CSI Hard Evidence review
Searching the truth in Hard Evidence: easy task?

The good:

Thoroughness areas are now a challenge
Introducing a new challenge: insect search for Grissom
Ongoing music
PDA use, throwing out the banner HUD
Return of bonuses

The bad:

Graphics still the same since the previous game
Only 5 cases as usual
Can be boring for hardcore fans of adventure/point&click fans


CSI: Hard Evidence is the new game in the CSI videogame series. What a long way since 2003 and the first game on PC! UbiSoft, the publisher, has even released previous games on X-Box (Double Pack with CSI and Dark Motives), DS (Dark Motives) and PS2 (3 Dimensions of Murder). Only CSI Miami is only playable on computer. For Hard Evidence, it was also released on X-Box 360 and Wii practically in the same time as on PC. After this little look in the past and on others platforms, I'm feeling that I can focus on our main subject: CSI Hard Evidence on PC. Yep, I can't really review a game if I don't do that. Last thing, English isn't my native language, so, I apologize for the CSI fans if I got wrong on some aspects.

If you read my CSI 3 Dimensions of Murder review, you'll remember that I was saying that this game was a turning point in the series. Hard Evidence follows the new road set by TellTale Games. Story doesn't change a bit: you're still a rookie, working with the CSI Las Vegas gang. You must solve 5 cases and try to reach the rank of Expert. TellTale follows the bases from 369 interactive, the first development team for CSI.

But if in 3 Dimensions of Murder, the annoying banner as in-game menu was still present, in Hard Evidence, it's been replaced by a PDA, more practical for going from a place to another one (related to the case or simply the lab). Everything you need will be in the PDA, even the evidences. Only the detection and the collect tools are apart in a case, activated automatically when finding a evidence (no more "flower" as in 3 Dimensions of Murder). Another great gameplay improvement is a direct access to the interrogatory room from any place if you already have suspects in it and if you're not in Brass's office or the room itself. No need anymore to go into Brass's office for asking to speak with a suspect... It was a very annoying choice of gameplay. The last important change to the gameplay is the simplified analysis of evidences: for example, only DNA traces will appear when logging into the DNA analysis computer. Some will be disappointed by this choice but coming from "all evidences are proposed in a banner who can't contain all the evidences on one screen", I can guarantee that it's more comfortable to play Hard Evidence like that than with the old gameplay. Another change made concerns the music - it's ongoing and with new tracks. Hard Evidence is also associated to the return of bonuses, absent from 3 Dimensions of Murder PC. And who says bonuses says challenges for having them. The usual "finish the case" and "all evidences found" are still there but a new challenge was created: Search 5 insects per cases for Grissom. Another challenge is making the annoying thoroughness areas from 3 Dimensions of Murder more enjoyable. Remember, they are areas without evidence. A new place in the lab is also appearing: the garage. Now, you can scrutinize a suspect car tied to your case. And finally, there is a new feature: Sidle or Brass can call you on your mobile in the middle of an investigation when they have things for you.

But Hard Evidence is a CSI game and you've already suspected it when I was saying that story didn't change a bit. Indeed, it's still 5 long cases with same graphics as in 3 Dimensions of Murder. It's correct but inferior to some engines (I think about my main genre which is FPS and games like FEAR, Half-Life or Painkiller). And who says CSI game says also that if you're an hardcore fan of that kind of game, for you, CSI will be too easy, with limited actions and with no real humor or quest. And if you don't like CSI, you'll will not like the game.

GAMEPLAY: 9/10 - Finally improved gameplay, making disappear the frustration felt in the previous games.
STORY: 8/10 - Still the usual murder cases with references from past cases.
SOUNDTRACK: 8/10 - I enjoyed it, specially the High Roller Bar track, found also in the superbonus. Music is ongoing and sticking with the CSI theme.
GRAPHICS: 7/10 - The engine is correct but inferior to the actual ones. Graphics purists will avoid the game at all cost.
LIFETIME: 7/10 - if you missed something for being rewarded by bonuses, you must start the case again. That increased the lifetime but if you're used to the CSI gameplay, the game will be finished in a couple of hours.
FINAL: 9/10 - Yep, I'm perhaps generous but Hard Evidence gameplay made me very happy, considering that I've played all CSI games on PC. For people like me who play "adventure" games occasionally, Hard Evidence is worth the try. For CSI fans, it's THE CSI game (until a new opus). For hardcore adventure gamers or graphics purists, they can give a chance to the game but I doubt that they'll be 100% satisfied by Hard Evidence.

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