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CSI: Dark Motives

CSI: Dark Motives

CSI: Dark Motives


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Okay, I admit it.

I was surprised to learn that although the original CSI: Crime Scene Investigationgame was the best-selling adventure game in America last year, I had only graded it a C+. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who had dismissed the game with a wave of my hand. So you might be reading this now and thinking, “Well, I can tell where Ryan’s headed with this – another grade of C for the record and more nasty comments.” Not this time though.

You’d better brush up on your sleuthing.

Although not much different from the previous game, CSI: Dark Motives has incorporated all of the changes for the positive that angry gamers demanded from UbiSoft. So, in the interest of fairness, I’m going to quote all of the company’s promises for this game that were posted the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in my last review and comment on them.

  • Brand-New Cases: Five new cases to solve that are longer and more in-depth than in the original game.

CSI 1 was playable in half-hour sittings, with your sidekick investigators hovering over you every second, providing you with answers even if they weren’t requested. For the sequel, each case requires almost twice the completion time and there’s a lot more information to keep track of. At various times, you’ll have anywhere from five to seven different fingerprints or footprints in the computer database, and you’ll have to individually research each one and compare/contrast. Time consuming? Yes. But fun? Still a big yes.

  •  CSI Authenticity : Includes the likenesses and voice talents of the entire CSI cast, as well as the show’s locations, music, writing, scientific validity and visual style.

No complaints when it comes to the voices. Anyone who has watched CSI (or hasn’t, for that matter) will agree with me 100%. The complaint here is mainly the graphics – most of the characters were redone in order to match their current appearances. This is a 50/50 split – half of the gamers probably look at this change in the game as a thumbs-up, KC and the Sunshine Band “That’s the way, uh-huh, uh-huh” moment, while the other half will take my side and say that Catherine went goth, James Brass aged 20 years, and many similar observations. Call in the fashion police! Nothing else in this category surprised me – the usual solid effort from UbiSoft’s talented developers.


  • Detailed Forensic Equipment: Field evidence can be analyzed using a full set of forensic tools, such as fingerprint dusters, UV Lights, Luminol, DNA sequencer and a comparison microscope.

What? You don’t really think they’re here? As in the first game, it is important to know the function of each tool or instrument, especially if you are playing on the Advanced level.

  • Personalized Play: Customizable options allow players to easily adjust the gameplay to suit their desired level of difficulty.

Aaahhh. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Now there will be no more complaints about how easy the game is – experienced players can take things up a notch and enjoy a true challenge. Features like auto-tagging, hints, and other helpful extras can be turned off with a click of the mouse, allowing you to select a Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced level of play. This time if the game is too easy, it was your choice.

  • Bonus Commentary: Unlockable bonus content with pre-production sketches, “behind the scenes” footage and unusual trivia.

This is a cool feature that I shunned in my last review – it’s a lot better now and there are some cool movies and pictures you can see, including an advertisement for the new CSI DVDs. This is what makes completing a case such a rewarding experience. I suggest to all the developers out there who are reading this – take the hint, and include some fun extras into your game!!

  • Master Detective Bugs and Errors: Never-ending special feature errors and game-destroying bugs that will cause screaming, hair pulling, and torture for hours! Good for experienced players.

Oops! That wasn’t supposed to be there . . . but it should be. For you see, this game is chock full of more bugs than clues; everything from the old ‘freeze and return to the desktop’ to the more unusual, ‘can’t load because of some freak file that’s not here.’ Complaints are flooding the game world because of errors with Ubi’s system, video cards, and other sorts of random problems. So far, there aren’t that many patches available, so I advise you to not play for long stretches at a time, because there is even a bug that will ruin your game just for that!

Fortunately – other than the bugs that should soon have available patches – there’s nothing horrible I can really say about this game. Not only is it a wonderful effort, but it is also one of those rare games where the sequel is better than the original and I truly hope that the newly announced CSI: Miami game incorporates all of these features and more. Stay tuned, detectives!

Final Grade: B+ (if the bugs are patched)

(P.S: Catch the all-new CSI: New York show coming soon! Check your local TV listings for more information)

Mystery Fans: The Scoop!
Upcoming Mystery/Detective Games for 2004:

CSI: Miami: Q4 2004
Martin Mystere: Q3/Q4 2004
Sherlock Holmes: Silver Earring: Q4 2004
Nancy Drew: Secret of Shadow Ranch: Q3 2004
The Arrangement: Q2 2004

System Requirements:

  • Windows 98/ME/2000/XP only
  • Pentium II 266 MHz, AMD K6-III 400
  • 64 MB RAM (256 MB recommended for Win XP)
  • DirectX 8.1
  • 4 MB DirectX 8.1 compatible Hardware-accelerated 3D graphics card
  • Direct X 8.1 compatible Sound Card
  • 12x CD-ROM Drive
  • 650 MB available hard drive space

© 2004 Ryan Patrick Casey

Ryan Casey

Ryan Casey

I was born during the golden years of adventure games. My first foray into gaming was with Broderbund's revised version "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" That was around 1995, on my Compaq Presario that my dad wouldn’t let me use every day. Eventually, I captured all 40 criminals and moved on to collecting all other games in the series. That’s when my obsession with mysteries started! :-)Then, when I got a gift card to CompUSA, I found "Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion." Having been turned on to the books by my first cousin (a bad idea on her part, for sure), I eagerly snatched it up and spent hours playing with it. I remember having to order the strategy guide because I missed seeing a vital clue. Regardless, I was hooked on adventure games for good. I got my start at JA when I stumbled upon the site and enjoyed Ray and Randy's hilarious reviews. I emailed Randy and told him I was interested in ‘joining the JA community’ and attached a review of Cameron Files 2 as a resume of sorts. After brief correspondence, my big break came in October of 2003 when Randy asked him to review the latest Nancy Drew game, "Danger on Deception Island."I think my early reviews lacked substance as I tried to figure out how best to go about reviewing, but I believe that I have mastered my own style and take pleasure in reviewing the occasional detective game that comes along. Despite the fact that I cannot find a lot of time for adventure games nowadays, I have played and enjoyed “Scratches,” “Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express,” “Jack Orlando: Director’s Cut,” “Clue Chronicles,” “Tony Tough,” and others. I may be the youngest of the JA crew (not out of high school just yet!), but I still enjoy what I do; my only wish is that I had been born maybe ten years earlier so I could've seen more of the genre's golden age.

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