TEKKEN 8 Highlights The Latest Returning Fighter & Showcases The Game's “AGGRESSIVE” Combat System

Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc. has released two videos highlighting new content in TEKKEN™ 8, the next title in the legendary fighting game franchise coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam®. An all-new trailer reveals that Nina Williams, the silent assassin who first appeared in the original TEKKEN™, is blasting her way back onto the roster in the upcoming game. The company also released a developer video showcasing new game play elements that are bringing an “aggressive” style of play to the series.
Nina Williams is bringing back her smooth and deadly fighting style inspired by various martial arts. As a trained assassin, she's also armed with weapons to help defeat her foes in style. For TEKKEN 8, the development team has completely reworked Nina’s character model for new-generation game platforms. Her moves and techniques are also enhanced, including introducing new abilities to fit with the philosophy of “aggressiveness” in the game’s new combat system. Nina Williams joins previously announced characters in TEKKEN 8 that include Jin Kazama, Kazuya Mishima, Jun Kazama, Paul Phoenix, Marshall Law, King, Jack-8, and Lars Alexandersson.
The TEKKEN 8 developer video features Katsuhiro Harada, executive director on TEKKEN Project, and Kohei Ikeda (Nakatsu), chief director on TEKKEN Project, as they detail the different elements that make up this “aggressive” game play philosophy. The video provides the deepest look yet at thrilling enhancements to the combat system which promise to add new depth, weight, and atmosphere to TEKKEN’s signature battles.

Join the conversation with the TEKKEN community at https://twitter.com/tekken, www.instagram.com/tekken/, and www.facebook.com/TekkenAmericas/
For information on this title and other products from Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc., please visit www.bandainamcoent.com

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TEKKEN™8 & ©Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.
Press Release ©Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc.
All other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.


Article by: Susan N.


Pinball FX - Crypt of the NecroDancer Pinball Review

Pinball FX - Crypt of the NecroDancer Pinball by developer and publisher Zen StudiosSony PlayStation 5 Review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Pinball FX - Crypt of the NecroDancer Pinball is a somewhat unusual entry into the Pinball FX ecosystem, as it’s a bit like video game inception. It’s a video game about a popular video game. Zen Studios has done that sort of thing before (their older Ninja Gaiden and Street Fighter II tables come to mind), but it’s still quite a departure in theme from their usual existing properties (like Godzilla vs Kong or Indiana Jones). The thing is? It works, and not just because of the theme.

This is one of those instances where Zen Studios went very creative and didn’t have the constraints of trying to replicate a pre-existing table like the Williams Twilight Zone one, and the results are pretty fantastic. For starters, I absolutely love the visuals here. The large speakers along the outside of the table bathed in a violet light makes for a cool environment. The table itself looks like a dungeon, with stony floors, brick walls with lit torches lining them and plenty of visual bits of flair throughout.

The sound and music shine here too, which makes sense if you’re at all familiar with the fantastic Crypt of the NecroDancer game, which has thumping music as a core rhythm gameplay mechanic. That is carried over to this pinball table, which has a really fun and unique scoring system that gives bonuses based on hitting the ball with your flippers in time with the music. It sounded a bit gimmicky at first, and admittedly the first couple of times I played, I was more focused on the table layout than anything else, but after that? I found myself letting the ball roll down the flipper a split second longer or perhaps striking it a moment quicker not because it was a more strategic shot but because of the current beat.

On top of that, there’s just a lot happening on the table. There’s a lot of moving parts, some things you just couldn’t do with a real-world pinball table, and it all works here as you try to complete the table’s varied objectives. The fact that there’s boss battles just makes that connection between this table and the original video game that much stronger.

This feels like one of Zen Studios’ most creative pinball offerings, and a really creative change of pace. The music and visuals are excellent, the way it really uses the original game and carries over a core mechanic to the pinball table is an excellent idea, and all of it was executed just about perfectly. Pinball FX - Crypt of the NecroDancer Pinball is a must-play whether you were a fan of the Crypt of the NecroDancer game or not.

Score: 9 / 10


Nobunaga's Ambition: Awakening Sieging Begins On July 20th!

