But too much of Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper has been drawn out with conventional adventure quests. In between murders, Holmes and Watson roam all over gloomy Whitechapel attempting to run down suspects and keep up with the police investigation. Most of these actions are eerie, due to the shadowy alleys and streets of the impoverished London district you patrol. Pleasing character art along with a great script and impressive voice acting that bring to life Holmes, Watson, and a cast of Victorian lowlifes really help to sell the atmosphere as well. Unfortunately, none of these things do much for the quests themselves, which are almost universally routine errands where you do odd jobs for people to gain their help. Most of these tasks are linked through a few characters in Whitechapel, which makes them seem artificial, in complete contrast to the nitty-gritty of the actual murder investigations. When you need the help of a cop to get a look at official police reports, for instance, he asks you to first regain a lost folder of documents. Then, when you track down the folder, the person who assists you asks for something in return. And so on. You spend far more time playing Good Samaritan in Whitechapel than you do hunting Jack the Ripper. Puzzles are also typical for a traditional adventure. You piece together torn-up notes, assemble objects, and take on sliding-block challenges. Most are reasonably tough and entertaining, though again, they don't quite fit with the much more interesting murder-scene investigations.
The gruesome inspection of murder victims is the most involving part of your investigations.
Some bugs also interfere with Sherlock's sleuthing. The game doesn't seem to handle PhysX properly on installation, causing crashes on startup until you manually install these drivers. We had to download the PhysX drivers from Nvidia before we could get past the opening menu screens. A couple of crashes to the desktop took place after that, both when trying to save the game after finishing particularly lengthy puzzles. And the gas-fitting puzzle where you weld pipes to stop a gas leak took forever to register as complete, even though all of the correct steps were taken. Loading an old save was the only way to get the game to register that the problem was solved.
Your enjoyment of Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper likely depends on how much you appreciate story over substance. Anyone who has read about the serial killer's gruesome crimes will find it just about impossible to put down the retelling of this dark era of London's history. At times, it really feels like you've stepped into the Jack the Ripper investigation. But anyone who favors innovative adventure gaming might find that the quests and puzzles are a little too orthodox.
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