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Generation: Gamerz Sherlock Holmes Nemesis: Review

Posted by Thomas CigDangle Balistreri, Dec 31, 2008 01:00

{tag [Review]} {tag [PC]}

Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis attempts to be an interesting adventure game in a 3-D world.  Notice I say attempts; I don't think it really accomplished its goal, but read on my dear Watson.

Graphics – 50%
Flat doorknob There is something askew with the graphics in Nemesis, something I can’t quite put my finger on.  Everything just seems to be flat.  Even though the world appears to be quite detailed, the game makes excessive use of textures, often using them in place of three-dimensional modeling.  While this may have passed for acceptable ten years ago, in 2008 it seems like chicanery.

One such example of this is the display of doorknobs.  While the useable doors in a game have rendered, 3-D door knobs, others simply have a texture with a “painted” on knob.  Sherlock Holmes - Nemesis 05While this may seem trivial, it comes off as just plain ugly and lazy.  There are numerous other objects shown in this way, and it really detracts from the game world.  Another knit-pick: mirrors do not reflect.  What is that?  How long have games done this now?

Character models are fair, but their actions appear very stiff and robotic.  The environments are okay, but since you aren’t allowed to explore beyond the very restrictive confines of a mission, it’s hard to appreciate them.

Sound – 30%
Horrible is the best way I can describe the audio.  The voice acting is a notch above badly translated kung fu films.  The music, although fitting, is repetitive and began to lull me to sleep over time.  And thank goodness for volume controls, as the default music level was so over powering it would often drown out dialogue.

{swfremote}http://www.gametrailers.com/remote_wrap.php?umid=225775{/swfremote}

On the topic of volume, while on the inventory screen, there is a sound effect used when switching between it and the other available screens that is so loud and so obnoxious it caused shock waves of pain at the base of my skull.  I would then turn the volume down so as not to suffer the pain further, only to be forced to turn it up later because I couldn’t hear other parts of the game.

Gameplay – 40%
Gameplay is simply aggravating.  There are so many things wrong with it I don’t know where to begin.  Allow me to explain by example.

First, there is the annoying method by which the developers limit exploration of the world.  A character complains that there is nothing of interest in the direction you are heading and you are no longer able to travel in that direction.

{swfremote}http://www.gametrailers.com/remote_wrap.php?umid=225815{/swfremote}

There are a number of other issues as well, but I think this was my “favorite”.  Apparently, the developers didn’t want to be bothered with programming NPCs to follow along, so they…well, I’ll let you see for yourself.

{swfremote}http://www.gametrailers.com/remote_wrap.php?umid=225805{/swfremote}

Notice how Watson just teleports to your side when you turn around?  The first time I saw this, it startled me so that it completely ruined any immersion the game may have accomplished.  Second, although I didn’t mention it in the Sound section above, did you notice there is no footstep noise when I run backwards?

The other elements of gameplay are simply rather dull.  Maybe I’m just not a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fan, but I certainly used to be.  I don’t know if Holmes’ adventures just don’t translate well to the videogame medium, but they certainly didn’t in this attempt.

Cut Scenes/Video – 50%Sherlock Holmes - Nemesis 01
Rendered in-engine, the actors appear just as stiff as they do throughout game play.  One of the annoying attributes is that during some scenes, you cannot walk away from the character.  Thankfully, you can skip some scenes with a simple mouse click.

This was particularly useful when Watson would begin some lengthy diatribe about some nonsense.  If the developers were trying to have players relate to Holmes, they may have achieved it with this.  I felt myself develop the same superficial contempt for Watson that Holmes often displays in the literary adventures.  The good doctor would drone on and on until I verbally wished he would shut up.

Controls/Interface – 95%Sherlock Holmes - Nemesis 03
The one ray of hope in this game is the control and interface.  Simple and intuitive, the HUD is a delight, and sans the obnoxious sound effect mentioned earlier, the interface was nearly perfect.

The controls are completely customizable, but you may not even need to utilize this option as the defaults are very good.  Standard W,A,S,D or cursor keys apply.  Remember this and the I key (for inventory), and you’ve mastered enough to play the entire game.  There are shortcuts to take you directly to the map and other interface utilities, but you needn’t use them.

Summary – 53%
Overall, I nearly regret playing this game.  I had high hopes, as I was once a casual Doyle fan and a lover of adventure games.  Sadly though, I did play this, and learned a valuable lesson: ignorance can be bliss.

 



For more video game reviews on this and many others head to Game Rankings

Our Rating for Generation: Gamerz Sherlock Holmes Nemesis: Review
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