Sherlock Holmes The Awakened is a remarkable achievement in impossible circumstances

The incredible team at Frogwares have been through so much, yet still managed to release a game against all odds.

In a period of transition during an era of uncertainty, where many companies flat out stopped Production of their game because people weren’t in offices, this Ukranian studio has pushed onward and on top of that, done so in face of a horrendous, callous war.

With constant threats to their livelihood, to their families, at a time when they don’t know what the next day will bring, they still worked and remade and released a new Sherlock Holmes game, bringing it to the same standard and quality we’ve come to regard them for.

It’s an incredible story, one I can barely even fathom or want to imagine in 2023, and yet, here we are, watching it unfold before our very eyes. What they have managed to achieve, to the standard that they have, is truly remarkable.

I don’t know the ins and outs of each project, but after watching such a slow start to this generation because companies weren’t able to adapt, now the sudden shift away from remote working again because it impacts development too much, I point to Sherlock Holmes  The Awakened as a case study to everyone in this industry.

Few other studios will have felt the same pressure Frogwares has this past year. Their resilence and desire and dedication to this game is inspiring, making best use of the resources they have, well aware of what horrors surround them day to day.

They have put everything into this and the result is a solid, entertaining product that honors the legacy of the game they remade but actually stands shoulder to shoulder with their best games.

True, this is very much a typical weighted Sherlock Holmes experience. If you’ve played any of the Frogwares games in the past, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect. That, in itself, is a massive accomplishment.

Yes, there are some graphical breakups, pathing problems, and one bug did kick me back to the home screen following a cutscene. It’s scrappy, but no worse than some recent games I’ve played where a team is supposedly back to “full strength”.

And especially considering the ambition of this game. One minute, you’re pottering around 221B Baker Street doing your normal investigations, then you’re cruising the Bayou in a rowboat looking for clues and switching between Holmes and Watson while exploring a sanitarium.

The game is a hybrid of the recent Sherlock Holmes Chapter One, introducing a young, naive, brash Holmes and Watson as leads, but also the likes of The Devil’s Daughter. And it’s nearly a completely different game from the original ‘The Awakened’ with new puzzles, locations, dialogue, and story.

But the essence remains the same, in that this is Holmes v Cthulu, an intriguing mashup that takes the world’s most famous detective and puts him deep into the pit of an atmospheric, spine-tingling Lovecraftian world. It makes for an overall more compelling, intriguing experience than Chapter One and players really feel like their wits are being tested at every turn.

This is a gorier Holmes than you’ve been used to, and one that, at times, shocks and surprises in terms of the sights you see and things you’re subjected to. It’s also tricky enough that it’ll keep you guessing but also logical enough that you can make the deductions on your own. The game strikes a nice balance.

The investigations do seem to go ever so slightly at odds with each other and the regular jumping about does make it tricky to keep the thread of the mystery throughout, but the little side investigations, coupled with the sense of discovery the game imparts on the player keeps you engaged and invested.

Gone is the more Open World nature and instead the game is split into sub-chapters, each with a differing theme and purpose. As mentioned, the game really likes to mix things up and it keeps the experience fresh for the player as opposed to having them mix up random combinations with Sherlock’s chemistry set.

The one thing I was a little disappointed with is how little changing Sherlock’s disguises has on gameplay. It’s mostly there for cosmetic reasons and this was one of my favourite parts of Chapter One in having you mix up combinations to try and find something that works in a situation. Most disguises are put together by default with you having no control over it.

The good thing this game does is really shine the spotlight on Watson. So often Sherlock is the one getting all the headlines, but this time Watson plays an even more pivotal role than ever. His medical examinations often determine causes of death or injury to characters, and he sometimes has to spinoff on his own for his own infiltration cases. It’s really smart and again keeps everything coherant and fresh.

All together, this is one of the best Sherlock Holmes games Frogwares have ever put together and considering the circumstances they were under, it’s an even more impressive achievement. If you’re looking for a good murder mystery that dabbles a little bit in the occult and really takes you on a journey, you won’t go far wrong here.


Sherlock Holmes The Awakened is an enjoyable re-imagining of one of Frogwares best takes on the great detective. Stunningly recreated with Unreal Engine, this story has new puzzles, a wealth of side missions, quirky mechanics, and an intriguing plot that keeps itself interesting throughout. A remarkable accomplishment considering the horrendous circumstances the studio has had to overcome. 


+ Stunningly recreated with great graphics, environments and sounds
+ A successful reimagining that suits new audiences and fans of the original
+ Keeps itself interesting by swapping characters, differing chapters and varied mechanics


– Some buggy sections, game breakups and hiccups do create some disruption through play
– Some sections are frustrating and pace ever so slightly goes off the rails at time as the game jumps around.

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened releases April 11 on PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Switch

Code Kindly Provided by Frogwares

Played on Xbox Series X

About the author

Sally Willington

Sally is relatively new to gaming since a newfound addiction to Nintendo Switch. Now they just can't stop playing, anything and everything. Sally especially loves a good RPG and thinks that Yuna may just be one of her favourite characters ever.
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