|System: X360, Wii, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Telltale Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 15, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
From the forensic tools and the series' staple locations, to the gruesome crime scenes and the interaction with the show's stars, Hard Evidence oozes with true CSI style. It does stumble a bit with its tedious interrogations; slogging through text-heavy conversations isn't nearly as exciting as unlocking that final, case-breaking clue. And, to be honest, "exciting" may not be the best way to describe anything in the game. It has its moments, but they're delivered through the cerebral satisfaction of problem solving rather than the adrenaline-fueled action that many gamers are accustomed to.
If you're a hardcore CSI fan, or someone who misses old-school PC adventures, you should enjoy Hard Evidence's simple, yet satisfying gameplay. But if you're looking for car chases and fire fights, then this one will put you out faster than a bottle of Nyquil. This being the case, Hard Evidence is very accessible to the casual gamer. In addition to the easy-to-learn controls and gameplay, it also offers a hint system, so stumped CSI-wannabes will never be left scratching their heads at a confusing crime scene. Simply ask your partner, who'll always be by your side, and they'll point you in the right direction.
Hard Evidence's visual and audio presentation is pretty weak, but it does pull off the important stuff--the series' characters, environments and voice-overs--well enough that fans of the show should get a kick out of Grissom and the gang doing their thing. The occasional videos, showcasing a crime's dirty details, are also a nice touch; you'll get a closer-than-you-like look at how a person chokes on their own vomit. Which reminds us, if that image, as well as the aforementioned used condom and charred cab driver didn't tip you off, Hard Evidence is just as mature as its television counterpart. Best keep this one out of the same pile as Super Mario Galaxy and Wii Sports, lest your little one mistakingly finds their Wii-mote swinging a DNA swab instead of a baseball bat.
There's no mystery here: Hard Evidence is squarely aimed at the casual gamer and/or CSI-addicted fan. No new gaming ground is broken, and players looking for a "gamers" game won't find it here. However, if a simple, occasionally plodding, procedural crime adventure appeals to you, then you could do worse than joining Gil Grissom's crew in this true-to-tv-show experience. Just be sure to slather on plenty of disinfectant when you're done.
CCC Freelance Writer