As in previous games, there are 5 cases to be solved with Gil Grissom, Catherine Willows and the other Las Vegas crime lab squad members. Questioning suspects and witnesses, collecting evidence and piecing together the puzzle of the cases are all part of the gameplay.
Additional forensic and investigation tools have been added including a large impound area where vehicles and boats can be searched for evidence. Players will also find more interaction with the lab equipment as well as improved in-game hints.
If you manage to solve all five cases with a "Master" rating from Grissom, you unlock a special award: a simple blackjack simulation.
CSI: Hard Evidence contains massive product placement.
HP: all notebooks and most TV screens in the game are HP models and clearly feature the HP logo.
Dyson: one piece of evidence is a Dyson Root 6 vacuum cleaner, which has to be scrutinized closely on the examination table and turned on to witness it in action.
Chrysler: the car under scrutiny in the CSI garage in case 4 is a spotless Chrysler Town & Country. The inspection includes an automated cutscene fly-through of the interior, with the backsides of all seats sporting big, bright Chrysler logos.
Visa: the Visa logo is prevalent through the entire game, most notably during a jigsaw sequence in which players have to reassemble a broken glass pane from a store counter marked with a big Visa sticker. As part of one investigation, players have to track account data of a credit card. Brass relates the results, stating: "Good folks over there at Visa!"