Jud’s Game Rating:
Graphics: **** Player participation (PP) **** Satisfaction Factor (SF) ***
Frustration Factor (FF) *** Fair Play (FP) *** Tedium Factor ****
I want to say from the outset that I have been disappointed with this game. I had high expectations thinking it would be like CSI, but it wasn’t.
You’ll see by my ratings that there was a high TF – this was due to the fact that there was a black-screen loading pause between scenes/sites every single time you moved. And while patience is a virtue, by the end of the game I was feeling neither patient nor virtuous. So the SF of finally reaching the end was more one of relief. While the CSI games draw me back again and again to replay them, I doubt if this will do the same.
Having said that, this is not a bad game. I did like the stories of the two Cases – the second Case being unlocked by completing the first – dealing as they do with serial murders and terrorism. The Investigations were interesting and could be elaborated on when required.
There is an Auto-Tutorial when you start and this is essential as the game-play is a little unusual in places, and rather awkward at times – things don’t open or connect easily, so the game-play is not smooth. There are Casual and Expert Modes – I played Casual and I would hate to see how frustrating and tedious it would be in Expert. It is a Hidden Object game as well as a Crime game, but I would not describe it as an Adventure game.
There is a fair bit of Point and Click, a few Puzzles – I especially like the sneaky codes, and the Profiling puzzle they use as you progress and need to go over what you have found out – and HO scenes in little clusters. These contain some blue scrambled clues that you need to either decipher yourself or find question marks which unscramble them. The excess question marks then add to your Hints.
You can click on Hints to gain the sequence of steps required for a specific Task, but as they are intertwining, this is not always as helpful as you would expect. You have a basic Task list you can check separate from the Hints, in case you can’t remember where you were up to in the game – especially on returning to it after some time.
The Graphics are okay – not terrific, but okay. The Game Play is tiresome, with far too much traipsing back and forth, which can’t be accomplished at anything like a reasonable pace. If you could flick back and forth it would be fine. As usual the Graphics could be clearer and less affected by atmospherics and blurriness, but they depict their locations authentically.
The characters are fine – voice actors would be appreciated, and would liven it up somewhat – and you play as various members of the FBI Behavioural Unit. You change characters for specific tasks, as you need different skills while investigationg the crime. This is both cool, and confusing at times especially when you find you don’t have things in your Inventory that were collected by previous character – though of course some are passed on.
Case One: A DYING ART ‘Mysterious paintings of a dead woman appear, as a serial killer terrorizes a small artistic community in downtown Austin.’ As more people die, so more paintings are found, exposing the nature of the killer to the Profilers.
Case Two: NO SPARK ‘A complex and dangerous spark timer that is used in explosive devices is stolen from a downtown Seattle hospital.’ To access the diagnostic machine it was taken from, the thief needed to have access to staff only areas. Are they acting alone or is there a potential bomb-team in the city?
For those who like Crime games, give the free trial of this a try. You may enjoy it – especially if you haven’t played any of the CSI games. If you have played CSI games then you may need to check out my blogs about them, and the Problems and Solutions blog as well, as they also come with some fixable glitches caused by the progress of technology.
(C) Copyright Jud House 20/05/2012
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