Guest Author - Lisa Shea
This game is based on the popular TV show Law & Order - Criminal Intent. You take on the role of Detective Robert Goren tracking down criminals and bringing them to justice.
I love this TV series, and I also have enjoyed previous Law & Order games. I thought this would be a perfect match for me and my interests, and in fact I made plans to do a full walkthrough for the game.
If I hadn't made those plans, I wouldn't have lasted more than 15 minutes in this game. As it is, I still haven't finished my walkthrough because the game is so incredibly frustrating. I'm playing the game on a very robust system that I have played *hundreds* of other games on to write up reviews. It is most definitely not a machine issue here - it is a game issue.
The premise is that you are in essence doing the things in the TV series. This means there is no courthouse scenes, like in Law & Order (the original). In Criminal Intent, the show is all about understanding the criminal mind, figuring out what happened and getting them to confess.
First, character movement is awful. Your character gets stuck on doors, stuck on walls, stuck on other people, and just stands there twitching like a madman. You have to keep moving around until you can get him in the exact right spot to interact with the object you wish. Sometimes he'll randomly throw his arms straight out in a "I can fly!!" movement.
The game crashes. Often. Save every 5 minutes if you don't want to lose your data.
The map menu buttons sometimes become disabled. You lose the ability to scroll up or down. This gets you stuck on half the map area for a while. In addition, there's a strange diagonal-arrow button on the map that, when you press it, reveals hidden areas that you shouldn't know about yet. Since there is no warning that this is some sort of a cheat, it affects your gameplay.
There's a new interrogation mode where instead of choosing specific things to ask, you instead choose a "style of speaking" - for example you can be straightforward, or empathtic, or flattering, or so on. This is nice in theory. In practice it is AWFUL. There are times that you choose empathetic and the character says something REALLY cruel. You just watch it like a train wreck with your mouth wide open. At least, if you screw up, all you have to do is walk away for a few minutes and then return again. The person seems to have completely forgotten how much you upset them. Also, there are times that asking a question makes the person respond in a way that makes no sense. The game sort of expects you to use a certain order and if you happen to choose a different order, the game doesn't account for it. For example, in one situation you ask a question in one way and the person lies. So then you press them on the question saying "why did you lie?" If you choose to just press them in the first place, you still say "why did you lie?" even though the person didn't lie at all.
Certainly there were good intentions here. The graphics are reasonably good. The gameplay theory is good. However, whoever was assigned to program this had SERIOUS problems - and the quality control is pretty much completely missing. This is a game that could have used another 6-10 months in development to work out all of these quite serious issues.
Buy Law & Order Criminal Intent from Amazon.com