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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Game Play: CSI Fatal Conspiracy

I'm not entirely familiar with the shovelware genre in general, so perhaps there is a subculture out there of people who are used to franchise cash ins which they might find appealing, but I'm going to have to guess there probably is not.

In some ways, the gaming community should see the release of this game's demo as a kind of blessing. It's a free package which shows just how bad gaming development actually can be. Thought Doom III was bad? Ha. If you put Fatal Conspiracy on a spectrum of bad to good, most of your least favorite games would probably not even be visible on the other end.

Start with the production value, or the complete lack of it. Most of the menus and images look like they were designed and developed by someone putting their first website together. I honestly can't tell if the voice actors were used to deliver dialogue, because the sound quality is so uneven that I couldn't tell if that was Marg Helgenberger doing a bad Willows impersonation or somebody else.

If you squint enough that the poorly formatted menus don't annoy you into oblivion, you can stumble around the lackluster interface which appears to be specifically designed to slow the user down and confuse them. Possibly the most important thing to do in the game - investing evidence for "trace", either stopped working for me completely during the demo or the secret combo of buttons to get it working again was lost on me.

If you're a fan of the show, you should hate the game. If you're a fan of self-flagellation, then this might be the game for you. Games like this make me mourn what has become of the adventure genre in general, and despair for where it might go.