Tag Archives: case

Review #040: CSI – Hard Evidence (PC ~ Steam) ~ Strange Case

256px-Csi4boxcoverSteam store link

So, today I want to take another look at this very old case. Wait, scrap that. If I try to be too original in my introduction, I might ruin the beauty of my previous CSI article. Yeah, remember that first impression article I wrote about that CSI PS2 game? I tried to set the mood in the introduction and if I repeat that in this one, it might get boring. Yup, I’m rambling on instead of writing a decent introduction for this game. I just finished it and I want to review it. Before I actually start to review it, I’ll come clean. I enjoyed the other CSI games I played. In total, I know there are 3-4 games like this about CSI. I think that this game is the latest in terms of trying to go for realism instead of a more cartoon-y approch they did in the DS games. In any case, I enjoy the tv-show a lot myself. Too bad that my local channel broadcasts the series out of order. As usual, feel free to leave a comment on this article with your opinion on the game and or the content of this article. 

Mediocre game? 

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I know that this game was also released on the XBOX360 and the Wii. But for this review, we take a look at the PC version of the game. It’s developed by TellTale Games, who you might know from the Walking Dead series. One might think that this game must be good. I mean, they make all sorts of amazing adventure point-and-click games.

If I look around the internet to what other people think about this game, I read mostly negative reviews. But is this game a cheap cash-in of a very popular series? Let me play devil’s advocate and say no. Sure, there are some problems and you might rest assured I’ll address them in this review but overall, this game is a nice one.

The evidence for that is in the story. Each and every case feels like a CSI episode. The characters are quite memorable and the voice acting is decent. I have to disagree that the voice acting is the best the game has too offer since I sometimes don’t feel the emotion in the voice. I also had moments where I felt that the emotion was acted or forced. But that might be because I act on stage myself.

Addressing the criticism

CSI4_screen_0

The negative you see popping up in each and every review is that the graphics look outdated. This is quite vague in my opinion. The area’s you visit and objects look quite clean and decent. They aren’t the best the genre or the system can offer but that’s not the issue here.

The issue here is in the animation of the models. That’s quite flawed. If this game had a rushed development schedule you can see it in the animations. I didn’t had many visual flaws on my gaming laptop but on my desktop with a much stronger graphics card/CPU/RAM… the mistakes are coming quite clear. Mostly around the mouth area, that’s the worst. In the 4th case, I even saw gaps in the mouth were the model wasn’t finished.

 It’s a shame since the visuals of the cutscene video’s give another impression of this game. This game might have looked so much better if they polished up the animations. They could have looked a whole lot better, since you know that TellTale is able to create amazing stuff.

Why did I play this game?

I can be rather short about the music. In this game, the music isn’t meant to be memorable or catchy. It needs to set a certain mood. The music does this job perfectly. It gets me in the right mood to try and solve a murder case and to catch bugs. If you watch the series, you might know that one of the characters is very interested in bugs. In each case, there are several bugs hidden and if you find them all, you get a bonus.

Talking about the bonus content, while it’s a nice addition, it’s quite lackluster. When the title of the bonus material says: “storyboards of case 3” for example, you just get three storyboards of a fragment that took 5-6 seconds in game. They are quite underwhelming and they wouldn’t add to the experience if you want to 100% the game.

CSI4_screen_4

You might start to wonder why I even beat this game. I point out mistakes in almost every category. Well, this game is a good game but it mainly lacks polish. The sound effects create a great feeling of actually being a CSI but not all the time thankfully. It also gives you the feeling that it is fake, created for a TV-show.

All elements of this game blend together quite well and if you put the time into this game instead of focusing on the negatives of this game, you get a nice experience. Before I forget, I have a few things to mention before I go to my conclusion.

First of all, the saving system is just wonderful. Thanks to the automatic save system, I didn’t need to worry that my progress would be lost.

The difficulty of this game is right in the middle. While this is one of the easiest games I played in the series, it can be challenging and puts everything you learned in the tutorial case to the test.

Anyways, I think I talked about most of the things I wanted to talk about, about this game. So, let’s get on with the conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

– Animations can be quite bad.