BURLINGAME, Calif. — April 21, 2023 — Today, KOEI TECMO America and developer Kou Shibusawa revealed the latest battle details for their upcoming historical simulation NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Awakening. The 16th entry in Kou Shibusawa’s famed franchise, NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Awakening mixes military might with political diplomacy in a quest to conquer Japan’s Warring States. The title will be available digitally in North America on July 20, 2023 and is currently in development for PlayStation®4, Nintendo Switch, and PC Windows via Steam®.

In NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Awakening, players will experience the troubled times of the Warring States Period, 16th century Japan through the virtual life of a daimyō, a powerful Japanese leader, land owner, and feudal lord. Leading their troops to battle can be tricky, however, as the daimyō must quickly assess every situation on a rapidly changing battlefield in order to successfully take control of the map. First order of business is the march. Look across the land and choose the marching route carefully, as certain routes may be beset with obstacles, including roads too narrow for large troop movements, or even an enemy fortress! By choosing the wrong route, you could lead your army into a devastating situation.

But that’s not the only danger you’ll face. If there are any small battles happening nearby a daimyō's unit, then one major battle can be launched to settle the fight. Allies and enemies nearby will assemble at a single battlefield to determine the clan's future, and the results could have significant impact on surrounding clans, truly testing the daimyō's ability as a military leader and political negotiator.

In NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Awakening, the key to conquering the map is the ability to master the military art of the siege. A siege takes place when you attack an enemy's main base or defensive position. Each castle will have a totally different battlefield, while the surrounding domains and land holders will also be involved in these large-scale conflicts. The attacking side will need to break through defensive equipment to attack the citadel while fighting across a variety of terrains including mountain castles and flatlands. To achieve victory, the daimyō will need to consider how to attack or defend based on each castle's terrain.

Historic sites and terrain captured in the game include: Nagashima, a stronghold of the Holy Rebellion at the mouth of the Kiso Three Rivers which had many branches and blocked Oda clan's army; Kasugayama, the castle of Kenshin Uesugi that overlooks the Sekigawa River and the Sea of Japan; Tsukui, a castle at the entrance to Yamanashi Prefecture on the Kantō Plain; and Kameyama, a castle in Mie Prefecture, located between the Suzuka Mountains and Ise Bay. 

The attacking side will win the siege if they destroy all enemy units or conquer the main citadel. However, they will lose when all of their allied units are destroyed or their total morale turns to zero. Total morale decreases over time, so it is important to attack quickly. The defending side will win if they withstand the onslaught until the enemy's total morale turns to zero, or if they destroy all enemy units. On defense, it’s important to resist enemy's attack while protecting equipment and troops to prevent the enemy's total morale from rising. Winning a siege will enforce your "authority" throughout the area and help your daimyo secure their spot in history!

For more information on NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Awakening, visit the official site, Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/koeitecmous and Follow us on Twitter @koeitecmoUS.


KOEI TECMO AMERICA CORP. is a publisher of interactive entertainment software for current generation consoles, handhelds and digital download content based in Burlingame, California. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of KOEI TECMO HOLDINGS CO., LTD., headquartered in Yokohama, Japan. KOEI is best known for its Dynasty Warriors® and Samurai Warriors® franchises. TECMO is best known for the Dead or Alive®, Ninja Gaiden®, Tecmo Bowl®, and Fatal Frame® series.

Article by: Susan N.


Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of the Super Heroes - Retro Reflections - TBT

Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of the Super Heroes by developer Capcom Co., Ltd. and publisher Capcom Entertainment, Inc.—PS1 Throwback Thursday review written by Hamza. 1999.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of the Super Heroes is a superb crossover fighting and one of the finest from 90’s gaming. As the name implies, familiar characters from the more famous titles of Capcom and the Marvel universe clash and collide – and occasionally join forces as allies. Each character is beautifully animated.

Characters like Hulk and Venom are wonderfully detailed; their sinews and popping veins standing out like no other. When the green rage-monster moves, aggression and force can be felt at every step; likewise with the symbiote, whose slimy nature is fluid and precise. The energetic, detailed sprites not only give life and energy to the characters, but also to the whole “I’m just here to win” attitude that is so prevalent with such fighters. I haven’t played a more energetic, electrifying and awesome game as Clash of the Super Heroes.

