Law & Order: Criminal Intent
is a little more freeform than previous games and, as a result, turns out to be a much better game than past titles. At the start of the game you, as Detective Goren, are given a case load of three cases that you must solve. You’re free to solve the cases in any order you choose, and sometimes they may even intersect with one another. As you solve cases, you’ll slowly begin to unravel a fourth crime that may tie into the three cases you’re already working on.
From the start, I loved Criminal Intent’s case system. The past two Law & Order games stuck to one case that didn’t allow for much, if any, replay value. While the four cases presented here aren’t that replayable, the added number of cases should keep you busy for a little longer than the past two games. The cases are also a little more brutal than the “cute” cases seen in past games. The game is rated M for a reason.
Since his partner isn’t around, Goren’s main lifeline in the game is his PDA. This allows him to travel between locations, store notes about the case, and even store evidence for when you want to show it to a suspect/witness. The PDA also serves as Goren’s main communication tool as he tries to get in touch with witnesses, suspects, and even the precinct. Another VERY useful tool is your profiler which, when evidence is dropped into it, will determine if the evidence is useful enough when profiling your suspect. Basically, think of the profiler as the other players in “Clue” who, as they make their guesses, help to narrow down the list of suspects to just one or two. Having played the past Law & Order games, I found the profiler to be a handy little tool that helped to take some of the frustrating guesswork out of the game.
In addition to solving cases, you’ll also have to solve a few puzzles, which range from easy to frustratingly hard. Having to solve puzzles added a new dimension to the game, though I was disappointed that more weren’t included.