CSI: NY The Game PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 3.0
Graphics 4.0
Sound 4.0
Value 2.0
Developer: UbiSoft
Review Date:
February 2009
Mark Arnold
Classification: M15+


The Game

CSI: NY: The Game is a mini-game suite with more colons in the title than it does animations (That is, colons: 2, animations: 0). It’s essentially a collection of episodes that would fit in well with the show itself, but to see each new development you have to beat one or two mini-games first – some of which are fine, some of which are fine but make no sense, and some are just dumb.

  • SOLVE CRIMES IN THE BIG APPLE - Finally, CSI fans can experience the environment, characters and mysteries of CSI: NY. Piece together clues and uncover hidden evidence in the biggest city in America. Explore five brand-new, bizarre crimes and bring suspects to justice.
  • PLAY AS THE STARS - For the first time, take on the role of CSI stars as you play the characters of Detective Mac Taylor and Stella Bonasera.
  • MORE ACCESSIBLE GAMEPLAY - A new, moody graphic novel art style and enhanced, user-friendly interface will assure accessibility and hours of replay for all types of gamers. Improved gameplay includes new mechanics for conversations, computer use, blood work and much more.
  • CONTROL INTERROGATIONS – For the first time, players can control interrogations and use evidence to reveal a suspect's lies. Take part in dramatic interrogations and create atmospheric reenactments while exploring grisly crime scenes inspired by the show.
  • DIG DEEPER WITH NEW MINI GAMES - Includes an incredible variety of new mini-games, such as: code breaking, facial reconstruction, triangulating shooter locations, physics simulation reconstructions, Internet searching and more!

You have five episodes to play through as either Detective Mac Taylor or Stella Bonasera – each following essentially the same system. You are presented with a scene: the crime scene, the victim’s house, the suspect’s house, etc, and you must play a game of “where’s Wally” with random objects hidden in the scenery. They call this “collecting evidence” but that explanation is veiled more thinly than Courtney Love hitting the clubs.

You collect such ridiculous things as hair brushes, combs, and staplers – for no apparent reason. Sometimes clicking on one of these objects creates a new mini-game, to crack a safe for example, but again they make exactly no sense. When was the last time you played Sudoku to hack a computer? Or matched objects from the same category to open a secret box? Taken by themselves, the games are not bad, but in context they rarely work.

Interspersing the field trips are trips to the lab, but they work within the same framework. “Compare this guy’s x-rays to a normal x-ray.” Aiden Burn might say to you. So you play a game of “spot the differences” clicking on the X-Rays where they differ. For no apparent reason this gives you your next clue and off you run to the next scene.

Each scene is presented with a static 2D cartoon image. This almost gives it a unique style – but I can’t see how it relates to the CSI shows, which uses CGI-heavy special effects to bludgeon the science into a digestible format. As the story progresses a cartoon image of your detective and other characters from the show will interact filling you in on the details of the case. Often this takes the form of an interview, which is just another mini-game you will come across regularly, where you click on words in their text to ask them about things, or drop items from your inventory on their face (“What do know about this cold fish?” *slap*) Supposedly if you ask them the wrong things you lose credibility and can fail the interview… but I’m not sure how that would be possible in practice.

These mini-games have almost not penalty for failure. It’s hard to say if this is a bad thing or a good thing. From a game design perspective, this is woeful, but the sort of player that might enjoy this game just likes puzzles, and completing them are reward enough. They don’t need to have an over-arching carrot or stick that drives most gamers. For an example of the “almost” no failure penalty take the common situation where you can’t work out what random object in the scenery you’re supposed to be looking for. If you start to click randomly, and too often, the game penalises you by making the mouse disappear for about a second, preventing you from further clicking. One second isn’t much of a penalty, but I guess it’s just a gentle reminder that you’re not supposed to do it that way.

CSI:NY: The Game has one redeeming factor and that is the stories. They are of high enough quality to be pulled from the show itself. They’re quite interesting, and even with the mini-games to beat, finishing an episode only takes about an hour and a half.

Clearly this game has been designed for the casual gamer who is also a fan of CSI:NY. If you were expecting some form of detective work, or adventure – forget about it. If you love the show and get a kick out of mini-games you might enjoy this… but at 50 bucks, you’d be wise to wait until it drops to one-fifth that price.



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