Instead of continuing on with a traditional review praising the highs and lamenting on the lows of the game, I’ll instead put forth a very memorable memory that I have associated with the game. Without further ado:

Back in 2003 when I was in the 4th grade in Oman, my school held a fundraiser for the hurricane victims in Sri Lanka. Since there were no limitations as to what one could do to participate and donate, I and a couple of my friends decided that we would use my TV and PlayStation (since I lived practically next door to the school) to accept donations. Our idea was to charge a small fee per game for a limited play-time (500 baisa for 30 minutes; 1 riyal for 60 minutes); with the money incurred going to the fundraiser. At the end of the day, we managed to accumulate around 15 riyals (roughly $40). Though this wasn’t very much – even at the time – it was a major effort for a couple of ten year olds.

When the fundraiser time was drawing to a close, and with the crowd thinning every passing hour, my friends and I decided to stick around and play games to our liking. The one game we all agreed on was Clash of the Super Heroes: a favourite across the classroom. For the next couple of hours or so – well into midnight – I and four of my friends took turns to whip the virtual asses out of each other. No alliances mind you, only enemies. At every successful victory, the victorious would retain his position, while the defeated would get rotated to the other person, and so on. What makes this particular memory such a happy one, is it was the first time I was engaging in a multiplayer co-operative style of playing I had only heard about in magazines and online forums.

Our playful, hushed swearing, attempts at distracting the other player, and screeching reminders to use the combo attack are all what stick vividly in my mind. Anyone who has ever engaged in multiplayer combat with their friends – especially when it gets loud and chaotic – will know the feeling. It’s one of those memories that etches itself permanently in your brain. Though I’m not at all close to my classmates now, and it’s been decades since I last touched my PlayStation, this particular highlight stands out among the rest when I think back to school. Whenever I’m having an off day or just want to think about a time where innocence reigned supreme, I often invariably go back to this moment… a moment where we acted good for a cause and kicked each other’s asses.

Note: Screenshots from all platforms that were available at the time can be found here at Moby Games.
Score: 9.5 / 10 



Check Out The Street Fighter 6 Showcase!

The Street Fighter™ 6 Showcase, hosted by rap legend Lil Wayne, dropped new information on the upcoming game, including new details on World Tour, customized avatar battles, accessibility features, the Year 1 roadmap, and a demo that kicks off today on PlayStation®5 and PlayStation®4 followed by its release for Xbox and Steam on April 26! We’ll go through each announcement below (prepare yourself – there’s a lot!) and be sure to check out the game for yourself when it drops on June 2, 2023 across PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam.

Welcome to World Tour

  • We showed off an all-new location in World Tour called Nayshall, a developing nation tucked away in a remote corner of Asia. You’ll meet iconic Masters and experience the world of Street Fighter with your own custom avatar as you hit the streets of Metro City, Nayshall, and other locations around the world in this new single-player story mode.
  • We introduced a number of RPG elements as well. You can consume items and food during battle or at eateries to recover Vitality, acquire buffs, or inflict debuffs. As you level up your avatar, you’ll earn Skill Points to spend on a Skill Tree to further customize your tailor-made move set.
  • Become a student of your favorite Masters – including all 18 launch characters – by Enrolling in their style and learning their Special Moves! Increase your bonds with Masters by giving them presents and completing Missions. Combine all of this to unlock new cutscenes as you form personal connections with these legendary fighters.
 Show Off Your Style with Custom Avatar Battles
  • Build up your unique character in World Tour and then head into Battle Hub to join custom Avatar Battles against other players online! Use your avatar with Dhalsim’s fighting style, Zangief’s Screw Piledriver, and Ken’s Hadoken, or any other combination of abilities you’ve learned in World Tour to show off your own personal fighting style. Be wary because your opponent might have come up with an even wilder palette of moves.
 Innovation in Accessibility
  • Street Fighter 6 is committed to supporting increased accessibility with innovative sound design that tells you how far away you are from your opponent, the height level of attacks, whether an attack is a cross-up, how much Drive Gauge remains, and more.
  • For newcomers and veterans alike, there are fleshed out TutorialsCharacter Guides, and Combo Trials, which provide a solid foundation for each character.
  • Our third Control Type to go along with Classic and Modern is Dynamic, where you can unleash a character’s flashy moves by pressing the Auto-Attack button and having AI assist your attacks and combos!

