Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express review for PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch

Platform: PC
Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Microids
Developer: Microids Studio Lyon
Medium: Digital/Disc/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No

I have to admit, I went into Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express with no small amount of skepticism. I was dubious when they first announced this modernized version of the famous mystery novel back in the spring, and that skepticism has only grown since then (aided, in no small part, by the fact I’ve read quite a few more Agatha Christie novels this year).

My reason for being skeptical? The fact that the game was promising a reimagining of the novel’s star – and Christie’s most famous character – Hercule Poirot. In this version of Murder on the Orient Express, he’s no longer the fussy little Belgian of the books, but rather a big, strapping man in the prime of his life. The change impacts who he is in a few significant ways: not only does the character’s preening vanity seem a lot less charming coming from someone so physically robust, it also changes how he’d interact with the world around him. In the books, after all, no matter how much his reputation preceded him, he always found himself underestimated by friends and foes alike who couldn’t imagine this “fussy little foreigner” was a crime-solving genius. Here, there’s a lot more kowtowing and awe. Even if some aspects of the original novels may now seem a little out of date, it feels like that’s one thing that didn’t need modernizing.

The other change – the introduction of a second detective, an American policewoman named Joanna Locke – is obviously a much bigger departure from the novel, and yet, at the same time, it doesn’t feel as out of place. While I wouldn’t say she feels like a piece that’s been missing all these years (after all, it’s hard to imagine an author as English as Christie allowing an American to take centre stage), she’s at least able to slot in fairly seamlessly.

As for the game itself, even if the setting is a little more modern, it’s really not a huge departure from Microids’ past Poirot games. It’s your standard detective game, where Poirot or Locke search for clues, interrogate suspects/passengers, and try to make the right deductions. There are some nods towards things like the “Mind Palaces” featured in Frogwares’ Sherlock Holmes series, but they’re implemented much better here, showing the mystery progressing in a much more logical fashion, and also pushing you towards your next objective.

If there’s a real downside to Murder on the Orient Express (apart from the drastic change to Poirot’s essential character), it’s that the game looks a little cheap. The characters look like they could’ve been in games from 15-20 years ago, and the voice acting isn’t that much better.

Thankfully, it’s easy to overlook the visuals when the story itself remains so solid. Murder on the Orient Express is proof that even if you mess around the edges of a classic murder mystery, as long as the core remains – and it does here – you can’t help but make a worthwhile game.

Microids provided us with an Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express PC code for review purposes.

Score: 7.5