CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder
First posted on 06 February 2010. Last updated on 19 January 2013.
CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder (also known as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - 3 Dimensions of Murder) is a first-person point-and-click adventure game based on the popular CSI: Crime Scene Investigation television series. Unlike previous titles in the CSI series, this title is developed by Telltale Games rather than 369 Interactive. The game features the voices of some, but not all, of the main cast from the television series, including William Petersen (as Gil Grissom), George Eads (as Nick Stokes), Gary Dourdan (as Warrick Brown), Eric Szmanda (as Greg Sanders), Paul Guilfoyle (as Jim Brass), and Robert David Hall (as Al Robbins). Marg Helgenberger and Jorja Fox no longer provide the voices of Catherine Willows and Sara Sidle; instead, Edie Mirman and Kate Savage provide likenesses of their voices for the game.
Once again, the player takes on the role of a new recruit in the Las Vegas Crime Lab. After being debriefed by Gil Grissom, the player is assigned to work with other CSI staff on a series of crime cases. These cases are akin to those dramatized in the television series. However, much of the game's focus is about learning and executing correctly the many protocols and tools used in crime scene investigation.
CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder features 5 cases to solve:
Case 1—Picture at an Execution: A day before her wedding, a woman is killed at an art gallery. A missing hawk statue is the suspected murder weapon. The player works with Warrick Brown to solve the case.
Case 2—First Person Shooter: At a video game expo, the CEO of a popular video game company is killed. His dead body is left in a pose that mirrors the pose from the video game promotional poster. The player works with Nick Stokes to solve the case.
Case 3—Daddy's Girl: The apartment of a casino heiress becomes a crime scene when her blood is discovered spattered all over the apartment. Her body is missing. The player works with Sara Sidle to solve the case.
Case 4—Rough Cut: In the Nevada desert, the body of a son of a prominent real estate developer is discovered. The player works with Greg Sanders to solve the case.
Case 5—The Big White Lie: In an alley, a shady private investigator is found shot dead. The player works with Gil Grissom and Catherine Willows to solve the case.
CSI 3: Dimensions of Murder is a notable improvement from previous CSI titles in many ways. The game now adds a mobile evidence processing unit (on a GMC Yukon SUV) to process the evidence collected at the scene. The game also features improved graphics and cut scenes, including real video footages of Las Vegas shot at night. Both pre-rendered and real-time rendered 3D models are now used (hence, the subtitle 3 Dimensions of Murder). The player can pane around the crime scene and examine in close-up objects other than those collected as evidence. The cursor changes to a bubble shaped question mark when the player asks questions to or interrogates another character. The player can also collect testimonials from suspects or witness. The Evidence Trinity looks better and is easier to visualize than in the previous games.
A multitude of tools are available to the player to conduct the crime scene investigation. As in previous games, the tools are categorized into tools for Evidence Collection and tools for Evidence Detection. Unlike previous games, however, evidence can now be zoomed in and rotated in 360° (top, down, and sideways) for detailed examination. The Evidence Collection and Evidence Detection are now displayed as a toolbox. The toolbox icon opens when evidence can be collected or processed. A digital camera has been added to the toolkit to photograph the crime scene. The lab now has a DNA machine to compare and analyze DNA samples. Guns can be disassembled on the work bench for ballistics comparison. As before, the lab can conduct trace evidence analysis, chemical analysis, and comparative microscopy.
The game characters look more realistic in this game than in past games, though the animations still look wooden at times. The voiceovers of the main cast are all competently done. With few exceptions, the voiceovers of the secondary cast are surprisingly good.
The game offers 3 preset levels of difficulty (Normal, Advanced, Expert) that are entirely customizable and can be changed on the fly even in mid of a case. There are 5 difficulty settings, each of which can be enabled or disabled: Active Navigation Hotspots, Active Tool Hotspots, Evidence Tagging, Location Tagging, Tool Assist. Enabling tagging is particularly helpful. It alerts the player when all investigations have been exhausted for a particular piece of evidence or location. There is even a tutorial (Training Level) to introduce novice gamers to the mechanics of the gameplay for the series.
All the cases are interesting to solve, each with a nice twist. In the tradition of past games, the last case ties elements from all previous cases. Some cases contain particularly gruesome details about the murder that sensitive gamers may find objectionable. The player can seek hints at any time from the CSI staff who is working as partner on the case. This, however, will lower the player's score for the game. At the each of the case, the player's performance is evaluated and a ranking is given (from worst to best: Rookie, Investigator, Master). The case can be replayed again to achieve a better ranking. Unlike previous games, there is no hidden bonus material offered to the player as a reward for solving all the cases in this game.
Overall, compared to previous CSI titles, CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder is a superior title in both gameplay and production. Fans of CSI will enjoy yet another opportunity to solve crime with their favorite CSI characters.