Classic Fighting Game Experiences with Some Extra Spice
  • Arcade Mode is a single-player mode where you’ll face off against the computer and learn more about each fighter’s story. Complete Arcade Mode with each character to unlock and view beautiful illustrations in the Gallery. Your scores can also be uploaded to online leaderboards!
  • Play against other players or the computer by creating a team of up to 5 characters and customize the Match Format to your liking such as Single Elimination, Doubles, and Teams.
  • Extreme Battle introduces rulesets you’ll need to follow, along with fun features like Running Bulls or our own special version of hot potato. Play in Extreme Battle to learn more about the basics of the game or to unleash pure havoc at a party.
  • Play online against other players by creating a Custom Room. The four virtual cabinets in the room can be set to One on One, Extreme Battle, or Training. Custom Rooms can now include up to 16 players at a time and makes Online Training and Match Spectating easier than ever before!
 Compete Against the World
  • Ranked Matches return and we’ve taken steps to reduce the pressure of losing a match in certain Ranks. First, we’ve added a one-time Rank-down protection feature for those in Diamond rank and below. Next, Rookies will no longer lose League Points upon defeat to encourage online play. Finally, Iron-Gold and Master rank players will not incur League demotions. Each character also has their own individual Rank, so trying new characters in Ranked Matches is more approachable than ever.
 Wait – There’s More!
  • As a celebration of the entire Street Fighter series, we’re introducing the Battle Damage Feature! During fights, characters will get sweatier, develop cuts and bruises, along with other signs of heated battle appearing on their faces and clothing. This is only available in certain offline modes and can be turned off in Settings.
  • We showed off how players can create a Club in the Battle Hub to play with friends and find like-minded players. Customize your Club emblem and design a uniform that only your Club’s members can show off.
 Get Ready for Year 1 with Four New Characters!
  • Rashid of the Turbulent Wind, who debuted in Street Fighter™ V, returns in Summer 2023. The enigmatic A.K.I. struts into the roster in Autumn 2023. Ed, the Young Commander from Street Fighter V, also strikes back in early Winter 2024. And finally, the legend himself, the beast, the transcendent Akuma will rage into Street Fighter 6 in Spring 2024! All four of these characters will be included as Masters in World Tour following their release and are also included in the Deluxe and Ultimate Editions of Street Fighter 6.
 Demo Available Now
  • Power up your PlayStation 5 or PlayStation 4 and play the demo now! Players on Xbox Series X|S or PC will have access starting on April 26 at 12am PT. You can learn basic battle mechanics from the Tutorial and practice Luke & Ryu’s moves and fighting style in the Character Guide. Dip a toe into the first few moments of World Tour where you can experiment with the deep avatar creation feature. Custom avatars can be transferred over to the full game on the same platform once it releases!

 We hope you enjoyed the Street Fighter 6 Showcase and we can’t wait to hop in with everyone starting on June 2. Thanks,Capcom PR Team

Article by: Susan N.


Fairy Fencer F: Refrain Chord Review

Fairy Fencer F: Refrain Chord by developers Sting Entertainment, Compile Heart, Idea Factory and publisher Idea Factory InternationalSony PlayStation 5 review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher. 

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes.

From the original wild ride of Fairy Fencer F back on the PS3 to the revamped Fairy Fencer F: Dark Advent on the PS4, our Fairy Fencers are back again for a more musical number in Fairy Fencer F: Refrain Chord that takes place in a turn based strategy format. 

Fairy Fencer F is one of Compile Heart and Idea Factory’s more interesting titles. Unlike the Neptunia Series which is based in Video Game Console lore and personification of those consoles, Fairy Fencer is a more magical world where humans and fairies exist in the wake of a giant battle between the Vile God and the Goddess. Combining this with would be heroes who are far removed from being the paragons of justice, the ensuing comedy often brings levity to the more evil, death, destruction and world ending aspirations of the mega corporation Dorfa. 

