Review by Sean_Nevermore

"More Of The Same, But A Great Addition"

I figured I would get into contributing here on GameFAQs and thought what better way than to start reviewing games for the gaming public. Most of you may or may not know me for posting on various boards on various systems around GameFAQs. If not let me take a moment to introduce myself.

I am a 20-something manager for the dreaded Gamestop Inc. I work in my free time with my own gaming software development company with a few friends we currently go by Midknight Angel Designs. That said I have been gaming for quite a while, single digit ages back on the Atari 2600 that belonged to my uncle. That's enough about me, as I am reviewing a game and not telling my life story, if you wanna know more, just shoot me an email.

CSI: Hard Evidence

I have to say that I was just a little disappointed by the game at first. When I read that there would only be 5 cases available and no downloadable content or expansions, I was put off. For the Xbox 360's power, the game could have been much better, but also could have been much much worse. Leaving it in the hands of Ubisoft, a proven maker of great games, did a bit to ease my fears. The cases themselves are done with the usual point and click interface of all the other CSI games before it, which I have to say is, was, and will always be the best formula. So let's break down the game bit by bit and give you the player, a chance to see what I liked and disliked.

Yes in today's world most gamers expect great graphics. If this is the case, seek life elsewhere. CSI: HE's graphics are the peak of technology, if you're playing an original Xbox at it's best. The character models and low-def crime scenes are detailed very well, however they never quite cross into the realm of next gen expectations. Seeing what Ubisoft has done with games like Rainbow Six and Splinter Cell, which had much more data and still better graphics, I am a bit disappointed that they didn't use the same engine to render this game. That being said, the game isn't action based, and is much shorter than either of the previous two mentioned games, and is visual based. Next go around, Ubisoft should definately improve the graphics engine.

Graphics Score: 5/10

The sound in the game is good enough for what you expect from the game. The sound effects cue in on time, the music is taken directly from the show, and the voice acting sounds great. For the bit part she played, the Jorja Fox sound-alike did decent, I just wish they could get Jorja herself to do a game. Not much changed here from the last game, so they took a wagon that wasn't broken, and used it again. One minus is Grissom's monotonous review at the end of each case. I would have liked specifics and a unique review for each case but, I'm not gonna get petty for what was a minor drag.

Sound Score: 8/10

Expect what you have gotten so far from most point and click games. The interface is that of a mouse-based "find it" mystery. Some of the items and clues are particularly finicky about where the cursor is, and that makes the game a bit more challenging. Each case the first go thru may take a first time layer of the series a couple of hours each, but for experienced vets, you should have no trouble solving each case with a Master rating in about an hour each. One addition I do like is the "find the bug" part of each case. Typically you may not find each bug the first time thru even if you are 100% thorough in your investigation. This adds a little replayability to the game. The game's playability as a whole feels just like a PC-based game and that's really what the games was designed for "Can't Argue with that". I would have liked to have seen a few new features, such as accusing the wrong suspect or being able to accidentaly mishandle evidence. Instead we get the try it again approach which makes the game a little too easy.

Playability Score: 7/10

I add this section simply because it is a review for the Xbox 360 version and I feel that it's necessary to pint it out. The achievement points in the game are straightforward. Finish a case, get 200 points. This really bummed me out because I was hoping to have to work for the 1000 points. Getting achievements for doing various things and doing them with precision would be much more enjoyable than just getting points for doing what you need to do anyway.

Achievement Score: 1/10

CSI: Hard Evidence in the end plays just like I expected it to. I played thru the game in roughly three sitting due to work scheduling. While it was an enjoyable experience, I would have to say you only need to own this if you are a true CSI Fan. The game is short, simple and to the point. If you are unsure about buying this one, rent it first and if you can't finish it in the rental time, maybe a purchase is for you. Either way, you can't argue with the 39.99 USD price tag. In the future I wouldn't mind paying $59.99 USD for say, 12 cases, freedom to make mistakes (risk getting chewed out by Grissom) and some truly tough achievements.

Overall Score: 6/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 10/05/07

Game Release: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Hard Evidence (US, 09/26/07)

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