The successful franchise that is the
CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) television series has spawned a number of
iterations of CSI games. Unfortunately, this New York excursion is not a
success. Perhaps if you are ten years old, or if you like doing simple,
repetitive puzzles, you will get some enjoyment out of the four episodes
on the disc, and will look forward to the bonus episode coming in 2009.
Otherwise, like me, you will probably be sorely disappointed.
The game play is pretty much painting by numbers, as
you scavenger hunt through single scenes for items to match the
silhouettes which slowly appear at the bottom of the screen. Sparkles on
the screen will then help guide you to the next element of the crime scene
which requires examination.
Finding certain items will trigger a mini-game of
some sort, be it dusting for fingerprints or removing all the objects that
match identified shapes to leave the odd one out. These games might be
explained as DNA identification, or some other crime related investigatory
process, but are by and large not terribly crime related in their design.
Collecting blood samples, for instance, simply involves tracing the
outline, and interviewing witnesses involves clicking on the hotlinked
words underlined in the dialogue.
Witnesses can also be asked about inventory items by
dragging them onto the witness concerned. A credibility bar appears, and
asking about too many irrelevant things will cause the bar to decrease. If
it drops to zero, you have to start the interview again.
As you achieve certain things you get little gold,
silver or bronze stars, and a final tally at the end of each episode. If
you get stuck, you can press the hint button -- and you can skip two
puzzles per case. This affects your final tally.
Once you complete the first episode, the second
becomes available. You can move on, or redo the first one to try and get a
The game is played from a first person perspective,
and the game screens are static, with no movement through them or
manipulation of them by the player. Everything you need to move on in the
case occurs in that screen. Your inventory items may however be used
between screens, and showing the right evidence to the right people is a
necessary component of a successful solution.
Ambient sounds add some depth to the game world, and
there is some musical accompaniment, as well as little fanfares every time
you complete something notable.
The most interesting aspect was the stories, the
first one being the pick. The flat graphic style which replaced the 3D
character modelling from earlier games suffers greatly by comparison, but
I found it had a rudimentary comic book appeal. The characters themselves
are static cutouts, although the voice acting is pretty good, with
characters from the series being voiced by the actors themselves.
Cutscenes are short.
The game automatically saves on exit, and will
return you to either that save point or the start of the episode,
whichever you choose. If you have several episodes underway at one time,
you can be returned to wherever you are up to in the episode you select
from the main menu screen.
There is not much more to say. CSI New York
is pedestrian and very limited in what it has to offer. Fans of the show
should play one of the other CSI games. Earlier games were far more in the
adventure game mould, and part of the disappointment in the game was the
expectation that it would be similar. There is nothing wrong with changing
things a bit, but the final product still needs to be a good one. Even
from a casual game perspective, this game lacks much interest. It is to be
hoped that if there are any more, they will return to the earlier format.
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