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#88960 - 04/03/06 08:40 PM CSI: Crime Scene Investagation (XBox)
Jarrodj Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 40
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Once in a great while, I get an adventure game. Most PC adventure gamers say that alot, but I don't have a very good computer. I have an XBox, so I really only get one once in a while. Since the XBox was released over 4 1/2 years ago, I've gotten Syberia 1 & 2, Myst 3 & 4, Still Life, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude (If you wanna count that), Indigo Prophecy, and Dreamfall when that comes out later this month. That's it. So when Ubisoft announced last year that they were going to release a compilation pack of the first two CSI games on the XBox, I was ecstatic. I was a little skeptical of the quality of this title because of one very interesting thing: They announced the game, and it then came out literally 3 weeks after the announcement. No screens, no press, no trailer, it just popped onto store shelves for $20.00. I was also worried because it was a game based on a T.V. show (Which is never a good sign), and plus the reviews for the games on the PC weren't exactly great. But when you're as desperate as I am for some adventure gaming, you'll take anything you can get. Not only that, It takes a lot less to get me to buy a game if it's $20.00 then if it's $50.00. It was a mistake I would soon regret.

CSI for the XBox is actually two games in one. It is made up of the first CSI game and CSI: Dark Motives, both for the PC. Now, with most compilation pack's, you can actually select which game you wanna play, but in CSI, you have to play the first game, then you unlock the second game. So instead of 2 five chapter games, you get one 10 chapter game with a really annoying middle section. You see, when you start the game, you are a rookie on the night shift of the Las Vegas crime unit with Grissom and the gang. You then go through 5 chapters (one spent with each main detective from the show) examine evidence, taking it to the lab, and trying to get warrants with from Jim Brass. Then all of the sudden the game cuts to the Dark Motives levels, and you're once again the rookie in the unit, and you're once again introduced to every member of the cast one by one. This is incredibly annoying since you already know how to do everything, yet you're being told how to all over again. This is one of the games many examples of feeling like a rushed port.

But before I go into anymore of the games many shortcomings, I must say that there are some nice things about the game. Namely the writing in the game is just as sharp as it is in the show. The game was written by Max Allen Collins, who also writes for the show. Unfortunately he only helped write the dialogue. The actual plot of the game (or rather the 10 plots of the game) is nowhere near the quality of the show it's based on. So all this great dialogue is wasted on lame plots that are so mundane and easy to figure out, that it really feels like a wasted opportunity. The Dark Motives portion of the game is actually a little better then the first half, but having to go through that first half is a real chore.

Like the dialogue, the sound design is also taken directly from the show. The entire CSI cast including William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Paul Guilfoyle, and Jorja Fox were brought in to reprise their roles, and they all to a very nice job. The music and sound effects are also very good, but are taken directly from the show, so you'll probably recognize every song. Unfortunately the sound in general is plagued by nasty bugs. Music will cut in and out at wierd times, and there are some moments where the music will overlap itself making you feel like you're listening to music that's coming out of an air vent. The dialogue also has problems of it's own. The Voice acting will abruptly stop in the middle of a conversation while the characters lips are still moving, and sometimes the VO will also overlap itself. It would be alright if this happened once in a while, but this kind of thing will happen to you alot while playing CSI.

And while there are nice things to say about the sound design, there is NOTHING nice to say about the graphics. No joke, this has got to be one of the worst looking games on the XBox. Character models are stiff like manikins and show no emotion whatsoever. The only thing that movies on their bodies are their mouths when they're talking, and the lip synch is really bad. It looks like a badly dubbed Asian Kung Fu movie. The pre-rendered backgrounds look horrible. When you make pre-rendered games, the static images used for backgrounds better look nice, but these come nowhere near looking nice. There is little to no detail, and everything looks blurry. Riven looks better then this, and that game came out over a decade ago.