– The interface isn’t always good to work with.

– No cloud saves.

The good;

+ Acceptable visuals.

+ Nice experience for a CSI fan.

+ Easy but sometimes challenging game.

+ Decent length.

+ Nice and responsive controls.

+ Great voice acting.

Final thoughts:

I said it in my last paragraph, this game lacks polish. If TellTale put a bit more time into the animations, the interface and the game as a whole… I think this game wouldn’t get such a bad rating.

This game can be quite a fun game in the right hands, but if I need to look at it objectively: this game is a mediocre one. But as a fan of CSI and point-and-click games… it isn’t half that bad.

If you start to play this game, don’t set your expectations too high. It isn’t a masterpiece and it’s flaws show quite clearly. If you look passed them, you get 5 interesting cases to play through that each CSI and crime story fan will enjoy.

Score: 70/100.

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Review #019: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 5 – Dual Destenies (3DS eShop) review ~ How Do You Feel?

The Japanese box-art because we only got an eShop release.

The Japanese box-art because we only got an eShop release.

Ace Attorney Wiki entry

So, it has come to this. This case is the hardest to crack. I want to prosecute this game and get a “Must Play” verdict. Yet, I’m up against some serious competition. So, let’s see. What is in my court record? A lot— What? Oh, that’s great! You have the perfect man for this job? What’s his name? Reviewer NekoJonez? Okay. We will give this a shot! 

16 November 2013 – 9 PM

NekoJonez’s Gaming Room

Ahn, mister Introduction. What? You want me to review this new game on the eShop I just finished? Okay, I was planning too… What?! This review will decide your verdict? -Gulp- Okay. I hope that the comments will tell me how they liked this article and or the game…

Opening statement

download

So it has come to my attention that this game will receive DLC around the time the new Zelda game is going to be released. Yet, I have to study as well. So it’ll be a busy period for me as a reviewer. Yet after several years of absence, how ironic that Phoenix Wright was also absent from the story in the last games, Phoenix Wright is back. In this new game, he shines. Like I made clear in my first impression article of this game.

Now that I finished it, I’m going to review it. After looking to a disappointment in the first place, which is the DLC, I think I’m going to take that back. A totally new case is going to come and I’m rather excited for it. As usual, I’m trying to read up as little as I can about it. Here is Nintendo World Report’s article about the new case.

In this game, we get 5 new amazing cases. Each with their unique story like all previous Ace Attorney games. Capcom’s writing is again top notch here, and it’s surely a prime example to visual novels and adventure games. Yet, I have to point one thing out that kind of bugs me.

So, this game takes place 8 years in the future from all other games. But somehow the humans evolved to killing people using the “stab-y stab-y” method. Come on writers, I know you can be more creative! Gunshots, pushing people over the edge… are just examples of what you could have used. I just wish the DLC isn’t going to be a case where the victim is going to be stabbed. Another thing is that in most of the cases, the prosecutor is the same guy. While it does help get the personality of him very well explained, I felt like he was overused. And that the returning characters got underused. Like Pearls or Edgeworth. Such a wasted potential.

Yet, every returning character is presented in a beautiful way. The story is now supported with anime cutscenes which make the game as beautiful as -bleep-. I extremely enjoyed reading them all. And I do admit that I often presented some of the wrong evidence since the reactions can be so extremely funny.

Whilst you get more out of the game’s plot when you played the previous games, newcomers won’t be weirded out by it. Since they explain a lot of things with flashbacks or “This reminds me of…”.

It’s quite clear that the character development is quite up there. Yet, some people found Athena Cykes a boring character. I tend to disagree. She is a well-developed character. And the case where she is the attorney is one of my favorites in the game. Yes, in this title you don’t play the whole game as the same attorney. That makes up for the prosecutor flaw. But let’s leave it here for the story since otherwise, we are still here tomorrow. But let’s not forget several typos’s in the game. Hopefully, they patch this!

New yet not better

wright-dual

So, the new gameplay mechanics. The mood matrix is such an interesting idea. It adds to the game a lot. It’s less difficult than the locks from Phoenix or Apollo’s bracelet. It’s something I actually imaged coming to the series while playing the previous games.

