CSI is a hugely popular TV show, and the first Crime Scene Investigation game was relatively fun and quick. Unfortunately they raced this second game out the door before it was ready.
On the positive side, CSI fans will enjoy the tie-ins. You get the cool voices of the real actors. The visuals look like the actors, although at times it appears you're watching a badly dubbed Japanese movie based on the bad lip synching. You get cool music and cut-scenes just like in the TV show. It really does feel at times like you're "in" the TV world.
But where this COULD have been a great game with more quality testing and work, they obviously rushed to get this to the public and rake in the cash. The game crashed constantly on several testing machines. You now have to have the CD in the drive to play, even if you do a full install. They warn you that only "regular" CD players work well - that it won't necessarily work on a DVD player or CD-writer. Since most new machines come with those options and not just a plain CD player, that could cause trouble for lots of people.
Even when the game does play smoothly, the gameplay is iffy. People vanish. Items vanish. There's a patch on the Ubi website but it doesn't help with many of these issues.
The gameplay is supposed to have you investigate the clues, talk to suspects and figure out what has happened. But most of the times the clues are pretty obvious. The questions are all very leading, in essence telling you what to do next most of the time.
For the price on the box, you'd really expect more than the 5 hours or so of gameplay you get as a result. Maybe if the puzzles were harder you'd play a given mission for longer. I suppose with all the crashes, it does actually take you longer to get things going smoothly, replaying missions to try to get past the buggy spots.
Still, if you're a fan of CSI, you'll want to get this to immerse yourself further in the CSI world. Who knows, in another few months they might actually put out enough patches to fix the bugs - but the gameplay itself will still be simple and quick. Hopefully before CSI 3 comes out they'll do a bit more development and gameplay testing.
Buy CSI 2 - Dark Motives from Amazon.com