Playing at home in Selhurst, down the road from where Conan Doyle once lived, I can almost feel his spectral moustache twitching with exasperation.
Despite its obvious affinity with the source material, Frogwares' take on Sherlock never quite gets it right, and commits the common sin of turning Dr. Watson into a sort-of useless git, relegated in Crimes & Punishments to the bloke who hangs around just in case Holmes finds a two-man valve puzzle in an ancient temple, or needs a Mexican shot (and I don't mean emergency tequila).
Those quibbles aside, Crimes & Punishments opts for a welcome change in pace to its forbears, telling six short stories instead of a single long one. Proceedings are much tighter as a result - where previous games often felt like an impenetrable fractal sprawl of tangents and side-stories, there's very little muddying of the narrative waters this time.
Its most brilliant innovation, though, is the chance to fail. Each case is a hunt for clues to populate your "deduction space", a literally cerebral device where information snippets get associated with neurons in Sherlock's brain, which you can mess around with to make connections. Once enough deductions are made, conclusions become available which allow you to close the case, finger a suspect, and decide their fate.
It's easy to condemn the wrong person to the noose, and you won't immediately find out if you've cocked-up. A fluffed deduction early on can put you right off course, and even prevent you from meeting the real culprit. It's a thrilling step forward in the sleuthing genre and leads to many moments of genuine anxiety.
It still looks low-budget, but there's a new confidence in the presentation that takes cues from the recent BBC series. Impressive slow-motion camera moves are used as a device to pick up clues, simulating Sherlock's super-human observational skills in a way that feels superbly modern, while still retaining a setting that pays more homage to Jeremy Brett than Benedict Cumberbatch.
This is Frogwares' finest adventure to date, and evidence that it's really starting to find their feet with the series. It's only taken eight games.
Version Tested: PlayStation 4