While not having played the revamped Dark Advent myself, it is still on my backlog, and yes Richard I will get to it, it thankfully wasn’t needed to get going with Refrain Chord. Taking place somewhere after the beginnings of Fairy Fencer F, all the characters that you know, love, and hate, are back for another round of shenanigans as they continue their journey. So on that note, I recommend at least playing one of the prior entries which are also both available on the PC if you don't have a console. 

Where Refrain Chord really branches out from its JRPG roots is in its move to an SRPG format. Gone are all the dungeon explorations for side quests, main quests and material gathering. Instead, you now have specific points on the familiar world map that will offer you a choice of free, side or main storyline encounters. Each of these encounters plays out on large enough maps that will test your strategic thinking or your ability to grind for experience points. While this shift was quite fun in the beginning, and we'll get into all of those points soon, it could often feel like a slog which I thought was unfortunate as there are some really neat features in this gameplay shift. 

The slog of these battles doesn't come from the gameplay speed. Playing at normal speed or a sped up speed, it doesn't take long to move your characters from square to square, perform attacks or execute abilities and then have them face in the best direction possible for the oncoming attacks. The oncoming attacks are generally what can turn this into a slog as there are often just too many enemies on the field to be any fun. 

This isn't a question of NIS having spoiled us with Disgaea 6's impressive auto battles as even Agarest had a form of those ways back. It's really a case of there are just too many enemies. While your characters will often be stronger than the enemy, that only goes so far when there are 2-3 times more of them and whenever your turn rolls around you need to heal instead of attack. This is why I feel like things weren't properly calibrated and unless you've really stuck to a stage or two in particular to grind? You'll often wonder if these are even winnable. 

Because otherwise? There's a solid system here. Characters as mentioned can move around a grid with a base movement range. From there, you can select whether a character uses a basic normal attack, skills, magic or use items. In good Fairy Fencer fashion, characters after a certain point in battle can also Fairize to merge with their fairy partner and become more powerful and be able to move further on the grid. This helps close the distance or move to the aid of one of your allies. Fairizing also grants access to certain skills only able to be used in this state. It can easily change the flow of battle and is worth using once available unless there's really a reason to hold off and wait. 

The game changer this time around on top of the more strategic approach is the addition of the Muse. Joining in early enough, Fleur acts as the party's muse against the enemy's muse Glace. These two act as the ultimate support units to the rest of your party as while they are not designed to attack, their music and it's range can mess up or enhance your strategy pretty quickly. 

Now here we aren't talking about the power of a Disney song to make everyone feel better or know that you mean business. Here, we are talking about pure power in which both Fleur and Glace can increase the abilities of both parties. Increased attack, defense, automatic healing, or offering units that can't normally counter attack the ability, these all come in some neat ranges. Full square, diamond and outward facing triangle alway originate from the Muse so if they move? The area of the song moves. 

This alone can change a course of battle, but if the two songs come into contact with one another? The dramatic resonance can be fantastic. As the songs clash on the field, any square that has both songs will increase in respective power. With this level of power though, a Muse's song can only last a few turns at a time but even these come with some extra features such as being able to increase the range or the intensity of the song. On a final note about the music, I really enjoyed the variety of songs that were sung by the muses as their songs replace that of the standard battle music. When both are singing at the same time, then it’s not just one song, but it becomes their song as one blends into the other in a harmony that is very pleasant to the ear. 

To further support your battle prowess, every character has access to a variety of sub-fairies that can further modify their stats as well as grant different abilities and magic that their core fairy doesn't provide. This applies to both your Fencers and your Muse. The only difference here is that your Muse can only select from a specific subset of fairies that are designed for support purposes. This isn't an issue per say, but it does take some time for those types to start being available so it's a good thing that the enemy AI will almost never go after your Muse unless there's no way to your Fencers. 

