CSI: Deadly Intent Review
Written : Monday, January 04, 2010
By: Lee Abrahams (GT: jackanape)
There comes a time when you really have to wonder what goes on in some developer's minds – that time came with the last CSI game which was more of a slightly interactive TV show if truth be told and had no really fun elements to speak of. Sadly it seems as if the game did well enough to spawn a sequel, but what lessons will have been learnt from the rather dull first offering? Hopefully this time around we will have more of a fun experience at our disposal, although we've not set our hopes too high.
Staring at a corpse’s breasts... how rude!
Developers Telltale Games have plenty of experience with the point and click genre, with games like Sam and Max and the Wallace and Gromit series under their belt. However, the former CSI game is also on their resume and that was far from being even remotely enjoyable. Can they input some much needed character and entertainment into this series or will it just play out like a particularly tedious episode? After some extensive play time, it is certainly looking like the latter.
Straight from the off it is apparent that this is a game for CSI enthusiasts only. None of the characters are properly introduced and the tutorial sections, such as they are, feel like more of a slap in the face to get you going rather than true help. The basic premise of the game is to solve all five cases with the assistance of one of the established CSI team. As this is Vegas, you are not just dealing with regular stiffs either as your case load includes a fire breather, a TV hostess, an MMA fighter, a cross dresser and a prostitutes. All in a days work I suppose.
And AGAIN! Has this man no shame?.
The real problem with the game is that is does not really play out like a game at all. Each case just feels like an episode of the show with sections that you can interact with - you could almost play this using a remote control such is the simplicity of events. You basically have to examine every location for evidence, analyse it at the lab and then interrogate suspects which may, in turn, lead to new evidence and locations. Simply repeat that formula ad infinitum until the case is cracked and then move onto the next one. You never feel too involved and the whole thing is far too simple.
In order to collect evidence you have a whole range of tools at your disposal and, if you get stuck, you can get hints about what to use. Sadly it just means breaking out a certain tool and then clicking on an area to use it on. Hardly taxing and there were even a couple of items I did not use even once throughout the entire game – raising the question of why they were included to begin with. Back in the lab you can get a bit more involved by matching up DNA, fingerprints, microscopic evidence and audio samples. They all involve a basic mini game to match things up but you soon know what to look for and can just breeze through them with ease. Again, you will seem to use certain lab machines far more often than others which leads to the whole thing getting alarmingly repetitive.
At least the game has the look and feel of the series. All of the characters are present and correct and sound fairly decent too, though there is that faintly bored and emotionless feel to some of their dialogue that suggests they were not totally into this specific performance. The graphics this time around are slightly better too, though that is not really saying much. The lip syncing is still comically off at times and most locations are totally devoid of interactivity or people. Still, there is at least some amusing banter between the team, and interrogating people is always fun, especially when you break them.
Examining towels – yes the thrills come thick and fast.
Looking at the achievements you would be fooled into thinking they took a lot more effort than the paltry five that graced the last title – but you would be wrong. Basically playing through the game will net you everything, assuming you make careful saves to ensure you get the 100% ratings on at least one case. Besides that there are a few side puzzles (one per case) where you help someone else in the lab to net some more very easy points. Frankly you might even complete this game faster than the first and the lack of variety here is staggering. Enjoy the easy one thousand points I guess.
Another shockingly bad game, that does not really deserve to be called a game at all as the level of involvement is pretty much nil. As a point and click game, which is about the best description I can give it, there are far better examples on the market that all have far more interesting stories and puzzles, not to mention the fact that this feels rushed out to cash in on the franchise's popularity. No doubt this will be played by any number of people interested in a quick one thousand points, but as a rental rather than a full purchase. Anyone else, even CSI fans, should steer well clear.
At least there is some voice work to comment on, but the script is laughable at times and all of the actors sound like they are just going through the motions.
In a word, rough. The characters barely look like their real life counterparts and the lip syncing is shocking. All of the locations are decidedly static and void of any depth or texture to speak of. Frankly a flash game could do better.
What playability? Highlight objects then either pick them up or swab them, before you then go back to the lab and examine them some more. Fun times and when you have to repeat those same steps for eight hours, it soon wears thin.
As a game, this is sub par, but as a bunch of CSI episodes, then fans may get some fun out of them. This is probably about as close to the series as a game could get, which isn't saying much.
It may look like a better list than the first game but do not let that fool you, as you can get the full one thousand points in the exact same amount of time and all of the tasks are pretty much what you would have to do to complete the game anyway. Lazy.
This is not a game, it is just a bunch of barely interactive episodes of the show and as such is only suitable for die hard fans and people in need of a quick gamerscore boost. Everyone else should steer well clear as there is precious little fun to be had here and the whole thing soon gets mindlessly repetitive.