Reviewed: April 19, 2006
Released: March 14, 2006
The newest installment in the line of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation game series, based on the popular TV show, has been released by Ubisoft. This newest game, which includes the cast of the original series, has some much needed updates to the experience.
As the title of the game implies, CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder is now an entirely 3D game, as opposed to its predecessors, which were basically 2 dimensional crime-scenes.
As in the other games, you start off as a CSI rookie and are assigned to go on the latest breaking case with one of the very recognizable CSI’s from the show, including Gil Grissom, Catherine Willows, Warrick Brown, etc. When you arrive at the crime scene, you begin looking for clues, trace evidence, fingerprints, the like.
You are still equipped with your impressive arsenal of collection and detection tools, including a few new toys that the other games did not have. One of these is the digital camera. Now, you actually have to position yourself and take good crime scene photos to document you findings. A very enjoyable and cool new addition.
The interface has received a facelift from the previous games as well, making it so that instead of dragging whatever tool you wanted to use from the bottom menu, you now click on whatever it is that you want to investigate further and it brings up a radial menu of your various options from there. It makes the interface much more streamlined and user-friendly.
All of the locations in the game, including the crime scenes and the CSI facilities, are fully 3D now, and instead of panning around a rotatable 2D scene, you’re scanning and zooming through a 3D environment. Another nice touch was that instead of just handing all of your evidence to the tech at the lab so they can put the item into the computer or into the microscope for you (which always seemed a little silly), you take the evidence and put it into whichever computer or analysis tool you want to use.
You’ll still get the same coaching help from your partner CSI, telling you whether or not you’re on the right track with the tool you’re trying to use, suggesting you use another, similar tool, if you’re thinking along the right lines, but just not exactly doing it right.
Once you get past the graphical update and the interface improvements over the other games, the basic game mechanics are the same. Find clues, take them to the lab, process them, go to Brass and have him issue search or arrest warrants based on the evidence you develop against certain suspects. The voice acting of the suspects is noticeably better in this than in previous games…they must have had a bigger budget to spend on the other parts. Also, the cases themselves (the usual 5) are noticeably longer and more in depth than in the other games.
Well, going from a 2D game to a more immersive 3D game definitely gives the overall graphics a much needed boost. Where graphics were probably one of the weakest categories for this game in the past, it is now one of its strongest.
The game now really makes you feel like you’re a part of the crime scene, really standing in it, not just looking at it from the other side of a monitor. Even the tools are three-dimensional objects that you use now, instead of just being representations of the objects that you want to use.
Even though the focus of the game is the story, the updated graphics adds a new level of immersion to the game that increases the enjoyment and the feeling of being a CSI.
As I stated earlier, the voice acting of the characters that are not the main stars from the show has seemed to increase since the last installment of the game. Otherwise, the voices and some of the signature sound effects and music from the show are there, but the sound quality has not really changed from previous games and it does not seem to do a whole lot to add to the overall gaming experience.
The thing about crime solving games is that once you finish them you really can’t go back through and play them again, since you know the answers to all the questions before you start. That being said, this game is definitely worth its cost because the length of the new cases are long enough to keep you playing for some time, constantly introducing new content.
I would say that if this is the type of game you’re looking for or you have played the previous C.S.I. games, you won’t be disappointed. It’s not like some other games that are developed off of popular TV shows that don’t have any valuable content; this game is a good, solid game that just happens to use the concepts from a popular TV show.
If you enjoy mystery-solving games, or if you like the CSI series, or if you played the other games and enjoyed them, you’ll really enjoy this latest version. It kept all the things about the earlier versions that made it fun and enjoyable and added several things that make it even more entertaining, without losing any of the ambiance that comes with the CSI genre.
I would highly recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of mysteries, whether you watch the TV show or not.