PC REVIEW: CSI MIAMI

Fans of the Law & Order games will have every reason to want to play the CSI series - and vice versa. They are both similar in many respects but vary in the details. And if forensics has taught us anything is that it's all in the details.

CSI Miami does not break any real new ground with these new mysteries. What's more of a mystery is why this game is just an updated version of CSI: Dark Motives. It's virtually the same game with different characters.

In real life, the interesting aspect of such a line of work is the unexpected. You never know what your next case may be, although you can be pretty sure it involves a victim, a perpetrator, clues and possibly a witness or two. CSI Miami is totally predictable if you've played Dark Motives. I don't recommend that you play this game if you've played Dark Motives but if you haven't this is the one to play.

I can't say that this game is more fun than watching the show. The level of interaction is limited. Overall the game is much too easy and linear. You have to follow strict procedures which don't seem to apply to the AI. For the most part your sense of freedom is limited to that of an onlooker. Although you can screw up, you can't take the bull by the horns and play a hunch. You will be told when you can progress. To experience any kind of a challenge in CSI Miami I urge you to play the game on the highest difficulty setting.

As a rookie, you'll be introduced to the members of CSI Miami. You will investigate five murders, each with a different member of the Miami team who will help you along. You'll play the Joe-boy in each investigation as you collect the evidence for processing. If you don't collect the evidence that the CPU declares relevant, you will have to go back and find it. Why some evidence is deemed important seems arbitrary. It's never properly explained so regardless of how intellectual and analytical you try to get you can never properly excel in your craft.

Once you have collected the proper amount of evidence you can move on to the next phase which is processing. This involves matching fingerprints and analyzing DNA. You will even have to interrogate suspects although you are limited to specific questions.

At times the CPU gets confused. Things will be mentioned before they happen and things that have already happened will be repeated. Since you're always looking at the CPU for advice and direction, it's hard to place any faith in it when it's so inconsistent.

David Caruso is the only memorable cast member. To say the others are boring would be to give "boring" a bad name. The voiceacting is flat. Stephen Hawking has more inflection and emotion with his digitized voice. Graphically the characters look similar to their real-life counterparts but it's like visiting a wax museum. They don't move around much and when they do the framerate is choppy is uneven. The music is culled from the show and sets a nice tone.

For an evening of near mindless entertainment, CSI Miami may fit the bill. It doesn't require much thinking but since CSI has been doing the thinking for viewers for so many years maybe the majority of the game players will require this level of babysitting.

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System: PC
Dev: 369 Interactive
Pub: Ubi Soft
Release: Nov 2004
Players: 1
Review by Dan
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
2.5
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
1.0