First off, if you are a fan of the TV show CSI
, you probably don't need my recommendation as you have already bought the game, beaten it and are working on opening all the extras. However, if you are unsure, let me put your fears to rest. There's always that nagging thought in the back of a fan's head as to whether a game based on a TV show will live up to what is expected. (*cough* X Files from a few years back. *cough*) CSI
goes above and beyond my expectations in almost every category.
First off, the game's storyline was written by Max Allan Collins, a writer for the television show, so it maintains the same feel. You'll begin your 'training' as a rookie CSI in the hands of Gil Grissom, and in the beginning, you'll be guided along. There's always a familiar CSI face with you on the case, and should you get snagged, you can ask them a question about a certain piece of evidence you have already collected should you be unsure of what to do with it. Personally, I didn't find this all that helpful as they always told you something obvious like 'bring it to Greg to analyze' or something similar, plus in asking for hints, your 'evaluation score' is lowered. Gil does your evaluation at the end of each mission and based on the percentage of evidence collected and how many hints you used (or didn't use), you are assigned a score and ranking. This determines how many of the 10 extras for each mission you open up. On my first run through the game, I consistently opened 6 out of 10 and those were concept art. Supposedly, there are other cooler extras to be seen, but I haven't gone back to beat the game at 100 percent - yet.
Your missions involve murder, arson, drugs, casino connections and cheating spouses and I was quite pleased how several of them were interconnected. Among your resources are a bevy of collection and detection tools like swabs for DNA and Luminol to reveal blood stains. Choosing the right tool for the job is the only way to gather the evidence properly and if you grab the wrong one, your CSI buddy is there to advise otherwise. Another huge part of solving the crime is bringing the evidence to be processed by Greg at the lab, or doing research yourself. You can check and compare items under the microscope, run tire treads, footprints and fingerprints in the computer to check databases, and there's even a point where you jump on a web chat to try and catch a suspect. Al the Coroner and Capt. Jim Brass are there to help you out as well when the need arises. Beating a mission means finding a suspect that has the means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime. There are cut scene Reinactments available throughout the game just as there are in the show and they open up as you put pieces of the puzzles together. This adds yet one more excellent touch to the game's presentation.