There are also tons of glitches involving the graphics. Backgrounds won't load up correctly, and sometimes they wouldn't load up at all. So sometimes you'll just see a big white rectangle just sitting there where something important is supposed to be, and you won't be able to locate it because the texture didn't load up. Ohh well, just reset your XBox and hope that doesn't happen again. You'll also see seams in the textures between different animations. So you'll see a big red rectangle around where Grissom is supposed to stand, and it looks horrible. Also, character models will just sit there for like 5 seconds doing nothing when they should be doing something, and they will jerk in and out of animations. So Jim brass will tell you he'll look it up something on his computer, then sit there for 4 seconds looking blankly into space, and then it will instantly cut to him typing on his computer with no animation in between whatsoever. These glitches are more prevalent in the first half of the game, but they are still in the dark motives part of the game. For a "finished product", it is inexcusable for a game that came out in 2005 to look this bad, and have these kind of glitches.

The pain of looking and hearing at this game would be lessened if the game itself was fun to play. However, as you might of guessed, it's not. First off, I like a game to be challenging. I like an adventure game to be hard, and to have puzzles that make me think. CSI on the other hand, it one of the most brain dead games I've ever played. It holds your hand the whole way through, telling you what to do and how to do it. There's no freedom whatsoever, and you'll experience every kind of gameplay element the game has in about 15 minutes. Every case goes like this: You arrive at a crime scene, and collect the evidence, and talk to everyone. You then take it to the lab and find out how he/she died. You take this new evidence to Jim Brass, who tells you to go someplace and talk to someone, and you repeat the whole process over and over again until you find out whodunit. Wash, rinse, repeat 9 more times, and you have the gameplay of CSI. Nothing changes, it's just the same garbage over and over and over.

And just like the rest of the game, the gameplay is absolutely crippled with bugs. Remember those horrible pre-rendered backgrounds I mentioned earlier? well, since those are so blurry, you actually won't be able to see most of the clues or piece of evidence you'll need. This results in one of the worst cases of pixel hunting I've ever seen. But this isn't too hard because the clue reticule is amazingly large. What I mean by this is that if there is a clue on the screen, you're little pointer will pick it up like three inches from where it actually is. This makes the gameplay even more easier. There's also a rank at the end of a mission, but it doesn't really seem to work. You could get through the mission in less then an hour, do everything right and get an 82% score, or you could get every hint possible from your partner and get a 96% for some stupid reason. None of it makes sense, but in the programming department of Ubisoft, it must make perfect sense somehow. But the worst bug of all comes in the form of scanning in the lab. You see, when you load something like a fingerprint up in the lab, you then scan it to see if you can find a match. Sometimes the match will be on the screen, but when you try to match it, it'll tell you that it's not a match. This makes no sense since they're exactly alike. So you try another match with another one of the examples, but this one looks nothing like the original print. You try it for some stupid reason, and it's a match! It makes no sense whatsoever. So if you're ever stuck on a fingerprint, just try every print available, and eventually you'll find the match. Thanks alot Ubisoft. Once more, the Dark Motives part of the game still has these bugs, but they still exist in Dark Motives.

Fortunately the game is short. Even with 2 whole games in the package, you won't get more then 9 hours out of the game. In case you like loosing brain cells, you can go back and unlock concept art for doing better on the missions (yawn), but other then that, you'll never touch this game ever again.

The final message I want to leave you with concerning CSI for the XBox is that even with all those glitches I talked about, the core game itself isn't very good. So the PC versions of the game might not have all the glitches, but the games stink, so you're spending money on bad PC games instead of buying a horribly made XBox port. All I wanted was some adventure gaming on the XBox. What I got was a horribly rushed port of two mediocre games to begin with. The CSI franchise deserves better. Hopefully the new game: three dimensions of murder, will fulfill this promise, but this game does not. Not even by a long shot. This is nothing but a pathetic excuse by Ubisoft to extract every last drop from these bad games as they could, and something as totally unfinished as this game shouldn't even be released to the public. If you want an adventure game for the XBox, go get Still Life or Syberia, but please, DO NOT go looking for your adventure gaming fix. I think I've made my point: Don't play this game.

