PC REVIEW: C.S.I.: 3 DIMENSIONS OF MURDER

This latest CSI offering is intended for casual fans of both adventure games and the CSI TV series. The reason that I use the term "casual" is because as a game it's easy and the cast of the TV series is not fully represented - and those that are, suffer from poor rendering and emotionless voice-overs. by Cole Smith

April 10, 2006 - It helps to be a little bit ignorant to truly enjoy CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder. The less you know about crime investigation the better off you will be. It also will be of benefit if you haven't played the last three games in the series, otherwise you'll just find it as nothing more than a continuation of the same old gameplay that you're already overly familiar with. Even though there are new cases which are more involved, they won't present any more of a challenge to veterans.

Vegas is the scene of this game. As a nondescript recruit, you will team up with one member from the TV series as you are handed a case in a murder investigation. All of the crimes involve murder. Your job is to obviously solve the crime through a variety of resources. You begin by visiting the murder scene to collect evidence and clues. You will also interview witnesses and start to put together a list of suspects. Through the latest scientific techniques you will help process evidence and analyze clues which will help you narrow down the list of suspects and build a case against the perpetrator. Once you're sure you have your man, or woman, you arrest them and bring them in to face justice.

Your teammates are there to act as narrators to the story and to also evaluate your prowess on the job. You can ask them questions and they will give you hints. These hints will cost you points on your overall evaluation but that will only result in a lower score. You won't be forced to clean the autopsy table with your tongue.

There's an awful lot of dialog in this game. Everyone but you seems to suffer from verbal diarrhea. There are times when the characters say things that don't make any sense. Other times the story seems to get ahead of itself, especially when you miss an important piece of evidence and the CPU assumes that you have it already. It does tend to spoil a bit of the mystery. There are also missed cues and times when two characters are accidentally triggered to talk at once. Some characters will just stop in mid-sentence - but this is a good thing as they finally shut the hell up.

Despite all of the modern crime-solving technologies, it's incredibly easy to spot the guilty party. It's very predictable. Without trying to give anything away you will notice that you always bring the guilty party in for interrogation in the same order. There are always three suspects and even though the game tries to throw you off at that point, it's too little too late. Still, even though you know who the suspect is, that's not really the point of the game. As in real life you have to build a case around the suspect. You can't just put him or her in jail like Batman and let everyone take your word for it.

At the crime scene you will want to leave no stone unturned. Everything you see should be examined for prints, blood, semen, DNA and other chemical elements. You will use dust to highlight fingerprints, UV lights to illuminate semen, and swabs to take blood and DNA samples. After a couple of crime scene investigations knowing where to look will become second nature.

At the lab you will try to match prints and DNA, analyze chemicals and run ballistic tests on guns and bullets found at the scene. It's satisfying when the evidence begins to confirm your suspicions, even though you "knew it all along." If it were this easy to pick out the perp on the TV show there wouldn't be much of an audience. Somehow it's not that big a deal in the game since you're actually immersed in the forensic activity.

For the first time, the game is presented in 3D. While this may sound like a good idea it's not very well implemented. The environments do not allow free roaming. You can only go to certain areas which aren't blocked by invisible walls. So what's the point of going 3D if you can't explore all of the 3D environment? The characters are messy looking. The faces are somewhat recognizable but they all look as though they've had really bad plastic surgery, like the Joker did in the first Batman movie. That's the second Batman reference I've made. Must make three before the review is over.

Overall 3 Dimensions of Murder is not a bad game. Some will like it more than others but no one is going to claim this is the best game they've ever played. It's a good diversion for an evening but it won't have any lasting appeal. Batman!

Features:

  • NEW 3D graphics: Investigate crime-scenes that are more like the hit TV show than ever. Move around the crime scene and get a close-up look. Feel like you are really using the tools for collection and detection of evidence and interact with the CSI cast like never before.
  • 5 NEW cases with deeper plot lines with shocking twists: Players will be drawn into the action with improved character interaction and longer more immersive cases. The 5 new and distinctive cases will draw players in like never before.
  • NEW Mobile Crime Lab: Just like the hit TV show, CSI 3 Dimensions of Murder features the GMC Mobile Analysis Unit that can be used to analyze evidence quickly in the field.
  • NEW more satisfying evidence analysis: Players will really feel like they are solving the case, not like the computer is solving it for them. Use high tech tools to collect and process evidence such as, Mikrosil casting material, magnetic powder for enhanced finger print analysis and Luminol for detecting traces of blood evidence.
  • The Original CSI series is the #1 hit TV show: CSI 3 Dimensions of Murder returns to the original Vegas-based series. CSI:Crime Scene investigations remains the top show on TV with 26M weekly viewers.

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

Rating out of 5
C.S.I.: 3 Dimensions Of Murder (PC)
2.3
Graphics
The graphics are blurry, muddy and low res. You can't even explore the 3D environment.
3.5
Control
It's fun to play around with all the stuff in the lab but after the third case it all just begins to feel like work.
1.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Terrible voice acting. Cues are triggered accidentally causing characters to talk over each other - or not at all in some cases.
2.0
Play Value
You'll be happy that you solved all of the murders, but you'll also be glad the game is over.
3.3
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: PC
Dev: Telltale
Pub: Ubi Soft
Release: Apr 2006
Players: 1
Review by Cole

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best