Because it's not all about the combat, there is going to be plenty of dialog between the cast that will often have you laughing or groaning at the ridiculousness. The dialog itself continues on in the more simulated 2D/3D feel where 2D characters look like they are breathing and all of the colors are super vibrant. The voice actors also give a stellar performance but if you were hoping for a return of the English cast, this time around the voice track is in Japanese only. 

It’s all of these moments, short, medium and fairy long length (I’m not apologizing for that pun!) that not only move the story along, but that make Fairy Fencer F what it is. It gives you more… insight? Into the characters, their motivations and… ah hell, who am I kidding? Most of the motivations revolve around food! But it’s generally fun unless the bad guys are involved and helps to alleviate the often long winded battle sequences as there is also no more dungeon crawling to be had. 

Adding a bit to the levity, is the ability to go searching for treasure on the main map. With several “charges” available at a time which can be restored by going into encounters, you can use your inventory of sub-fairies and their furies to stab the ground and see what comes out. Materials for crafting and new equipment pieces can be found and the more that you poke at the map, the higher the chances are that you can chain this action for a singular charge. It helps to balance out the lack of dungeon exploring for materials as some of the crafting items are much better than what you can buy in the stop. 

Overall Fairy Fencer F: Refrain Chord isn't a bad title. It has a great system, fun dialog and awesome visuals, however, the transition to a Strategy RPG format doesn't feel as balanced as it should. With the battles often seeing your party being severely outnumbered, battles felt like they took much longer than they should have, reducing the fun factor to an otherwise good approach in the shift from a JRPG to an SRPG format. 

Score: 7 / 10


Pre-Orders Are Available For Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg

BURLINGAME, Calif. – April 20, 2023 – Today KOEI TECMO America and developer GUST Studios are happy to announce that digital pre-orders for Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg are now available. This re-imagined take on the classic title is currently in development and will be available digitally July 13, 2023 on Nintendo Switch™, PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, and Windows PC via Steam®.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg takes place in the city of Salburg, the capital of the Schigsal Kingdom, where subpar student Marie attends the Royal Magic Academy. Marie has five years to create an item that will satisfy her teacher, and to succeed, she will need to improve her skills by buying books and tools necessary for synthesis at the Academy. Marie will also be able to synthesize objects and check her assignments in the alchemy atelier her teacher has gifted to her. To gather ingredients needed for her recipes, Marie will venture outside the city, while being careful as to not cross paths with the many monsters living in the area!

To get ready for battle, players will be able to buy weapons and armor at the Weapon Shop, and hire adventurers at the Sky Tavern to defeat the monsters together. At the tavern, Marie will also meet various characters with whom she can make friends and accept their requests.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg is available to pre-order digitally. Players who pre-order the game by July 12, 2023 will receive the pre-order bonus, “Useful Items Set”.

KOEI TECMO America previously announced that a Digital Deluxe Edition of Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg will also be available. In addition to the standard version of the game, the Digital Deluxe Edition includes the original game “Atelier Marie Plus: The Alchemist of Salburg”, the “Gust Extra BGM Pack” and “Another Look” Costume Set. A Digital Deluxe Upgrade Pack will also be available digitally and includes all the items of the Digital Deluxe Edition except for the standard version of the game. 

In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Atelier series, two free DLCs will be available for all players from July 13, 2023 -- the “25 Glasses” accessory, and the Atelier Series Legacy BGM Pack.

For more information on Atelier Marie Remake: Alchemist of Salburg, be sure to visit the official site, Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/koeitecmous and Follow us on Twitter @koeitecmoUS.


KOEI TECMO AMERICA CORP. is a publisher of interactive entertainment software for current generation consoles, handhelds and digital download content based in Burlingame, California. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of KOEI TECMO HOLDINGS CO., LTD., headquartered in Yokohama, Japan. KOEI is best known for its Dynasty Warriors® and Samurai Warriors® franchises. TECMO is best known for the Dead or Alive®, Ninja Gaiden®, Tecmo Bowl®, and Fatal Frame® series.

Article by: Susan N.


Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened - PC Review

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened by developer Developer and publisher Frogwares—PC (Steam) review written by Susan N. with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Intro To Review

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is a game that has Sherlock and Dr. Watson delving into the unknown with its Cthulhu-themed investigations. The game is meant to showcase the deep friendship forged between the two characters which end up lasting for many years to come. Not only are we all for this aspect, but Frogwares neatly places The Awakened directly after Chapter One.

