I would like to begin my game reviews with the Series of CSI Games by Ubisoft.
To state the obvious: in the CSI SERIES there are now 8 GAMES each containing 5 CASES. There is also a 1 FACEBOOK GAME.
I have been a fan of these games for years – since the first one CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION came out.
CSI Series Pattern
There is a pattern which has been implemented for all the CSI game series – except I believe the Facebook game CIS: CRIME CITY – using the formula of 4 individual complete cases culminating in a final 5th case, where characters and storylines converge into the final narrative.
With storylines and characters that are memorable, enjoyable, varied and (as mentioned) complete for each case, you can play just one case at a time, without feeling that you haven’t finished. But the result derived from this final narrative, plus the intrigue, the interactive searching for, collecting and processing of the clues/evidence, and the solving of the crimes, leaves the player with the SATISFACTION FACTOR. I must say there is a degree of smugness linked with this satisfaction. (see Crime and Hidden Object games page for more details)
This varies from Game to Game. There was quite a lot of interaction in the first Game, though the Cases were quite short. In the next few Games, the Cases became more complex and thus longer, which increased the SATISFACTION FACTOR considerably.
As the Games continued, most of the changes made are improvements, but by the last 2 Games – DEADLY INTENT and FATAL CONSPIRACY – the player participation has been eroded. Though the player still does some of the collection of evidence from the body, half the process has been automated.
Now, in FATAL CONSPIRACY, when you spray a fingerprint or possible blood spot, the game automatically collects it with adhesive tape or swab. In HARD EVIDENCE you not only locate the sample/evidence but also collect it. As far as player involvement goes I think maybe HARD EVIDENCE is the best, but DEADLY INTENT does provide fair involvement with good collection and interesting processing facilities for the player.
I did wonder if it were possible that the game creators, were instructed to sanitize the game to comply with anti-violence codes? It would explain the way the player is no longer involved in collecting evidence from the body.
I believe that the degree of sophistication has led to an over-refinement of the Game format. This has led the Game creators to overlook the most important factor – THE END USER aka THE PLAYER!
It is vital that the early games are played on a computer with older programming. Otherwise opening problems will occur. You can reset them, if you think the Graphics would be better in XP or an older setting, using the Windows 7/Control Panel/Troubleshooting/Earlier Versions prompts. (See Problems and Solutions page for more details)
Most of the Series puts a game shortcut onto the screen – some of which allow you to play the installed game from the Hard Drive, while others still require you to insert the requested disc to activate the Game. This is regardless of the use of Full Install.
It’s a little thing, I know, but the boffins need to think like players. And if they want us to be addicted to their games, they need to make it as easy as possible for us to gain access!
With each successive game the graphics improved substantially, from good softened 3D characters and clear surrounds to extremely crisp almost CG 3D in the latest game FATAL CONSPIRACY. There is still room for improvement with body movements, shoulders on some characters, lip syncing on others, but they are still excellent.
The graphics for CSI:NY and CSI:CRIME CITY (Facebook) are different versions of cartoon format, requiring different degrees of expertise from the players. Neither adequately fit the main CSI pattern of style or play.
If you’re an experienced Facebook game player then the recently launched CSI: CRIME CITY with its ‘fun’ cases – and despite not requiring the same level of investigation – is worth checking out at http://www.facebook.com/CSIcrimecity. Be warned that Facebook games seem to be designed to be addictive!
I tried to get into the online game but found it a little confusing re the ‘controls’ – I knew what I wanted to do, or to look at, but found it difficult to work out HOW to make the character do it. So luckily I found it more frustrating than addictive – but I know of others who are hooked.
There are patches available for all the CSI SERIES. If you GOOGLE ubisoft+csi+patch it brings up a page that gives all the CSI patches. Ubisoft are the top few, with link to MORE before the other websites are displayed. Click on more to get ALL the UBISOFT CSI PATCHES. Follow the prompts.
Request for Up-Grade Patches
My last comment is a request to Ubisoft. Please make Up-Grade Patches – or completely new disks – for all early CSI Games? By this I mean revisit all their previous CSI games, and bring them up-to-date graphically, and technically, so that they will play on current computers.
Ubisoft have the registrations of all purchasers/owners, so they could send out catch-up disks, or at least the offer of such via email to them all. It would be a good promotional campaign for Ubisoft world-wide. And if that is too expensive disk-wise, Ubisoft could email their customers the link to the correct Patch site to access the patches for the new graphics up-date.
Ubisoft marketing people and techs need to know that the early CSI Games were great and only need up-dating to make them viable again. Otherwise they need to put pressure on the QuickTime company to stop overwriting their previous levels with each up-date – this overwriting render the early Games unplayable on the latest computers.
(C) Copyright Jud House 12/04/2011
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