Solutions to the four cases are blindingly obvious. Each can be wrapped up in under an hour. Suspects pretty much present themselves front and center in the opening moments of each episode. They're not difficult to spot, largely because they tend to be the only characters to have spoken lines aside from the core NCIS gang. Still, you need to go through the motions to get to the laughable aha moments, made even funnier when Harmon's Gibbs yells "Deduction board!" at times when the bad guy has already done everything but confess and provide video evidence of himself actually committing the crime.
The look and sound are abysmal. The entirety of the game has been built around a half-dozen or so generic crime scenes that could have been swiped from the plots of thousands of procedural TV shows. Even worse, these settings come with all of the visual artistry and depth of the average first-gen Xbox game. Textures are flat, fine details like furniture are largely missing in action, and character models have been stricken by oddly bulbous faces and palsied gaits. Action scenes haven't even been fully animated. Instead, you get freeze-framed clips whenever the game needs to show something possibly exciting, like a police chase or an explosion going off in a bank. You get to see a lot of Harmon's steely visage in these scenes, which is kind of cool if you're into the actor who was once named People's Sexiest Man Alive. But mostly you just wonder how much Ubisoft saved by not bothering to properly animate these sequences.
If only it could be as easy to solve crimes in the real world as it is here in these minigames.
Aspects of the art seem to have been assembled from older games, too. How else to explain the appearance of massive CRT monitors on desks in the otherwise high-tech NCIS offices? There is virtually no music to speak of during gameplay, and character dialogue is recited in a reading-the-phonebook manner by a cast that includes only a pair of secondary characters from the TV show. Oddly, those characters are two of the biggest names to appear on the series: Robert Wagner and David McCallum. They say next to nothing, however, and Wagner shows up for little more than a cup of coffee before exiting stage left. The roster of cheap soundalikes that fill out the rest of the cast is unimpressive at best, especially the one-note wonder taking the place of star Harmon.
The only possible plus in NCIS is that the simplistic, repetitive gameplay likely depicts the drudgery of real police investigations far more accurately than procedural TV shows loaded with lasers and sci-fi gadgets. Of course, you have to think that the developers probably weren't going for that sort of authenticity here. Stick to the TV show. Or knitting. Knitting's good.
Full disclosure: NCIS, the television show on which this game is based, airs on CBS, GameSpot's parent company.