What we found in this Sherlock Holmes installment is a little bit of everything: fear, dread, disgust, madness, and entertainment. Despite hitting a lot of positive beats, there are some things that were missing that didn't detract from our enjoyment but felt like there could have been a little bit more. Nonetheless, The Awakened is a solid game that we really loved playing.


As Sherlock has said time and again about his investigations, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” We can think of no better way to describe some of the events that occur in The Awakened, a game that is quite satisfying and also mystifying at the same time. 

Beginning with a fruitless case of the missing newspaper, we are ‘taught’ how to play the game. Some will remember how the mind palace works from Chapter One or will recall the importance of pinning evidence during an investigation, where others might be seeing this system for the first time. 

A Detective On The Case

During the brief tutorial investigation, we are shown how to pin evidence, using observations and clues to figure out what happened, and ultimately we can piece it all together in the mind palace to track down the suspect. What is interesting about The Awakened are the ways in which Frogwares simplified certain aspects of the game and the obvious omissions of certain elements that were present in Chapter One. 

Examples of elements that are included in The Awakened is a minor bit of eavesdropping, but it is not atrocious like it was in Chapter One. Another aspect found in Chapter One that is also present here is the use of the same symbols to indicate the type of investigative method needed to solve a crime. Also, included in the game is the use of disguises and the visualizations of crimes. These are all aspects of the game that we enjoy and appreciate in The Awakened - although there are some aspects of these inclusions which were not used as often as expected like the disguises. 

Missing Puzzle Pieces

Despite the inclusions in The Awakened, there were things that were done away with. Notably, the combat system is not present. Many of the fanbase expressed their dislike of the combat system in Chapter One, and although it was neat how it was done, I was not particularly interested in that aspect of the game. Anyways, there were brief instances where things need to be shot in order to progress the story, but they are further along and sparsely used. Although, it does need to be stated that the speed at which you can aim is awful.

The lack of scientific testing is notable as well. This was something that Chapter One had, that was quite enjoyable, although it isn’t an aspect that is needed in The Awakened. And while it was something we found made investigation interesting and unique compared to other games, there was no place for this feature to be included, which is a shame.

I also noticed the lack of failure states and side quests. Unlike Chapter One, this game was much more focused on one complete and linear narrative. It was a ride from start to finish and had me scratching my head at some of the horrors presented in this installment, which was fantastic. I just felt that a few extra side quests would have added more to the experience. Also, having a lack of failure states took away from the potential to make Sherlock truly mad. Depending on the false accusations made against characters could have influenced the level of chaos that could have been seen, which would have been fascinating.

Bow Down To Cthulhu

I’ll be honest, I was a bit fearful of this title simply because of the insanity that it could bring to the table. Cthulhu, and the mythos surrounding the Great Old One is intriguing, strange, and bordering on psychotic which is an aspect of the game that is packaged well enough, yet The Awakened came off as creepy as opposed to scary - a point which I’m freakishly happy about. Narrative designers did an excellent job at putting together a story that is out of this world - literally. And through the events that Sherlock and Watson experience together strengthens their bond as the super sleuths they become. I found this particularly true as both Watson and Sherlock are playable at various stages of the game.  


Despite the bleak overtones of the subject matter and color palette, The Awakened has some beautiful graphics. Scenes range from a strangely familiar mansion to incredibly detailed crime scenes - especially the largest one in the game - to the twisted experiences Sherlock sees as he begins to lose his sanity. Even when the two travel across country, we are shown real emotion from the protagonists as well as amazing landscapes. In some cases, the scenes we investigate have just enough detail to be stomach turning - a point which adds to the atmosphere but also may cause some players to turn their heads away. 

That said, there are a few minor aspects of the graphics which weren’t amazing. To begin with, the mind palace has three different types of clues. One is observations, one is items, and the third is descriptions. The issue with two of the three types of clues is that the colors are too close together. One is green while the other is blue and the specific shades of those two colors are close enough that it is easy to confuse them. 

