The progress the Franco-Ukrainian studio Frogwares has made between their first game, Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of the Mummy from 2002 and The Silver Earring, released 2 years later, is astounding. While the first one was a flawed, mostly cheap looking and generic first person adventure game, more abusing than using the Sherlock Holmes theme and character (Wael Amr himself admitted something along those lines in one of the interviews if I remember correctly) - the studio seemed to learn quickly from their mistakes - and the far better budget the predecessor somehow assured is obvious. This time it's catering as much as possible to the Holmesians and The Silver Earring, and a much more enjoyable, complex experience, if not without its flaws.
Gameplay is more or less typical point & click fare. Pixel hunting wasn't entirely eliminated, but is much, much more rare and less annoying than in the original. Inventory juggling is quite minimal and rare. Using items with people is rare and in perhaps all occasions but one, prompted by Sherlock, and using them together in the inventory itself. All the dialogues, clues, hints & papers are kept by the game and integrated in a sort of a "quiz" system, where you answer a series of questions using them as "proof" for the questions you're posed. While not perfectly executed, forced, and, perhaps, slightly clunky, it's an interesting system in any case. The game ensures you have everything you need I guess, by keeping you in one place / room / area until you find everything, which helps progress I guess. The puzzles are adequate, logical except for one with a safe (oh, you'll know which one it is) which requires a strange leap of logic. Though having a random character who just happens to dabble in inventions in the game is as cheesy a premise for introducing them as it gets. In general, it didn't thrill me, it didn't annoy me. OK enough.
Walking is an annoyance, however, moving is jittery in general, and clicking on a hotspot that's supposed to lead you to a place where the perspective changes doesn't guarantee that you'll get there, as Sherlock is prone to random bouts of turning in place indefinitely. Though you won't get stuck because of it. It just makes the one timed event and 2 that require timing more annoying than they should be for some.
The story & scenario are OK, and while it's not the best & original Sherlock scenario you'll ever see, it's fairly complex, with some good sides, and won't annoy the hell out of you like the first game. The voice acting is more convincing than last time (that's not saying much), though how and why couldn't they find a kid to play a kid, instead of an abysmal attempt by a grownup actor is beyond me - it depends on the character really.
Graphically it's a mixed bag, with character models ranging from pretty detailed (Holmes) to completely off (Watson... whose character isn't executed exactly flawlessly either). Some scenes are more or less nicely or adequately rendered, some feel rushed & unconvincing. Similar with cutscenes, generally unimpressive, but then you run into the "dominoes" one -> effective, very well directed & executed, showing there's quite some potential inside the team. And the outro was at the time, and maybe still is, one of the longest in a game ever (around 20 minutes... seemed shorter to me, but it might as well have been). While there are mild glitches here & there, miles ahead of its predecessor.
Music? Dvořák, Grieg, Schumann, Tchaikovsky. Need I say more? Well implemented too.
Overall, while, as a point & click adventure game, it will never be among your all time favorites, being a pretty much average adventure game as a whole, it has its good sides and there's no real reason for a p&c buff or a Sherlock fan not to seek it out (preferably in a bundle), so it gets a tentative recommendation... there are worse things to spend an afternoon on.