Taking the lessons learned from the Miles Edgeworth spin-off games, the whole scene is now searchable. But this time in stellar 3D graphics. You can turn and move around easily and the controls are extremely nice.

The game presents beautiful locations in each and every game. And they are all really interesting since we haven’t visited them in the previous entries in the series. Like a murder in college. It blew my mind. Ugh, I’m talking again about the story.

I have to give credit where credit is due. The user interface is above amazing for this game! Now you have a save button right in front of your face. Also, you can skip the dialogue from the get-go. I do admit, this brings the possibility that you miss some dialogue. But Capcom has thought about that, they have a button where you can check on the past dialogue.

A change that has mixed opinions for me is the fact that you can “try again” right if your meter drained. But you get a full bar, and you start at the question you failed at. While this takes away the problem of spending too much time with re-playing the case, it does take away from the difficulty. Yet, I have to admit, I saved all the time before these kinds of questions. So, it’s like I said, a mixed feature.

I truly missed the feature where you can view the evidence in 3D. It’s not present in this version, only once or twice. But the features which are present are lovely. Like a notepad where they keep a sort of “To Do” list. So, getting stuck isn’t a problem anymore. Also, now they inform you when you are completely done with a scene. So, missing anything isn’t a problem any longer.

But enough about the gameplay mechanics and such, next!

B-E-A-UTIFUL

Phoenix-Wright-Dual-7If you play this game without the 3D slider set to max, SHAME on you. The new graphics are beautiful and aid a lot with the new feel of the game. While for some critics, it feels a bit too different from the old Ace Attorney games, it’s still top notch. What I am saying here is that it’s one of the best looking games in the series but not the best in terms of story.

In the cutscenes, the beautiful graphics continue. And the attention to detail is amazing. The animation of this game has blown me away. And how lovely that you can view the cut-scenes again when you 100% completed the game. So, you don’t have to play through the game to see the cutscenes again.

Speaking of the animation. It’s superb! The attention to detail is amazingly well done. And the game feels much more alive now. And the animation is so much better in 3D. You feel like you are really there.

The sound effects help an awful lot with it as well. They are tight and on the spot. And they feel new and not stolen from the best sound library around.

But the music is something you can applaud this game for. The Ace Attorney games always had amazing music and this game isn’t an exception. The tracklist has some new and old remixed tracks which make this game a blast to play.

So, the game’s length is extremely decent. Around 20 hours of play, you’ll get more than the crazy price they ask on the eShop for it. Which is at the moment of writing only 25euro’s.

So, let’s go on with the conclusion right here. Since this game deserved a longer review, and if I would write it to the length I wanted it to, I would be still writing till I go to sleep and we don’t want that right?

Conclusion

The bad

– Some spelling issues.

– Mixed “Try Again” feature.

– Underused characters.

– STAB-Y STAB-Y STAAAAAAAB.

The good

+ Extremely improved UI.

+ Great length.

+ Lovely music.

+ Great story.

+ Nice voice acting.

+ DLC is better than I expected.

+ Graphics that put the 2D ones to shame.

Final thoughts:

So, this game is perfect. Some minor flaws but we can’t rip a game apart for it right? It could have been a lot better story wise for me but it was still a better story than the last visual novels I played. (When I don’t count Corpse Party, that is.)

Let’s keep these final thoughts short. When you love Ace Attorney, play this game. Otherwise, play it. This is a must-have gem on 3DS! (And let’s ignore that I totally blew the theme of this article in the second part since I wrote this over two days).

Score: 95/100

First Impression: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – 3 Dimensions of Murder (PS2) ~ Part of the wrong era.

