Reviewed: November 6, 2007
Released: April 14, 2008
Last year Frogwares brought one of the most terrifying adventure titles to PC, with the release of Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened. The Awakened was a first for me on two fronts. For one it was the first Sherlock title I had ever played and secondly it was the first fully 3D adventure title I had ever played. Well lucky for most of us adventure loving gamers, Frogwares is at it again with the release of Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis for the PC.
Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis or Sherlock Holmes versus Arsène Lupin to our European friends tells the tale of Sherlock’s endeavor to stop the infamous French gentleman thief from stealing some of England’s most cherished treasures.
If you haven’t guessed in the short time that you’ve been reading this review, I am a big fan of anything Sherlock Holmes. To be quite honest, when I am not reviewing games I can often be found with a book in hand. Along with being a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works, I also have a liking for the works of the renowned French writer Maurice Leblanc, who is known best for his tales involving Arsène Lupin.
The interface of Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis is one of the easiest I’ve ever used. The main in-game screen is completely void as not to obstruct the gorgeous 3D environments. The only thing that shows up is the items in you inventory that show up in the upper right hand corner of the screen when you pick them up or cycle through them. You can cycle though your inventory by using your middle mouse button or the left or right bracket keys on your keyboard.
The information you collect along the way is stored in one of the four categories in your portfolio. These categories include a Document, Inventory, Dialogues, and Notes Tab to choose from to read, inspect of combine items to help you along the way. You can gain access to all this information by hitting the designated hotkeys or by clicking you right mouse button.
Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis operates exactly like its predecessor in pretty much every way. You can either play with the mouse only or use the WASD keys (or whatever works best for you) and the mouse. Just like in the previous title you interact with the environment and the more than 40 unique characters to assist you in your quest to stop Arsène Lupin before he makes a right fool of the whole of England.
One of my favorite things about Nemesis is that this time the caper takes place strictly in the heart of England, or London to be exact. I like this simply because you get to see more of the Baker Street detective’s native surroundings. You also get to explore a few locations in Sherlock’s own neighborhood that you didn’t get to during the last adventure.
By the end of this adventure you will have seen the Tower of London, The British Museum and even Buckingham palace. All of these locations have been painstakingly reproduced for your enjoyment as you race to stop Lupin. My personal favorite in this title is without a doubt the historic Tower of London.
An adventure title wouldn’t be complete without some puzzles to stimulate your brain and trust me Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis has them in spades. Since Lupin is a gentleman thief he invites Sherlock to join in on this little game of cat and mouse to see if the famed detective can stop him. You will quickly find out that Arsène Lupin is no laughing matter as he quickly makes off with the first of the 5 items that he has said that he was going to steal.
The fun begins when Lupin sends a letter under a penname to Sherlock’s home. Contained within the letter is Lupin’s first clue that will eventually lead Sherlock with the aid of Watson, to the item that he wishes to steal. Just like in the previous title, all of the answers to the questions as well as clues are hidden within all the documents you collect and the various locations that you will visit.
I will tell you that Nemesis will take the average gamer a bit longer to beat than the previous title. This is mainly due to the sheer number of riddles left by Lupin. The British Museum level was probably one of the most ingeniously created puzzles I have ever seen in any title I’ve ever played. There are also no “dead-end” moments like the one that I encountered in the last title, which is a major relief.
My favorite part puzzle-wise in Nemesis is without a doubt that ones that take place within the British Museum. Here you must make use of the museum’s library to help figure out what Lupin’s next target is. This was probably one of the longest puzzle sets, next to the Tower of London ones, in Nemesis. However its sheer brilliance in design is what holds my attention and appreciation.
As stated above, I am a big fan of both Sherlock Holmes and Arsène Lupin. Once again the developers at Frogwares find a way to capture the art of true storytelling by blending two legendary characters together in a seamless story.
Graphically Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis is just as stunning as Frogwares’ previous tile. The same attention to detail is back in wonderfully reproduced London locals. The character models are also just as good if not better that those seen in “The Awakened.”
I was particularly pleased with the detail that was put into the interior of The National Gallery. All of the paintings in the Gallery are painstakingly reproduced. Now I’m not sure if all the paintings in Nemesis are real but I do know that several that are seen are very much real. The Ambassadors, The Fighting Temeraire, The Supper at Emmaus, and the famous Virgin of the Rocks can all be seen in the small section of the National Gallery that is open to the player.
Once again the sound department of Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis does not fail to impress. Rick Simmonds returns to portray the famed detective and does the job beautifully. Actually the entire cast is pretty good with the exception of the Prime Minister, his voice just got on my nerves. The musical score to this adventure is a definite change from that heard in the previous title. This time we are presented with an array of classical tunes that did Nemesis justice in so many ways. I particularly liked the familiar tune, which I believe is The Blue Danube, that is heard when you visit Buckingham Palace.
Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis like its predecessor is a masterpiece worth of the names associated with it. It took me about a full day’s time to best this title and I will surely be doing so again. The puzzles this time around are more challenging than ever before and are all cleverly created to keep you involved in this adventure. As most adventure titles go this is pretty a one time through adventure, unless you are like me. Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis retails for around $20 dollars ad is worth every penny.
All in all, I was impressed with Frogwares latest endeavor. I found it more challenging than the previous adventure and I particularly liked being able to see more of the famed detective’s city. The graphics were impressive and the sound was pleasant. Hat’s off once again to developers at Frogwares for delivering another exciting chapter in the Sherlock Holmes series.
If you are a fan of adventure titles or of Sherlock Holmes I highly recommend picking up this title to add to your collection. The game is afoot and you’re in for a battle of the wits.