchise and newcomers alike will find plenty to enjoy in this updated version, which is a good example of Frogwares putting some of their expertise from recent games on display yet again.