Thanks Sprong to upload the best PS2 box-art

Thanks Sprong to upload the best PS2 box-art

Wikipedia entry

But officer! I didn’t commit such a terrible crime! I didn’t make a fun to play game with old graphics. UbiSoft did. So, why am I being questioned? Oh, it’s because I have to answer questions what my first impression was of this game? Okay, I’ll work along. And this doesn’t come on my rap sheet. Sweet! Thanks. So, why did I start playing this game you ask? Well, I played 2 CSI games before on my PC. When I saw this game sitting on the 2nd-hand shelf of my local gaming store I couldn’t hold myself to pick it up and try it. Back in that store I didn’t know that I was in for such a unique experience. This game is truly a mixed bag. …. Oh no, no, no. Not a body bag. … Jeez, you have a strange sense of humor officer. At first I thought this was actually a port of one of the PC games I played but I’m glad to see that it isn’t. I hadn’t played this PC title actually and I didn’t knew about it. So, new cases to play. Man, I was really glad to be able to play them. At least this game didn’t make some major flaws. The tutorial for example is really good. Yes, at the start menu you have a selection to go through a training and experienced gamers can go directly to solve their first case. Instead of the first PC game where you go through a tutorial in your first case. And thanks to a design flaw you were unable to get 100% completion on the first case! Oh, you have a question? Did I talk too long? I hope my answer wasn’t too long. Now I’m not trying to linger my answer to make sure it stops around the end of the box-art for the report of this interrogation. Nah, I wouldn’t do such a thing. I’m all open for questions. To inform the readers of this okay game and to invite them to write a comment about this article in the comment section or their feels with this game. But enough of that, what’s the question officer? 

What makes you keep playing this game?

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So, this game has actually pretty decent controls. Yes, image a game being ported that uses a lot of the mouse movement gets to a console where the is no mouse at all. You move around with one joystick and you move around the camera with the other one. While it’s uneasy at first, after a while you actually get used to it. You really got to hand it to the developers. They did their best with what they had. While it’s a bit clumsy to work with, it does work and after a while it goes from a nuisance to an acceptable flaw.

Also, the stories are pretty fun. But I’ll have to talk more about them later. Various great jokes are present in the writing and made me laugh several times. I always think credit is due where credit is due. And making jokes in serious situations as this is actually pretty awesome since most of them usually fall flat on their face in other games like this.

Also, the gameplay is what draws me into this game. It’s the biggest plus! I extremely enjoy exploring the crime scenes for clues and asking the suspects questions. The fact that you are able to walk around in the game is such a great addition. In the other versions of the game I couldn’t walk around at all and I could just turn my view around 180 degrees. Messing around in the lab, comparing the evidence is such a great thing. Also, the replay value is there. You can try to finish a case with less helping options or find all evidence.

What also is a great addition is that you get a notification when everything is searched in a certain location. You also gear it from your colleague when you can’t do anything more with the evidence. That is a great thing.

Why did you want to kill this game?

Sorry for the blurry screen. PS2 screens are hard to get of this game.

Sorry for the blurry screen. PS2 screens are hard to get of this game.

Oh, that. Well, I actually think that this game made some serious flaws. Like the story. It’s a bit of a letdown too. I finished my first case and it was a tad bit too predictable. You can smell the killer from around the middle of the story.

Also, there is a flaw with the questioning. I got a new location from a suspect but when I decided to ask the remaining questions after looking into this location, I found out that the option to ask him questions wasn’t there anymore.

But the thing that mostly got on my nerves is the fact that the presentation is one of the worst I have playing in my opinion. First of all, graphically this game looks dated. For a PS2 game, it could have used a lot of work on the visuals. The ears of some characters look pointy, the guns look blurry, and the cut scenes look fuzzy.

But the animation also has some serious flaws. Some characters shake their arms for no reason and that really annoys me while I’m asking questions to certain suspects.

Also, what’s up with the visuals? I really had to put up my brightness of my TV to see in certain places. The game is too dark. While it’s a nice touch since it’s dark in the cut scenes, it doesn’t help the game one bit. It makes it just more difficult to play.

What disappoints me also is the fact that I can’t find all pieces of evidence. While I turn each and everything upside down, I still had places that had evidence left.

Also, the game had some flaws with the examining of the evidence. To make sure I have checked a piece 100% I sometimes had to place it in the wrong machine. Otherwise it would just give me a bell sound.

So you ask what my final opinion of this game is? Well, I’m going to finish it one day and I might write a full review. But that’s everything I can say to you people. Thanks for reading and hopefully that clears up my name.