Another minor gripe with the graphics occurs leading into cutscenes or out of the minds eye analyzation windows. Occasionally the game would freeze for a few moments. And on select few occasions, Watson would physically be in the way of a particular path. Thankfully, neither gripe interfered with gameplay where it crashed or broke anything, which is why they are minor.

Audio and Music

The audio in The Awakened is incredibly well done. There is a ton of voice acting and not a lot of repetition in dialogue when talking to NPCs. In fact, there is quite the gamut of accents used throughout the game as Sherlock and Watson travel to a couple of different places to solve particularly gruesome crimes. 

Sound effects used in The Awakened is also fantastic. Not only do the sound effects add to the realism of the game, but they can be the key to solving certain puzzles. There isn’t one that requires the playing of a Violin like in Chapter One, but the use of sound does make it easier to progress at times.

Considering there was only one person listed in the credits for the sound effects and the music, they did a brilliant job at creating the right atmosphere which set the tone for the entire game. Unlike other games, I was weirdly aware of the audio and music in The Awakened. Perhaps it was due to paranoia? Who knows?

Elementary Dear Watson

After making it all the way to the end of the game, I found myself satisfied with the story it told, the resolution of several characters, and the bond strengthened by the extraordinary case that Sherlock and Watson see through to the end. I also found myself wanting a bit more of what was delivered in Chapter One because many side quests were quite interesting. The Awakened only has a couple of side missions that can be found and ‘completed’ but having a couple more would have made it feel a little more fleshed out.

Even though there were aspects that I wish were present in The Awakened, this game did a fantastic job giving us a solid story and character building. Like its predecessor, The Awakened sets the foundation for more Sherlock titles (hopefully) which I’m all for.

Overall, The Awakened is a devious and twisted entry into the Sherlock series, and it is worthwhile to play. While I cannot speak to the similarities and differences from the original game, I can say that the adaptations made to fit smoothly after the events of Chapter One is fantastic. And I personally hope to have more investigative Sherlock games in the future!

Score: 8 out of 10

Article by: Susan N.


Vote For The Next Map In Mini Motorways Before April 29th!

April 17th, 2023 - 30 Mini Metro maps will go head-to-head in a community-driven vote to decide which fan-favorite city will come to Mini Motorways in the next update.
Nominations for maps begin today, with the winner announced on Monday, May 8, 2023 PDT.

The Mini Collection fanbase has some hard-hitting questions ahead of them while deciding on the newest map.
From London’s historic underground and world-renowned waterways to Auckland’s coastal metropolis in the southern hemisphere and everything in between, cities from around the world are up for nomination in the next update to Mini Motorways!
Only the community nominations will decide which maps make it to the top four. Share why your favorite city should make it to the final round with #MiniMotorwaysMapVote.

Nominations will be tallied on Mini Metro’s birthday, Saturday, April 29th, 2023 PDT! Soon after, Dinosaur Polo Club will reveal the top four maps and players can vote for the final winner.
Stay tuned on Dinosaur Polo Club’s social media on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for news around a special guest set to announce the top four with the team and celebrate 10 awesome years of Mini Metro.

The player-voted map will be available for free across all current platforms including Apple ArcadeNintendo Switch, and PC and Mac via Steam.
For more information, please visit the player voting rules page on the news section of the Dinosaur Polo Club website, and Dinosaur Polo Club’s social media on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

About Dinosaur Polo Club

Dinosaur Polo Club is an independent game development studio based in beautiful Wellington, New Zealand. Founded in 2013 by brothers Peter and Robert Curry, the studio first made waves with their award-winning and BAFTA-nominated debut Mini Metro. Created in collaboration with Disasterpeace and Jamie Churchman, Mini Metro explores relaxed and minimalist subway design. The second game developed by Dinosaur Polo Club introduces a brand new type of city management with colorful road-building and resource management found in Mini Motorways. Combined, Mini Metro and Mini Motorways make up two parts of an expanding Mini Collection. 
With an inclusive and supportive culture that believes in giving back to its creative community, the studio has grown and is now home to nearly 30 dinos as it works on new titles with relatable simplicity.

Article by: Susan N.


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