CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder

Overview:

Creepy factor: 1 (I don't think it's meant to be creepy)

Fun factor: 8

Replay value: 7

Graphics: 7.5

Sound: 9

Puzzle Difficulty: 3.5

Overall: 7.5

Review:

Remember all the times you watch CSI and say ďI could do thatĒ? Well, now you can! I can honestly say that I am a huge fan of CSI as of recently. I started watching the reruns almost religiously and I watch the new episodes whenever I remember to. So, Iíd wanted to get my hands on these games for a while. This is the first one of the series that Iíve played, even though I know itís the third installment. So, I hope that doesnít deter my review.

The game is pretty easy to play; it starts off with a standard menu. Although, there are additional options with this game that donít come with most other point-and-clicks. For example, one of the main features that stands out is the ability to adjust the difficulty of the game. You can choose one of the preset difficulty levels, or custom adjust the gameís features. Each difficulty level either has or doesnít have certain features, like ďhotspotsĒ. Itís actually almost weird not having the hotspots in the game, though, since theyíre in practically every point-and-click game that Iíve played. However, I played with hotspots turned off and found that it wasnít too terribly difficult. Other options include whether or not evidence and areas will be tagged as completely investigated and whether or not investigative tools will highlight themselves when they are needed.

The flow of the game is pretty easy to follow. The clues are practically handed to you and questions answer themselves as you follow a case. The cases pretty much close themselves. I donít think the game can be made more difficult by turning those options on or off either; I think itís just how the game is. But, I forgive the ease of play because I figure that they tried to make CSI3 playable to fans of the TV show.

Keeping in theme with the ease of game play, thereís a tutorial level offered from the main menu. The tutorial level shows how to use the tools in the game and how to look for clues. The idea is solid, but I think they may have made the level a bit too long and slow. It makes it seem like thereís a lot to learn and that youíll forget how to use the menus and things. Actually, though, the menus and tools in the game are really easy to learn and utilize. So, the way that the tutorial level is so long and intimidating is unnecessary.

CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder features five scenarios, each of which gives an opportunity to receive a ranking. The rank that you earn is based on how well you find clues, how many of them you find, whether or not you pursue all leads, and how thoroughly you connect the case together. If you donít get the rank you want, thereís opportunity to redo a case from the beginning for a higher rank.

For each scenario, you get the opportunity to work with one of the CSIís from the show. They ask the questions to the suspects, help in the lab, gives hints, and repeat annoying phrases if you try to search areas with no clues. When you click to look in an area of the game that yields no clues, the CSI will repeat a phrase like ďthe area is clean, good jobĒ, or something similar. Each investigator has their own phrase to repeat; I guess it would be worse if they all said the same exact words. Also note that if you use their hints in the game, it detracts from your rating at the end of the scenario.

In each scenario there are new locations to visit. You get new ones each time a character in the game turns a location into a possible lead. Itís possible to obtain search warrants for locations by gathering enough testimony to validate searching an area. You can also visit Brassí office for clues and warrants, the lab for checking out evidence with your partner to assist, and the morgue and talk to Doc for information on the body.

You can tell that they scanned in the faces of the actors from the show and itís easy to tell who they are. On the other hand, the other characters in the game look less realistic, and more game-y. It looks like their textures and models werenít done the same way; they look more like graphics than actual people. The areas in the game are brightly colored and nice to look at and so are the collectable pieces of evidence.

Throughout the game, there are pieces of evidence to find and collect. You have to select the right tool to detect and/or collect the evidence. If you donít have the right tool selected, the game will tell you to pick another tool. So, itís easy enough to figure out which one to use by way of trial and error. Once you collect evidence, you can further examine it for extra fingerprints, blood, hair, etc. Picking the right tool and finding additional evidence on items is made easier to figure out because of the thorough tutorial level.

Since the actors from the show were used in the game, we get to enjoy their voice acting. Itís like watching the show, only playing it instead. The voice acting from the other characters isnít as good as the investigatorsí, but what can ya do? Some of them even feature cheesy fake accents. Itís not all bad though, and it could definitely be worse.

The game has cool intro scenes to each scenario and video cut-scenes. Like in the show, each case begins with birdís eye view film of Las Vegas. The game also features cut-scenes showing the victimís organs working, bullets being fired, etc Ė all video Ė which is cool. There are also cut-scenes that show possible scenarios between the characters, like in the show. These scenes, however, are not video, but instead feature the in-game graphic character models. The way they made it feel like you are watching the show while youíre playing the game is really cool.

I gave this game a rating of 7.5 because Iím a big fan of the television show. For those players who arenít CSI fans, it might rank lower because of ease of play. But, since it does closely follow the way that the show works, I gave it a higher ranking because I love it. If you love CSI, youíll enjoy playing this game! Itís fun to be able to play the show; this was a great idea possibly inspired by the X-Files point-and-click.