A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper carries a "Teen" rating it may not be appropriate for younger teens. With the exception of the first murder, no killings are shown on screen, but the aftermaths of brutally vicious homicides are not only seen, but seen in close detail. Corpses in blood puddles, with bloated tongues and slashed throats must be pored over with a magnifying glass. Also, prostitution -- a key element of the Ripper story -- is a constant presence in the game. Alcohol and tobacco feature prominently as well.
What's it about?
The title of SHERLOCK HOLMES VS. JACK THE RIPPER pretty much tells you what the game is about. It takes the historically accurate settings and events of the real Jack the Ripper serial murder case and imagines what may have happened if fictional sleuth Holmes were there to investigate. You'll switch back and forth between Holmes and his sidekick, Dr. Watson, interviewing suspects, scouting for clues, and examining crime scenes. Many mini-mysteries will hit you along the way, as almost everyone who has information to provide wants some problem solved for them before they're willing to talk. There's a unique system, which feels very Holmsian, for deducing what happened at each crime scene. Once all the clues have been picked up, you'll literally shuffle them around on note cards, figuring out which connect to one another and what conclusions can be drawn from those connections.
Is it any good?
Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper stands out as a different and original mystery game, thanks in large part to its realistic note card system of organizing clues. You look at the things you've learned, line them up, and deduce what comes next -- it's deductive thinking at its purest. The story itself is very engaging and will truly leave you guessing. The voice acting is (mostly) well done and there's a nicely created atmosphere of fog and dread. The many different methods for finding clues -- suspect interviews, magnifying glass inspections, crime re-enactments, and walking around looking at things -- keep you from ever losing interest.
Mature mystery lovers should enjoy and appreciate this deep, nuanced, and intellectually challenging game. It's a shame that developers watered down some aspects of it in order (I assume) to avoid an "M" rating, especially since the game still feels too disturbing for younger teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in the game. Can examining a murder scene be as emotionally jarring as seeing the murder? Or are you able to detach yourself emotionally? And if so, is that a good thing?
Jack the Ripper has been used as a villain in movies, books, and video games for ages. But he was a real person who committed real murders. How does this affect your view of this game?
How are women portrayed in the game? Is there anything sympathetic, honorable, or noble in any of the female characters?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.