CSI: Fatal Conspiracy



Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Telltale Games

Publisher:    Ubisoft

Released:  October 2010

PC Requirements:   Windows XP (SP3),  Vista (SP2), Windows 7, Intel Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon XP 2000+ at 2.0GHz, 512 MB for XP / 1 GB for Vista, Win7 RAM, 64 MB Graphics Memory with Shader Model 2.0, DirectX 9 Compatible sound card





by Rushes


Join the team of the Las Vegas crime lab and tackle five connected cases in CSI: Fatal Conspiracy, the latest in the CSI series from Telltale Games. Succeed in your efforts to stop the drug lord known as the Queen of the Hive in her tracks, as she eludes the CSI team from case to case and murder to murder, and it’ll be a job well done. Congratulations, partner!

Investigating the crime scene

I should confess at this juncture that I have never watched a single episode of CSI in any of its mutations. The amount of television I watch across an average week could balance quite comfortably on the head of a pin, and yet all the same, I have played several of the CSI games and have mostly enjoyed them, despite their variances in style and format. It’s interesting therefore to see how CSI: Fatal Conspiracy compares.

The PC DVD version of the game requires an initial online keycode activation, after which you’re good to go. If you’re new to CSI and need initial help in finding your way around the user-friendly point and click interface and the data/material labs within the game, there is an extremely helpful tutorial feature available from the Options menu. In-game hints and subtitles may also be enabled. By the way, the subtitles are HUGE. With some games it’s necessary that the player should squint if they wish to read the dialogue at the bottom of the screen. With the text in CSI: Fatal Conspiracy your pupils are likely to experience dilatory overload. It’s good news for myopics. Dialogue can be skipped via the space bar. There are just three available save slots per case. I found the game length to be generous. At around three hours for each case without any referral to a walkthrough, it amounts to a satisfying 15 hours of total playing time. I recall the earlier games in the CSI series as being significantly shorter, so this is most definitely an improvement.

Of the cases themselves, the plot twists and turns managed to hold my interest very nicely. I enjoyed how each story connected in its own way with the others in the set. The voice work, featuring the main actors from the TV show, is excellent. The graphics don’t appear to have taken very many steps forward from the early games, however. The locations appear as fairly basic and blocky, although characters’ facial features have more detail. There is a modest amount of blood and gore, nothing too excessive, nothing too detailed. You want me to investigate the stomach contents of the victim, Doc? Sure thing! I thought it was a bowl of pea soup. Just hold on a moment while I find a swab.

What evidence have you got?

The gamer coming to this series for the first time might well find the array of test facilities and tools for the job a little overwhelming at first. Fingerprinting, moulds, sprays, miscellaneous gadgetry, you name it, it’s there. And so accordingly, such puzzles as there are in CSI: Fatal Conspiracy will entail you furrowing your brow at various lab machines to obtain analyses in order to progress. DNA must be matched, fingerprints identified to victim or suspect, broken pieces of evidence reassembled, and so on. Crime scenes must be scoured for vital clues, and suspects interviewed or interrogated based upon the quality of information you have acquired at that point in the game. The repetitive nature of all of this can either be utterly absorbing or mind-blowingly tedious; ultimately it’s all down to the individual and his or her gaming preferences.

There is an element of replayability as you are evaluated and given your performance statistics at the end of each case. Overlook a piece of evidence, fail to ask a particular question, and your final score reflects your error.

It’s worse than that, he’s dead, Jim

Well, here’s where CSI: Fatal Conspiracy gets its shoelaces irrevocably tangled and falls down splat on the gravel. The cursor is floaty and slow to respond. You become accustomed to it as you play on, but it’s an initial irritant.  

The first person viewpoint pans and swoops each location with a feeling akin to riding side-saddle on a supermarket trolley with one dodgy wheel. It’s tricky to control -- but at least the areas of swooping are contained within relatively compact perimeters and do not spin a full 360. “Wheeeeee!” squealed this reviewer in delight/despair at being taken on the umpteenth trolley ride of the game. “Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute, for crying out loud, all I want is to collect this seemingly insignificant paper cup from over he--Wheeeeeee!….”

Let’s get back to work

CSI: Fatal Conspiracy installed and played without any problems or glitches.

Overall, fans of the television show and those with an interest in the nitty-gritty of forensics should find much to enjoy in this game.

Grade: B

I played on:

Windows XP Media Center Edition SP3

Intel[R] CPU T2050 @ 1.60GHz

2.00 GB of RAM

NVIDIA GeForce 7500 LE, 512MB


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