Aside from Mario Party, social deduction games are right up there in the category of “friendship ending games”, because one afternoon with them and you’re ready to just not trust your friends, even close ones, to hell and back. When I first laid my eyes on CrimeSight, I had no idea what to expect from Konami’s development team in this case. Not only was this game’s release completely silent, but it also looked really well done for a game of its genre.
In CrimeSight, the story takes place in London, in the year 2075. A cutting-edge predictive system called Foresight AI is developed to predict future crimes based on network data. As a result, crime is reduced by 90% worldwide.
However, the system soon predicts an unavoidable incident, one that could steer the world on the path to ruin. And so, the prediction AI, Sherlock, is invented. He must put a stop to Moriarty, the evil AI that was created as the villain for the case.
Depending on who you are, your gameplay perspective changes entirely, including your objective. If you’re on Sherlock’s team, your objective is to make sure the three killing conditions are not met, and to figure out who’s the villain and who’s the target. However, if you’re on the Moriarty or Irene teams, you must kill the target before the end of the 3rd day or before Sherlock figures out who the villain and the target are, though in the few matches I played, the latter was usually the deciding factor most of the time.
Let’s start off with Sherlock’s gameplay. Up to 2 commands (this is bumped to 3 if you’re in a 1v1 match) can be given in each turn, but if someone from the Moriarty team commands the same person as you do, they ignore you and obey Moriarty instead. This might seem like an unfair advantage, but it’s a huge clue, because…Moriarty cannot control the target. And Sherlock will always be informed if Moriarty overrides his command, which means that, anytime that Moriarty overlaps your commands, you can already draw one key fact: “That person is not the target.”
Next, shifting to Moriarty’s perspective. He knows where all the weapons and food provisions are, and as stated previously, his commands can override Sherlock’s. He does require quite a bit of skill to master, however, because although it might sound really broken that he can override the commands, you’re basically giving yourself away if you abuse that ability too much. If you find a fuse box or a gas pipe, you can also trigger a hazard that will make it harder for Sherlock’s team to stop your heinous crime, though the reverse also applies, where Sherlock can prevent you from tampering with it if he finds it first.
Each “match” will take you about 10 to 30 minutes in total. After three turns have passed, the Sherlock AI will analyze the entire map and give everyone a report on all of the possible scenarios. The results of that investigation get sent to everyone, including Moriarty and Irene. Once you think you have a guess, you can also right-click a person and select “I think they’re the target.” or “I think they’re the villain.” Doing so will alert all players of your deduction, and while you can’t really type on the in-game chat, it helps give them a sign that you may be on to something, or you can perhaps lie and try and get the others off your scent.
The soundtrack and graphics look amazing and vibrant, though the PC version doesn’t offer much in terms of customizing the graphics. You also don’t need a very powerful rig to run this at the highest quality. Plugging in a controller does nothing, but I found that panning the map and doing commands with the mouse and sometimes pressing the Tab key to check the deductions worked well, so it wasn’t a huge bother.
The only downside that could really hit the longevity of this game is the over-reliance on matching up with other people who also own it. If we fast forward six months…or maybe a year from now, anyone who purchases the game is most likely not going to find anyone to play with. At that point, the amount of players will be far lower than the first few weeks of its release, which means unless you manage to get all of your friends together, you are basically deprived of the majority of “content”. Even when I got another one of the staff members here to play with me, we still waited a good while until we had enough players to start a lobby.
While you can play the “Training Stages” with the CPU, their intention to teach you the specific ways to deal with certain scenarios, so once you know what to do, they lose all of their charm. The villain and target are identical no matter how many times you play them, with the exception perhaps of Case 07, where you play a full-fledged match with an AI Moriarty controlled by the CPU.
I feel this can be partially solved if they expanded upon Case 07 and added a mode where you can fight against a non-human player, as well as a way to add non-human players to complete a lobby if you only have, say, a two-person group, but want to play a full room with Irene included. That’s because if you enable her, the room MUST have four people, and the only way to change that is to restart it, kicking everyone from the lobby.
CrimeSight is a great social deduction game, and one that has surprised me quite a bit with just how high-quality it is. The sounds, the visuals, and the game design all mesh together into a thrilling social deduction game that you can play together with a couple of friends. It offers just the right mix of advantages and disadvantages between each of the three roles: Sherlock knows nothing but can move a lot, Moriarty knows everything but can’t do a lot, and Irene…well, she’s basically the assistant for Moriarty. If you were wanting a change of pace and wanted to play this with your friends, I can certainly recommend it for a game night.
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