CSI: Miami

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It just works....
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A poor game based on a hit TV show...

CSI: Miami is a first-person point-and-click adventure game based on the the police procedural drama of the same name (2002-2012). It was released for the PC in 2004.

Why It Sucks

  1. Uneven graphics (which look dated in some places) and character animation. Games that were released beforehand like Super Mario Sunshine, Ratchet & Clank, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, SkyGunner, Star Fox Adventures, the Jak and Daxter series, Mario Party 4, and Wave Race: Blue Storm look much better.
  2. The game characters are equally uneven in style. A perfect example is that Horatio Caine's game counterpart seems more like a caricature than a well-rendered model and was thus poorly done. In contrast, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Monkey Ball, Devil May Cry, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2x, Wave Race: Blue Storm, Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland, Pikmin, Luigi's Mansion and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, all of which were released three years prior, have much better looking character models.
  3. The game is exactly like its predecessors but with the less-engaging characters of the Miami cast which you're initially greeted by Horatio Caine where you're yet another green recruit in the world of crime scene investigation, and your new squad just happens to be the CSI: Miami team, who welcomes you to the team and gives you your first assignment. Even worse, if you've already played either of the two previous CSI games, you'd know exactly what to expect from CSI: Miami, as no aspect of the gameplay deviates even slightly from the original formula. There's not even a single new crime-solving tool at your disposal within the interface--it's just that much of a copy-paste job.
  4. Closely packed hot spots leads to pixel hunting nightmares.
  5. There are only five mysteries for you to solve in total, all involving murder of varying degrees of foulness which aren't interesting.
  6. The in-game logic pathways are really horrible.
  7. Mostly downright bland and dull voice acting despite featuring the actors from the show, none of whom seem to be particularly interested in what they're doing in the game. You never get much of a feel for the personalities of any of the other CSIs you're supposedly working with aside from Horatio Caine. Not even the supplemental suspect characters can save it either, as most of them are too hammy and have deadpan tones when they read their lines. Fortunately, they don’t speak all that often, and it's something you can weed your way past. Other video games that were available at the time had much better voice acting such as Perfect Dark, Star Fox Adventures, the PS1 Spider-Man games, The Simpsons: Hit & Run, the Ratchet & Clank series, the Jak and Daxter series and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, among many others.
  8. The game has direct copy of the same game engine with all of the trappings that helped sink the game's predecessor which makes it an incredibly easy game and linear, even with all the helpers turned off.
  9. Mysteries that simply don't engage you all that well.
  10. The game's structure can sometimes get ahead of or behind itself.
  11. The game is roughly five hours long.
  12. Boring cases with too few locations and suspects.
  13. Dull, oversimplified and repetitive gameplay.
  14. Substandard character art.
  15. Larger storyline feels forced and is completely telegraphed early on.
  16. The lip synching at times of the 3D characters isn't great and there isn't exactly a ton of animation. Many other video games with full voice acting at the time had much better lip synching such as Star Fox Adventures, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and The Simpsons: Hit & Run, among many others.
  17. The level of interaction is limited which is really painful.
  18. You can use the hint system, but your partners have a propensity towards being extremely vague.
  19. The FMV cinematics are used as a visual transition when traveling from one place to another in the game. This is kind of nice except when it turns bizarre, like when you go to an estate resident’s bedroom and get a boat shot leaping across Biscayne Bay as a transition screen and it's never explained exactly how far apart the bedrooms are.
  20. You'll occasionally run into some nicely put-together cutscenes that show graphic depictions of the crimes being committed, and while these do look decent, the video quality itself isn't especially high in resolution and a lot of artifacting is noticeable.
  21. You have to follow strict procedures which don't seem to apply to the AI.
  22. For the most part, your sense of freedom is limited to that of an onlooker. Although you can screw up, you can't take the bull by the horns and play a hunch. You will be told when you can progress.
  23. There can be some occasional choppiness, as people at GameSpot tested the game on a pair of different high-end ATI cards, and both times, they encountered some stuttering in the movement of the models and in the video.
  24. If you don't collect the evidence that the CPU declares relevant, you will have to go back and find it. Why some evidence is deemed important seems arbitrary. It's never properly explained so regardless of how intellectual and analytical you try to get you can never properly excel in your craft.
  25. At times the CPU gets confused. Things will be mentioned before they happen and things that have already happened will be repeated. Since you're always looking at the CPU for advice and direction, it's hard to place any faith in it when it's so inconsistent.
  26. The mysteries in the game are rarely intriguing. There are some neat plot twists here and there, but none of them have much substance or much excitement, and they never seem to have a satisfactory conclusion. What's even more annoying is the fact that the last mystery in the game (without giving too much away) tries desperately to tie together all the other crimes into one big, confused mess, which just doesn't work. In a crime-solving adventure game, you have to be interested in the crimes you're solving, and though a couple of them start out hot, none of them remain interesting from beginning to end.
  27. The game is periodically bad about getting ahead of itself, or lagging behind from where you've progressed to in the story, skipping ahead to questions and details you're unaware of, or reiterating things you already know.
  28. The game's plot progressions, can often become troublesome. For example, the game is very picky about when it wants to let you progress and when it doesn't. Some pieces of evidence can be ignored, but other, seemingly arbitrary processes must be adhered to.
  29. Some pieces of evidence can be ignored, but other, seemingly arbitrary processes must be adhered to. For example, in one case, you find yourself collecting a couple of pieces of evidence from two different locations, one of which has a fingerprint and the other that has a DNA sample. The point of the evidence is to prove that someone in particular was in both of these places. You have two fingerprints already, as well as two DNA samples from that same person with which to compare these other pieces of evidence. However, you can't just compare one previous piece with the corresponding new piece of evidence. You actually have to test both fingerprints and both DNA samples with each of the new pieces of evidence before the game will let you progress which is really painful.
  30. Another bad thing about the game's progression system is that the internal logic of how the game recognizes gameplay events is simply not really flexible. You'll spend a lot of time comparing fingerprints, DNA samples, footprints, bullets and other items on the lab’s computer and microscopy devices. Now it would seem logical that if fingerprint A, B and C all belong to the same person, but then after showing that fingerprint A belongs to the same person as prints B and C, the game would know that prints B and C also have to be from the same person and add this information automatically to your in-game database. However, it doesn’t happen for some reason, forcing you to cross-compare the same items over and over again in different orders and it gets old fast, very fast. It is easy with all the items being picked up, tagged and bagged to miss one of these critical comparisons and get stuck for a long while.
  31. Traditional adventure fans will simply balk at the game due to its rudimentary mechanics and marginal difficulty. Similarly, fans of the TV show probably won't get a whole lot out of it.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The music is nicely atmospheric.
  2. The game features an array of sound effects.