SHERLOCK HOLMES: CHAPTER ONE
Brilliant, eccentric and extraordinarily charismatic, Sherlock Holmes is rightfully considered one of the greatest literary heroes of all times and peoples – it is not without reason that every new fictional detective sooner or later begins to be compared with the legendary occupant of 221 Baker Street.
But here’s the paradox: although the character has been with us for more than a hundred years, and even schoolchildren know his adventures by heart, the detective’s early life is still shrouded in a veil of secrecy. What events shaped the image of Holmes? What tragedies hardened his character, where did he spend his youth and why does he have such a strained relationship with his own brother Mycroft? Filmmakers and writers have already tried to answer these questions, and now the scriptwriters of Frogwares have come to shed light on these and many other blind spots in the biography. However, as Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One vividly demonstrated, some skeletons are better off staying in the closet.
young and early
Second half of the 19th century. Somewhere in the expanses of the Mediterranean Sea, Cordona rests quietly and peacefully – from all sides an inconspicuous island under the control of the British Empire. A luxurious resort for the cream of European society and a suffocating hell for local hard workers, this piece of land has seen many bizarre stories – tragic ones as well.
For example, it was here that Lady Violet, an aristocrat, a collector of antiquities and part-time loving mother of Sherlock Holmes, found her last refuge. Her untimely death from tuberculosis in April 1869 made an indelible impression on the boy, and for many years he came to his senses after the loss. Having matured, Sherlock decides to go to his small homeland to say goodbye to a gloomy past – but instead of peace of mind, the youngster and his friend John (not Watson) fall into a whirlpool of lies and strange, sometimes inexplicable contradictions. What secrets does the family mansion that has fallen into disrepair hide, and what was the childhood of the great detective really like?
Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One Review
Some projects intrigue with just one idea. An interactive drama presented absolutely without words; a comic book western with a sleepwalking narrator; a car action game in which you can move from car to car at the wave of your hand – as practice has shown more than once, an ingenious approach can turn completely ordinary-looking releases into amazing, memorable works. The new release of Sherlock Holmes at first also pulls to write in these ranks.
Such a strange thought does not come to mind right away, because Chapter One is a little deceptive. Its gameplay, like its presentation, is familiar, almost routine by the standards of the series: here is the mystery, here is the crime scene, and now collect the evidence until the picture of events settles almost by itself in the bright British head. There is a city, there is an action game that boils down to clumsy shooting and QTE, the need to make difficult moral choices here and there … It’s somehow pointless to describe what is happening in detail: it’s enough to open a preview or look at an excerpt of any of the previous parts on YouTube to understand which kind of attractions developers have prepared for the viewer for the next 15-20 hours.
The main innovation is unusual action scenes, during which Sherlock fights waves of faceless ragamuffins in a small arena. Villains, by the way, can not be killed, but arrested, which is nice.
However, all this is nothing more than a facade, a tribute to the adventure format, if you like. Let the crimes one more disgusting than the other turn out to be in the center of events every now and then, they always play second fiddle to the old psychological trauma that life “rewarded” Holmes 11 years ago. You don’t feel the catch right away, but as soon as you get to that very mansion, it suddenly dawns on you: Chapter One is not at all a thriller about the first exploits of the legend a la Batman Begins, and not even a Victorian detective in the spirit of previous releases of the series. This is nothing less than a psychological indie drama, a sort of Gone Home based on the prose of Arthur Conan Doyle (Arthur Conan Doyle).
The protagonist returns home after a long absence, explores an empty mansion, digs into old things and notes, finds out the background of tragic events that he is not able to influence – similarities (obviously non-random) are immediately evident, and get rid of the growing snowball of associations fails until the very end. But Frogwares, of course, could not just copy the findings of Fullbright and decided to go further, choosing not one dilapidated house as a platform for psychotherapy, but an island full of secrets and dangers. Cordona, according to the developers’ idea, is like a mirror of the main character’s soul: ruins and alleys hide memories from childhood, give context to what is happening in the present, reveal the image of an enigmatic character, filling the streets with some kind of story along the way. “An open world with meaning” sounds proud, but that’s exactly what the author’s pitch sounded like.