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Written by  :  vicrabb (7291)
Written on  :  Apr 27, 2008
Platform  :  Nintendo DS
Rating  :  2.33 Stars2.33 Stars2.33 Stars2.33 Stars2.33 Stars

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CSI strikes on DS... but don't expect a great game!

The Good

I love the CSI games. Where a lot of professionals see an average or a mediocre game, I always find myself enjoying it... until the famous annoying banner that the HUD is strikes a nerve. So, finding that CSI was released on DS, I knew that I needed to have one copy. Why? I'm in a period you can call "writing soluces" and I didn't want to install again CSI: Dark Motives on my computer. Another reason was my curiosity about changes between the two versions. But when I saw the price, I was asking myself if I needed to spend 40 euros for a game I already had on another gaming system. Well, guess what? I couldn't resist.

So, CSI: Dark Motives comes back, three years after its PC release, on DS. It isn't a surprise as CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murders is released at the same time on PS2 and that Hard Evidence, the latest game, on XBox 360 and Wii. Clearly, Ubisoft had the intention to expand the series on consoles, with more or less success.

You already understood that Dark Motives didn't change a bit of the storyline or cases from the PC version: still a rookie working in Grissom's team, with five cases to solve with the help of Brass, Sanders and Robbins and under the supervision of Stokes, Sidle, Willows, Brown and Gris himself. What? Why Sanders isn't working on the field with you when he is a CSI in the series? Remember, the original game was released in 2004 and he wasn't a CSI working on the field at that time. So, for the DS game, he is still a lab technician even if you can watch him now doing investigations. Finally, if you've played the PC version, like me, you risk to have a feeling of deja-vu and you'll think that you'll beat the game in hours. Wrong. But first, I'll review the good points.

Despite coming back to a frustrating system and a limited freedom after tasting it with 3 Dimensions of Murder and Hard Evidence, gameplay is practically the same as on PC. You still need to point (without clicking) on the interesting areas, with the stylus, and choose the right tool for collecting or detecting it. And you still need to give them to Greg in order to analyze it or to digitalising it for the microscope or the traces computer. If you're used to play CSI, you already know that the DNA computer isn't really a new feature (contrary to the PC version where DNA computer was making its appearance). Nothing new here. Only that your case is displayed on the top screen with some explanations about the controls. Well, it's the DS, so, you can understand that the game is only trying to get the best from the console.

Graphics didn't change since the PC version, it's still the 369 Interactive graphic engine and well, it's enough for the DS. And for the soundtrack, it was a great pleasure to listen again to the menu music. In-game tracks are also good, I mean, it's sticking to CSI spirit.

And guess what? The HUD banner on DS isn't as annoying as on PC. Yep, for once, I think that it's more playable and more comfortable.

The Bad

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the worst about Dark Motives DS. And it's not a small list!

First of all, if gameplay didn't really change, I'm cursing the genius who thought that using the stylus for moving the screen in order to investigate the rest of the location was the only way to do it. As a result, on the first case, I've pointed to Catherine, making her ask if I needed a hint. Well, hating to ask to my partner a question because it would be decreasing my final points and preventing me to reach the Expert rank, I didn't really like the idea to make an error because of a gameplay problem. Also, the speed of the moving is too fast. You'll make some turns on yourself and trying to get to a spot for the third or fourth time is getting on my nerves.

The DS small screen is also an obstacle to spotting evidences. . And I guarantee that doing so or zooming on areas with evidences is nearly impossible without one of help options activated.

Also, you had no voice acting for the characters. Oh, I can understand, we're on DS, it's not my computer. But, I can't help but I feel so lonely without having voice acting, it was one of the strong points of the CSI game.

Having play the game on PC and being someone who's rarely stuck, I must admit that I was on fury to find that I couldn't pass the first case rapidly because of the difficulty to collect a print on a envelope with the ninhydrin whereas on PC, it was "fingers on the nose". A lot of DS players are asking help in that matter and people who finished the game can only say the location and words of courage. Well, guess what? In each case, you'll find a similar problem: when it's not the series number on the wheelchair in the second case, it's the blood on the wall in the third case or the wound on the deceased woman in fourth case. As for the fifth case, it's the garbage in the funeral house that caused me problems. So, you're always one way or another stuck and trying and trying again to take the evidence until you can scream "Victory!". And I'm still regretting the fact that I'm not playing on my computer.

And last but not least, you'll be an expert without bonus. Is it because it's the DS or is it a choice? As you know, when you're not asking any hint to Grissom, Cath, Warrick, Nicky or Sara and if you find all the evidences, you'll reach the expert rank. In the PC world, that would mean bonus available. Not in the DS world. What a pity!

The Bottom Line

I'm disappointed by the lack of visibility for evidences, forcing the players to play with a minimal difficulty, by the lack of music (but I admit that Hard Evidence is influencing me), by no real improvement (but it's practical for writing a walkthrough for PC and DS) and by the gameplay, not disastrous but very special and not balanced. If I wasn't objective and without forgetting that some people didn't play it on PC, the game would have earned a 3/10. However, I still think that if you hadn't played CSI on PC, you can give a try to this version, which can lead you to try it on PC and perhaps leading you to try the other games.