Top critical review
Disappointing addition to the franchise
on 21 January 2010
I've played all the other CSI games, but this by far had to be one of the most disappointing in the series. As with the previous games, the CSI team led by Gil Grissom investigate five cases (mostly involving murder). I'll break down the points of the game...
Storylines: A cab driver found burned to death in his cab, a woman who has survived a vicious stabbing in her own home, a burned out band trying to make a come-back die a grisly death by electrocution, a man is blugeoned to death in his own bed, and a gun-fight goes down at a gun museum, leaving the cashier dead. The cases all SOUND interesting, but really the storylines were limited, predictable and quite boring after a while. The cases were too easy to solve meaning this game is easily completed within a few hours. Predictable as always, at least two of the cases always link up at the end.
Playability: While the game is highly playable, it's too fast to complete to really get any kind of enjoyment out of it. As a player you get frustrated by completing a case far too quickly and the fact that there simply isn't enough to investigate. If you're any kind of viewer of the show, you already know where the evidence is before you've even seen the crime scene. Your evidence is always in clear view - fingerprints are actually NOTICABLE on items, tables, guns, so you don't really have to do much "detective" work to find them, and even washed away BLOOD is still red splotches (which for some reason you still have to use luminol on to 'reveal') so again, you're robbed of the enjoyment of actually having to look for clues and find them. Once you've played this, that's it, you know how to complete it, you know who's guilty and who's not, and from then on, you don't have much playability left in the game itself.
Features: As with the previous game, the "SUV portable crime lab" is available again, which is just the same machines you would use in the lab part of the game but in the back of a car outside your crime scene. This has to be the most pointless and idiotic addition to the game I've ever seen as it's only used for about two minutes during the whole of your game play, accessable at the start of two cases and then never optional again. Also, you can take photographs of your crime scene, but only at certain points and again, you never need to refer to these photos again so this itself felt pointless as you're just racking up document evidence in photos that you don't need. There's a UV light in your toolkit also but there was only one use for it, so it felt useless even being there the rest of the time. Most of the objects in your toolkit are there to confuse you rather than to be used. You have about five different methods of taking fingerprints but at most points you'll only ever use ninhydren or old black dust leaving you having to keep clicking other ones and being told "try using a different tool" constantly. Other features I felt weren't really needed were the trinity part, and the crime scene diagrams - I'm sure if you're a die hard fan you might like those, but if you're a gamer, you probably won't ever look at them.
Graphics: Sadly, I have to say, the graphics are extremely poor. This game isn't THAT old, and yet it's boasting graphics from the mid-nineties, while every now and then you get "flashes" of your CSI effects shots and stock footage of Vegas that are just taken from the show itself. The characters are cartoonish and unrealistic, and look hardly like who they're supposed to (god knows who they based their "conception" of Catherine Willows on because it definitely doesn't look anything like Marg Helgenberger). Another complaint I had with the graphics of the game was that the game developers use nearly the SAME setting in every case which begins to become rather boring when you're looking for evidence in the SAME rooms you hit only the previous (and unrelated!) case. In at least four cases out of the five you're given, you will find yourself sent to the SAME casino room, and other times you'll see the other same sets come up again and again (for such a big city, Ubisoft's Vegas seems to be a hell of a small place). One gripe I have is that the developers spent so much time programming and designing graphics for the mobile SUV lab when they could have spent that time on designing more unique settings and better places to hide evidence.
Dialogue: The dialogue wasn't very well written, and was delivered very corny, even by the professional actors from the show. Marg Helgenberger and Jorja Fox didn't do their own voice-overs, and this hurt the characters (more so with Sara Sidle, who is on the cover, but doesn't assist with any cases, but rather just floats around the lab coming in and out and standing about saying as least as possible so you won't notice she sounds demonic).
Bonus Features: As with the other games, if you complete the games in the right order or with the highest markings, you unlock features...this time around I found it quite idiotic that I complete each case to unlock features showing me basically what I've already JUST seen either during the case or from the previous one. At one point, I unlocked a trailer for the same case I'd just completed, and I felt jipped having put all the hard work in without asking for hints and finding all the bugs to just unlock a lot of crap that wasn't worth watching to begin with.
Allover thoughts: Completing the game was just a disappointment as I'd come to the end of something I hadn't really enjoyed and wished that perhaps unlocking the bonus features would maybe lead to hidden cases or at least some funny outtakes from the game or something. I think UBISOFT really need to think hard about making a game that is challenging even on the harder levels (sorry but playing on the harder levels shouldn't be about asking the right questions in the right order, it should be about finding evidence that is nigh on impossible to see or invisible to start with, not staring you in the face on a sink like the murderer just didn't CARE to wash it). There's also alot of plot holes that don't add up...
When I bought this, it was at full price, but since this is pretty cheap right now, I'd say go for it as in this case you get what you pay for.