Detective games are a strange genre because it’s so rare they manage to conjure up the feeling of you being a great detective. They fail for a range of reasons but my solution to the genre’s struggle has tended to be that you should play as Watson not Sherlock or Hastings not Poirot – there’s a reason the books are often from the perspective of a bystander – and yet that’s still a cop out. Mark Brown (formerly of Wired and Pocket Gamer, now of YouTube) has poked at the subject in a video* which was a good prompt to think more about the things which do work. If you like it, you can support Mark’s work via Patreon.
*Slight spoilers for Life is Strange. The Shivah and Discworld Noir.