CSI: Fatal Conspiracy Review

  • Posted November 16th, 2010 at 00:54 EDT by Adam Dolge

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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Fatal Conspiracy

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The stories and voice acting in CSI: Fatal Conspiracy are great, but the actual gameplay falls short.

We like

  • Well-written, interesting stories
  • High-quality voice acting
  • Enjoyable enough for fans of the show

We dislike

  • Bland and annoying gameplay--Move support could have saved it
  • Too many tedious activities
  • Poor graphics and character models

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

The world of videogames can be a lonely place, especially if you are an adult and in a serious relationship with someone who isn’t particularly a huge fan of gaming. With that in my mind, we’ve looked for games that have something to offer both the diehard fan and those who still consider gaming nothing more than a childish hobby. A friend of mine told me how a few weeks after he got married, his wife stormed into the living room and taped her ring to his console, simply stating “if you love videogames so much, why don’t you marry them?” True story—we all had a good laugh at that one.

For the sake of this review, I’m going to assume that the diehard fan will want nothing to do with Ubisoft's and Telltale Games' CSI: Fatal Conspiracy, but I’ll give you a personal perspective of how it provided a weekend’s worth of enjoyment for my better half and myself. The game offers many of the same elements seen in the TV show—love them or hate them—including quirky camera angles when looking at evidence, and stories that are a bit bizarre if not incredibly entertaining.

CSI: Fatal Conspiracy is mix of investigating crime scenes, interviewing witnesses, and analyzing evidence for cases that are all tied together, even if it’s only loosely realized in the first couple episodes. There are five levels, called episodes, in the game. Each can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours to complete.

As I started to review this game, my lady watched (as she tends to) and was instantly excited because, unlike me, she is a huge fan of the television series. She filled me in on the characters (all voiced in-game by the actual cast), their roles, personalities, and some of their histories. Each episode is written by writers from the television series, so she said it felt like playing an episode of the show.

The problem with the game is, sadly, there is little to actually play. It’s more of an interactive TV show. You play an unnamed investigator, each episode partnering with another investigator from the show, and are tasked with solving various crimes. The view is first-person, and it’s clear that this game is intended for PC, or at least the Wii (we’ll get to the lack of Move support later). One analog stick moves the camera in a set area, while the other operates a pointer. The pointer changes as you thumb over evidence or find objects or tools to interact with.

The game really needed Move support given its gameplay format. Telltale really missed out by not allowing players to use the Move controller to gently dust for fingerprints or swab to lift DNA. While Fatal Conspiracy has its flaws, not allowing players to use Move is truly a missed opportunity from turning this mediocre game into something relatively interesting.

Moving around the game is extremely frustrating—and that’s not just coming from one of those diehard gamers we mentioned earlier; my fiancé was even more irritated with it than I was. As mentioned above, you have a set area where you can look, and typically only three different locations to investigate. It’s extremely tedious to actually find evidence at times, and it’s even worse when as the player, you see something out of place, but the game makes you wait for a certain point to actually collect that evidence.

This is a common problem through the game. Instead of feeling open to investigate throughout the levels, you feel forced to find specific evidence in order to draw the story further. Sure, there are times in each level when you need a warrant. We found ourselves overly annoyed when we knew we had the evidence, but there wasn’t the right new fingerprint lifted ... (continued on next page)

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