On your six, Boss!
Developer: Ubisoft Shanghai
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Score: 4.2/ 5
Finally, a crime scene investigation game I enjoy, and not just because I’m a fanboy. Ubisoft just recently released “NCIS: The Game” based off the hit TV series of the same name. This game is awesome in my book, partly since Ubisoft was able to get the actual actors/actresses to do the voices of Special Agents Jethro Gibbs, Anthony DiNozzo, Ziva David, Abigail “Abby” Sciuto, Timothy McGee, Leon Vance, and Donald “Ducky” Mallard.
As you play through the game you are able to play as all the lead characters, with the exception of Leon Vance, who comes into play later in the game. If you’re a big NCIS fan as I am, you’ll notice that playing through the episodes makes you feel as if you are watching the show. This is a the first time I’ve ever played a game based on a TV series or movie where they completely nailed the source material. Another fun fan tidbit is that during the loading screen you will see Bert the Farting Hippo, Abby’s stuffed hippo pillow which is seen in many episodes.
In the game you have your field agents and your forensics specialists. The field agents you will play as are Gibbs, DiNozzo, and Ziva. When you need to hack a cell phone, computer, or track a cell phone of a suspect, you will play as McGee in the main office of NCIS. When it’s time to lift and analyze fingerprints, substances, ballistics, and blood you will play as Abby in her lab. And finally, Ducky will be played when an autopsy is needed. Don’t worry if you’re squeamish, as you are not actually cutting open the body; you are only photographing unusual areas of a 3D X-ray. You will also use the deduction board to piece all of the evidence together and solve the case.
The game offers a ton of mini games in each episode you play through. I found the majority a little too easy, however there are areas where you have less time to react to the prompts. I would have liked longer episodes, or at least more episodes to play as you are only given four in total. I clocked in approximately four hours played and I wanted more. As a side note, this game may be intended for a more mature audience, as the game deals with a terrorist cell and other material I don’t find suitable for children under the age of 15.
With as much as I loved the game I still had a few issues. The game offered still shots for a lot of the cut scenes, and after playing Thor I have developed a slight hatred towards this use of still shots. You will also notice a lot of the scenes tend to be blurry. There are sections of the game where one character will be very crisp and clear visually, and the other character will seem dim and blurry. I feel as though they were running out of time in developing the game and just threw most of the scenes together to get the game out. My other issue is the length of the game, as I just like long story modes.
Even with the few issues I had with the game, I still think it’s quite decent since it’s quite enjoyable. My hat’s off to you, Ubisoft, for giving me a game based on a TV series I absolutely love and nailing every aspect that made a difference to the experience. Just remember, rule number 9: Never go anywhere without a knife.
Thanks to Ubisoft for providing a review copy!