Dark Motives is the second CSI game to hit the market, following CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and presents five mysteries to solve. Solving each mystery requires a great deal of patience and perseverance, and a keen eye for detail. Crime and suspect locations have to be slowly and finely combed over so that no evidence is missed. If evidence is missed, then you will find yourself stuck in the case with nowhere to go.
Progress can only be made in a case if all the evidence has been found, added to your case file and then analysed. Your case must also follow a logical progression and, therefore, there is a certain order in the way evidence is found and suspects interrogated.
It is your job to collect the evidence, which ranges from picking up objects and fibres to dusting for fingerprints and analysing DNA samples, liquids or patterns in order to establish connections between them. Warrants for suspects are only issued once enough evidence has been gathered to establish a strong link between the suspect and the victim or the crime scene.
You can ask your partner for help each step of the way, but your ranking as a detective will suffer if you do. Aids are provided, too: when searching for evidence, the arrow will turn green once you hover over a section where a clue lies, and evidence can automatically be tagged for you and questions automatically generated, ready for you to ask them based on that evidence. These aids can be turned off if you want to do things completely on your own.
Each completed case unearths extras about the game, such as behind-the-scenes footage of its creation and also titbits about the creation of the show itself from the author. After each case, you will be tested on your observational skills and will have to answer a few questions pertaining to that case. This is done to help improve your memory and drill in the fact that in order to be an ace detective you really do need to be highly observant.
Playability is a little quirky in this game, and I found that a few times during the course of some cases I had to wait a long period of time before certain evidence would be uncovered or added to the case file once it was recognised.
All up, Dark Motives is an interesting and good-looking game that will definitely draw you in, but at the same time frustrate you tremendously if you get stuck. There are a couple of drawbacks: it is a short game whose replay value is questionable once you solve all five cases, and it is a very buggy release. If you’re a fan of the show, though, it is definitely worth a look.
Visuals: Nice environment and character detail
Audio: Good use of background music and sound effects
Gameplay: All control is via mouse pointer, but there are some quirks