CSI: NY - The Game
First posted on 01 August 2011. Last updated on 19 January 2013.
CSI: NY - The Game is the sixth title in the long running CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) series. However, this is the first title in the series to be developed by Legacy Interactive, a game studio better known as a developer of casual games. The game is based on the American television show of the same name. Like previous games, this game features the voices of the main cast from the television series, including Gary Sinise (as Mac Taylor), Melina Kanakaredes (as Stella Bonasera), Anna Belknap (as Lindsay Monroe), Carmine Giovinazzo (as Danny Messer), Robert Joy (as Sid Hammerback), Hill Harper (as Sheldon Hawkes), and Eddie Cahill (as Don Flack). Unlike previous games, you do not play as a nameless CSI recruit. Instead, you take on the role of either Mac Taylor or Stella Bonasera, who must work together with the other members of the CSI team to solve the cases.
CSI: NY - The Game features 5 cases (episodes) to solve:
Case 1—Downward Spiral: A man has fallen from top of a hotel building. It is either a homicide or a suicide. The player plays as Mac Taylor to solve the case.
Case 2—Just Desserts: A food critique is found dead inside a freezer of a restaurant that is about to open. The player plays as Stella Bonasera to solve the case.
Case 3—Off the Mark: A woman is found dead inside a magic theatre, and another woman is found dead on a construction site. The player plays as Stella Bonasera to solve the case.
Case 4—Hillridge Confidential: A blogger is killed as fans are watching her online. The player plays as Mac Taylor to solve the case.
Case 5—Derailed: A body of an accused rapist is found in a metro station. To the team's surprise, the evidence connects Mac Taylor to the murder. The player plays as Mac Taylor who must now defend himself as a suspect.
Cases 1-4 are included on the disc in the retail release of the game, whereas Case 5 is available only as downloadable content from the publisher and can be played only after completion of the previous cases. A patch (version 1.01) to the game is also required to play the downloadable content.
Though CSI: NY - The Game is still a point-and-click adventure game, the game's presentation differs significantly from that of previous games in the series. Instead of realistic 3D graphics that are used in previous games, the game has opted to use cartoon styled 2D graphics. Further, there is no ability to pan around the crime scenes. The game's puzzles are now a combination of mini-games and hidden object games. In order to collect evidence from a crime scene, the player must first complete the accompanied mini-games or hidden object games. Solving the mini-games unlocks the necessary forensic tools to investigate the crime scene. For the hidden object games, the player must match the objects to be collected, which are displayed as silhouettes on the status bar, to the same objects that are hidden in the crime scene. If the player fails to find the correct object after clicking on the crime scene too many times, the mouse cursor will vanish for a while before it will reappear again. It is strange that some of the objects to be collected from the crime scene do not seem relevant to the case that is being investigated. For gamers who find hidden objects games to be a challenge, there is a built-in hint system. Clicking on it highlights the location of the object to be collected. Unlike previous games, there are no separate tools for evidence collection and evidence detection. In addition, the appropriate forensic tool is automatically chosen for the player, depending on the evidence that is being processed. To collect stains or footprints, the player must complete a mini-game in which the player has to place paper strips on the stain or footprint in such a way that it covers the whole stain or footprint. To collect blood, the player must draw an outline carefully around the blood spot. If the player fails to complete the tracing, the outline will need to be redrawn all over again.
Mini-games are also used to process the evidence that have been gathered. These mini-games include those used for DNA or molecular separation, fingerprint construction, facial reconstruction, physics simulation, code breaking, X-ray image analysis, and others. There is even a mini-game akin to the game of Concentration. While some of the mini-games for processing evidence are interesting to play (for example, to triangulate a shooter's position), others can get monotonous and repetitive. The game allows the player to skip up to 2 puzzles to proceed further into the investigation.
Interrogating or questioning suspects in this game takes a somewhat different approach. Like previous games, the player can interrogate a suspect by clicking on a series of questions displayed on screen. Unlike previous games, however, certain keywords are underlined in the answers or questions. The player can then click on the underlined keywords to question the suspect further and gather more information. In addition, the player can drag an object onto the suspect to question the suspect about the collected evidence. This is not possible in previous games of the series. Moreover, the investigation will automatically move onward from location to location once all the tasks in the current location are completed. The player needs not to manually click on the different locations to advance the investigation.
Despite the change in production quality, the graphics are still pleasing, and the sounds effects and the background music are also good. The dialogs are witty at times, but the actors often sound as if they are just uninterested in their roles, thus making the dialogs a bit dry.
To the developer's credit, all of the cases in this game are interesting to solve, with just enough twists and surprises that will satisfy most fans of the television show. Still, when compared to previous games in the CSI series, the gameplay in this game is a large letdown. The mini-games to collect and process evidence are just too repetitive and boring. While CSI: NY - The Game will undoubtedly be enjoyed by a few fans of the series, the game is more of a casual game than a full-fledged adventure.