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Reviewers Mixed On 'Dark Motives'

By Kristine
April 23, 2004 - 9:24 PM

The reviews have been pouring in for the recently released CSI: Dark Motives, and they have been fairly mixed, though most agree Dark Motives surpasses the first CSI computer game, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

At CNN.com, Mark Saltzman finds Dark Motives finds the cases to be more challenging and more varied than those in the first CSI game.

    Dark Motives is better than the first game in this series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. These cases are tougher to solve, there are more options for players and there are unlockable bonuses for successfully completing each mission. The game is relatively short--seven or eight hours--and some minor bugs might cause the game to repeat narrator dialogue or fail to show an onscreen menu.

Saltzman ultimately concludes that, "[o]verall, Dark Motives is an example of how a game based on a television show can be done right. It may not be a long adventure, but it's a fun challenge."

Tim Hanson at Warcry.com finds the interface easy to use and the casefile that collects all the information you gather on the case handy. Hanson finds the graphics to be a mixed bag:

    The graphics in this game are fairly high quality and tend to be well done. I was disappointed at the lack of animation, the use of which seems limited to people talking and the movie-like cut scenes. The cinematics included were high quality, but may make more squeamish people turn away at some points as a few focus on internal organs. One thing missing in them is facial expressions, which, while a minor annoyance, is something that ought to be there and would really help in the story delivery.

Hanson believes the game will appeal to CSI fans, but thinks others might find it too short and somewhat boring. He also noted there were only five cases, therefore limiting replayability. Overall, Hanson gave the game a score of 6.5, with the breakdown being: 6.0 for Gameplay, 7.0 for Sound, 7.5 for Interface, 7.0 for Graphics, and 5.5 for Entertainment.

Mikel Reparaz at the Marin Independent Journal found the game to be rather run-of-the-mill:

    The game's biggest problem is its rigidity. While players have a fair amount of freedom to point and click around each scene, the environments themselves are static screens that can't really be explored. The plot is extremely linear, and deviation from the intended progression of events isn't really allowed. You can't finger the wrong suspect, die or otherwise fail the case, and there's no time limit or penalty for doing something wrong.

Though he finds the graphics unimpressive, Reparaz does believe Dark Motives captures the spirit of CSI. He concludes that "CSI: Dark Motives seems geared toward fans of the series who might not normally play games, but who wouldn't mind working their way through a unchallenging, but entertaining, interactive mystery."

At Gamespot.com, Alex Navarro rates CSI: Dark Motives at a 6.3, which is a "fair" score at the site. Like other reviewers, Navarro also finds the game will have appeal for fans, but not average gamers: "[S]erious adventure gamers will find little use for Dark Motives, though serious fans of the TV show will likely take something positive away from it," he said.

Navarro does praise the cases the game presents:

    Each of the game's mysteries is pretty unique and well written, and they range from investigating the cause of a motorcycle stunt gone wrong, to solving the murder of a nameless transient, whose body has been dumped in an abandoned insane asylum.

Like Saltzman, Navarro also finds the second game to be an improvement on the first:

    The big draw for Dark Motives is that it features the full range of voice talent and appropriate character likenesses from the TV show. Last year's game was rather disappointing when it came to visuals, but Dark Motives does provide somewhat of an upgrade. Though Dark Motives is definitely a much-improved game over last year's effort, its appeal still remains elusive to all but the most vehement fans of the TV series.

CSI: Dark Motives is available to order from Amazon.com.

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