This adventure game manages to present a great story that gets limited by frustrating controls and puzzles. It's been nearly 130 years since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first introduced readers to the world's greatest investigative mind with Sherlock Holmes. Since then, the character has taken on a life of his own, through a variety of books, films, plays, and, yes, even video games. In Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter, gamers once again try to live up to the fictional detective's legendary sense of deduction. It's not only the players who are trying to live up to the Holmes legacy; the game has a lot to measure up to as well. Even with so many interpretations of the character and so many games in the mystery genre, The Devil's Daughter has the potential to stand out in the crowd. Whether or not it lives up to that potential, though, is a bit of a mixed bag.
If you have a game based on a classic literary character, especially one as well known as Sherlock Holmes, you'd better be sure it's got a great story. Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter has that in spades. The overall story, focusing on family secrets and Sherlock's adoptive daughter, has a deep plot and seamlessly threads together seemingly unconnected events in a way that would do Doyle proud. The problem lies in the actual gameplay elements. For starters, more than a few of the puzzles and mini-games are more frustrating than they are entertaining, due in no small part to sluggish controls. While it's possible to skip many puzzles, that sort of defeats the point of it being a game. And while it's fun to gather all the clues you think you need and come up with your own plausible deduction, it's extremely frustrating if you happen to miss one small moment to interrupt a witness or overlook one random clue. You don't usually discover your mistake until late in the game, which is too late to make any changes. Sure, your initial idea might be perfectly valid given what you know, but you're still wrong even if you don't know why. For Sherlock Holmes it might be elementary, but for the rest of us, it's simply maddening.