The Testament of Sherlock Holmes

Game review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
The Testament of Sherlock Holmes Game Poster Image
Compelling but gory adventure for mature mystery lovers.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

While elements of The Testament of Sherlock Holmes focus on deductive reasoning and math skills, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

Positive Messages

Holmes's actions demonstrate the philosophy that the ends justifies the means, as he uses morally questionable tactics in the name of solving the case. These include illegally entering and searching private premises without a search warrant, deliberately making someone sick to create a diversion, and manipulating Watson. The rift that this dubious behavior causes between Holmes and Watson is one of the game's key themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Holmes has always been a morally ambiguous role model in this particular series, and Testament takes it to new extremes. Holmes' apparently cold and manipulative behavior threatens to completely alienate Dr. Watson, who, by contrast, comes across as compassionate and law-abiding.

Ease of Play

Players need to solve several mind-bending mini-games and logic puzzles over the course of the case. The puzzles are quite challenging, but never unfairly so. There is no Skip button, so players may become stuck.

Violence

There is plenty of blood, gore, and violence throughout, although players never enact it themselves. Players will see the dead, mutilated bodies of both humans and animals. Players must examine the bodies for clues, and in some cases perform full autopsies that include peeling back skin and making incisions. Cutscenes depict various character deaths by falling, explosion, and in one shown in slow motion, a gunshot to the head. Players experience a savage beating from a first-person perspective.

Sex

Occasional references to prostitution. The wall of the morgue contains an anatomical drawing of an adult male.

Language

Occasional uses of "hell" and "damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There are passing references to Holmes' use of cocaine, tobacco, and heroin. Part of the game takes place in an opium den, where players see and interact with opium balls and opium smoking paraphernalia. There are references to cigars, cigarettes, and tobacco pipes, but characters are never actually seen smoking. In Whitechapel, players will see drunks passed out holding whiskey bottles or staggering around.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Testament of Sherlock Holmes carries a "Mature" rating and is not intended for players younger than 17. There is plenty of blood and gore, including several mutilated corpses (which players must examine for clues), assault victims with bloody faces, and a cutscene of a man shooting himself in the head. Players explore the poorest parts of London, where they will see rampant poverty, starvation, and homelessness as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
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Adult Written byGenrick_gofman December 18, 2012

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What's it about?

In THE TESTAMENT OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, the famous Baker St. detective himself becomes the prime suspect in a string of gruesome murders involving a potent poison. As evidence mounts against Holmes, his increasingly bizarre and callous behavior threatens to alienate even his long-time partner and friend, Dr. Watson. In this point-and-click adventure, players switch between Holmes and Watson to search for clues, analyze evidence, and talk to witnesses and suspects. They then use the \"deduction board\" to arrive at the correct hypothesis. Players also play plenty of mini-games and solve puzzles.

Is it any good?

As a mystery adventure, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is both intellectually and artistically compelling. The game's Victorian London environments are detailed and immersive, with the gritty East End district of Whitechapel being a particular highlight. Players solve puzzles that are challenging but not frustratingly so, and hone their powers of observation and deduction in the true spirit of Sherlock Holmes. The Testament of Sherlock Holmes delivers an emotionally engaging storyline that tells of a growing rift between Holmes and Watson over a backdrop of gruesome murders. The story is framed as being retold by a group of young children who stumble upon Watson's diary in an attic, which comes across as a little hackneyed and intrudes on the otherwise serious and sinister tone; but it's the only slight misstep in an otherwise excellent game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about friendship. Watson feels used and manipulated for much of the story. Do you think Holmes is ultimately a good friend to Watson? Would Holmes make a good friend in real-life?

  • The game's Whitechapel District portrays characters that are hungry, destitute, and desperate. In what ways do we take better care of the vulnerable people in our society today?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love solving mysteries and going on adventures

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