Sherlock left the sunny Cordona and finally settled in London, changed the imaginary John to the real one, and took up his favorite business. Recently, however, there has been trouble with decent mysteries, so the great detective suffers from boredom and literally invents assassination attempts and conspiracies on the same spot. However, Sherlock will not be bored for long: the trivial, at first glance, investigation of the case of the disappearance of the servant will very quickly turn into a hunt for the cult of the ancient gods on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Game Sherlock Holmes The Awakened
Genre Adventure
Platforms Windows / MacOS / PlayStation 4 / PlayStation 5 / Xbox One / Xbox Series X/S / Nintendo Switch
Developer Frogwares
Publisher Frogwares
Link PlayStation Store, Steam, Epic Games Store

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened is a direct sequel to Chapter One and at the same time a remake of the game of the same name by Frogwares, created in just one year under the extreme conditions of a full-scale war. The Kyiv studio, despite everything, did a titanic job and gave players a wonderful detective with Lovecraftian motifs, although in some places they had to cut corners.

The original The Awakened was a shining example of the genre and one of Frogwares’ best games, thanks to its interesting puzzles and an unexpectedly organic mix of Cthulhu mythology and the works of Conan Doyle. The remake makes some adjustments to the already familiar story, modernizing it and adding drama, but without radically changing the plot, and updates the game mechanics. In general, The Awakened is played in exactly the same way as any of the last parts of the series: it is a similar investigation of the crime scene with pixel hunting, collecting evidence, reconstructing the course of events in the imagination of the detective, searching for data in the archives and forming conclusions based on the obtained information. But there are also differences caused both by the specifics of the storyline and the banal economy.

For example, instead of a number of separate cases, Holmes and Watson will have to investigate crimes connected by a single storyline, which, on the one hand, adds integrity to the game and improves perception, and on the other, Holmes can no longer make a mistake with the conclusions, because the player must solve the case correctly in order to progress further along the plot. As a result, the analysis of the interlocutor’s portrait now plays almost no role: a maximum of a few lines will change from your choice, but the plot lines lead the detective forward and do not allow him to turn aside. The same applies to the process of making accusations – in the dialogue you need to choose three correct sentences in a row, and in case of a mistake, you simply start the conversation over and receive fewer bonus points, for which rewards such as a new suit are issued. These, by the way, are now purely cosmetic, because in the game there is no need to disguise yourself according to the circumstances in order to get important information from NPCs. Considering the compactness of the local locations, the loss is insignificant, and there is one episode with disguise in the game. But what I personally won’t miss the action scenes: they always looked a little weird, so let them remain a thing of the past until the developers figure out how to improve them. The only serious complaint I have is with the final episode when playing as Sherlock, in which you need to choose the correct answers in the dialogue, while neither Holmes nor, accordingly, the player knows them, and the wrong answer leads to a loss and a restart of the game segment. Frankly, not the best decision. Maybe if Frogwares had more time and resources, they’d come up with a more interesting way to beat all these moments, but we get it. But now we often play for Watson, who has turned from a passive observer into a full-fledged member of the team: for example, Holmes usually leaves to the doctor the examination of the dead and certain experiments, which looks quite logical.

In general, the game now consists of walking through locations – wonderful, by the way, here you can find gloomy London, a mental hospital in the Alps, and Louisiana, detective episodes, several minigames, and periodic mystical visions of Holmes, who again begins to go a little crazy. Sherlock Holmes The Awakened is completed in 9-12 hours and there’s no time to get bored, despite the certain repetition of game mechanics. However, a beginner may need a little more time, because the game does not try to lead the player by the hand and tell them what to do next. The fact that it’s up to you to successfully solve the puzzles is great, but in almost every chapter I had an episode where I didn’t know what to do next, something that hasn’t happened with Frogwares games before. Sometimes the reason was my inattention, but sometimes it could be the illogicality of the next steps or the banal failure of the triggers. For example, in one case it was obvious that I needed to put a certain item in a certain place, but the activation zone just didn’t appear until I had made several circles around the cave. Not fatal, but annoying because it’s not clear if you missed something or if you just need to look at potential interaction sites from the right angle.

The picture has not changed since Chapter One, there are still the same picturesque locations, the shortcomings of which are hidden by the competent use of lighting, and mediocre facial animation. You will also definitely notice that the developers tried to reuse assets from previous games as much as possible, but otherwise, it would simply not have been possible to make the game in such a record time.

Like all recent Frogwares games, The Awakened has a text-based Ukrainian localization, which this time came out a little raw. There are typos, examples of incorrect translation, and simply strange localization solutions – a boy from Nepal addresses Sherlock in English, and in the subtitles, he apologizes for his bad Ukrainian. There is a meme about bavovna on the sunken ship Moskva, which “must have been from the East”, and references to the uprising in Ukraine against the empire, which is not surprising, because Frogwares are known for their pro-Ukrainian position.

In general, Sherlock Holmes The Awakened deserves attention, especially if Chapter One seemed too long to you – here everything is quite concise, without fillers and aimless wandering around the neighborhood. Sure, there’s a sense of Sherlock Holmes lite, but let’s be honest: it’s a wonder the developers managed to release this game at all amid constant air strikes and electrical problems, and the only technical issues I encountered were two crashes to desktop and triggers that don’t always work the first time. I can only hope that everything will work out with the next game, most likely we will have horror in the open world and Sherlock will have to rest a bit.