Here are a few things The Wolf Among Us: Smoke & Mirrors and Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments have in common: they’re both investigation/adventure video games, they both feature offbeat, gruesome-murder-solving protagonists, they’re both set for release early 2014, and I need both games like I need air.
After fans waited for months with no status update on The Wolf Among Us‘ second episode, “Smoke & Mirrors,” Telltale Games has announced an official release date of February 4 for PC, Mac, and Playstation 3, and February 5 for Xbox 360. They’ve also been kind enough to drop a trailer where main character Bigby Wolf – that’s the infamous Big Bad Wolf, for those unfamiliar with the game or Bill Willingham’s comic series Fable – ominously declares, “Everyone has a weakness. You just have to find where it is… and push.”
Following the shocking events at the end of episode one, “Faith,” players will follow a vengeful Bigby as he attempts to unravel the murder mystery surrounding Fabletown, before he unravels himself. A point-and-click adventure game, The Wolf Among Us seems more or less linear (there are a few action scenes in the first episode, and there are a few difficult choices you can make, but so far at least these choices don’t seem to make a huge difference in plot) – but this in no way detracts from the gorgeous atmosphere and storytelling the game offers.
However, for those who want their investigation games a little more… well, deduction-y, there’s Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, developed by independent studio Frogwares. Players will step into the shoes (boots? loafers?) of Holmes himself as he attempts to solve several cases involving murder, theft, or kidnappings. As Sherlock and plucky sidekick John Watson scour crime scenes for clues, all the information will be stored onto a “deduction board,” from which you’ll be able to connect the dots and hopefully solve the crimes. A glimpse of this gameplay mechanic can be seen in the below trailer:
Here’s the cool thing about Crimes & Punishments: due to this mechanic, there are a lot of different conclusions you could draw, and thus a variety of suspects you can point the finger at. You might not always be right, and even if you are, there might be a lot more to the story – leading to the player having to make some hard moral choices. And suddenly the title’s reference to Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment makes perfect sense on multiple levels.
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments will be released in the second quarter of 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, and Xbox 360.
Photo credits: Telltale Games, Focus Home Interactive