Pros:
+The cast reprises their roles
+It's only a waste of $20.00 instead of $50.00
+Two games in one
+Dark Motives half only marginally s**ks

cons:
-Brain dead gameplay
-horrible looking game
-repetitive
-lame and boring cases
-short
-the endless amount of glitches
-waste of a good idea

3 out of 10

bottom line:Avoid like the plague.
_________________________
We should be able to use images...

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#88961 - 04/04/06 06:31 AM Re: CSI: Crime Scene Investagation (XBox)
Bonnie Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 08/13/04
Posts: 1723
Loc: Neptune,NJ
Oh dear- this sounds like a game that didn't do well in the translation- maybe you could try the one for PC- if your computer will run it- its much better- and the games are separate- not together-
_________________________
It never bodes well to leave a live dragon out of your calculations-
J.R.R Tolkien

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#88962 - 04/04/06 09:38 AM Re: CSI: Crime Scene Investagation (XBox)
looney4labs Online   content
GB Reviewer Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 42542
Loc: Alabama
Thanks for sharing, Jarrodj--it sounds like a very unpleasant experience for you-- wave
_________________________
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras

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#88963 - 04/05/06 09:22 AM Re: CSI: Crime Scene Investagation (XBox)
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Hey Jarrodj -- well, it doesn't sound like a sucessful port, that's for sure.

Thanks for a detailed, strong review!

A note: Ubisoft does not always promote its games in advance, so the lack of promotion doesn't mean anything in particular, IMHO. You may have noticed that Paradise does not have an Ubisoft-sponsored website, for instance. CSI: Miami had even less promotion -- the first news we at GameBoomers had that it had shipped came from a member who had found out that the game would be on store shelves the next day by asking someone at her local Gamestop.

The CSI and Law & Order games (you could probably add in Cold Case Files here too) form their own subgenre -- I call it Crime Drama adventures.

I haven't played the CSI games, but I have played the Law & Order games. Up until Law & Order: Criminal Intent (which I understand is different) there is very little physical exploration of the environments, especially when compared to "traditional" adventures. The games' resources seem to be focused on the writing (for which writers from the shows are usually hired) and the voice acting by the show's stars.

Although each Law & Order game has shown definite improvements over the previous one, there clearly were "bugs" to work out in the early games' gameplay, including serious inventory problems, pixel hunting and dead ends. From your description, it sounds like the early CSI games also struggled.

Interestingly, the first Law & Order game (before the patch) was timed, and was so difficult it was almost impossible to beat it. CSI seems to have gone in the opposite direction in terms of difficulty.

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#88964 - 04/07/06 03:32 PM Re: CSI: Crime Scene Investagation (XBox)
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35570
Loc: southeast USA
Great review, Jarrodj.
It's especially useful for those of us who like playing an adventure game on console once in a while. Still Life was great and I thought BS3 was a better game on XBox than on PC. But I don't think I'd care for all those bugs you mention.

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#88965 - 10/20/06 12:58 AM Re: CSI: Crime Scene Investagation (XBox)
HeavenlyJoy Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 11/07/05
Posts: 770
Loc: usa
I really appreciate your Honest review, I wonder about some of these, and love the mystery crime shows, but havent seen many good games come along this line, THANKS AGAIN, you saved me 20 bucks!!
Joy

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#88966 - 10/20/06 12:34 PM Re: CSI: Crime Scene Investagation (XBox)
chrissie Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 4407
Loc: london uk
Hi Jarrodj, thanks also for an honest review. As a great advocator for getting more AGs onto consol because 'you put the disc in & it plays' (no worries about PC system specs!) I can imagine your frustration, & find it inexcusable that the game produced for the X-Box seemed to be so badly flawed!

I have played all of the CSI games (also all of the Law & Order ones which have a similar style.)
They will never turn up in my top list of games but I have really enjoyed them all! They do have a particular style & are very formulaic, they are very different to typical AGs and I can appreciate why you (or anyone else) may find them boring! Maybe reviews of the game didn't give enough info?

smile

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