NCIS

Common Sense Media says

Disappointing adventure game based on the hit TV show.

Age(i)

2
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11
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game has you working for the "good guys," a team of government field agents out to solve crimes. But as a result, you will see some potentially disturbing imagery of death, murder, blood-stained corpses, and violent acts such as bank robberies.

Positive role models

You're one of the NCIS agents, as you look for clues surrounding murders and collect enough evidence and testimony to put away the criminals.

Ease of play

The game is very easy to play, even if you haven't played many other video games before. Plus, you get some assistance while deducing who is guilty through interrogation, evidence analysis, and combing the scenes for clues. Each game can be finished in less than an hour.

Violence

While not out of context, and nothing you wouldn't see in the television series, there are potentially disturbing images here of crime flashbacks (a bomb going off in a casino, armed bank robbery, etc.) as well as corpses and bullet wound. These images aren't fleeting and just in passing -- you'll need to photograph bloodied scenes so you have to focus on the gore.

Sex

There are some suggestive lines of dialogue between some of the characters, including references to bondage, nudity, and activities in bed -- usually in a humorous light.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The game is based on the NCIS television drama, including the presentation of the game made out to look like the CBS TV show with familiar graphics, music, characters, and scenes.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that NCIS is based on the television drama of the same name and as a result, you can expect similar visuals and dialogue -- and thus the teen rating. You will see corpses, blood, and scenes of violence as you piece together what the criminals did. Because it's a game, you also partake in the story by photographing scenes, analyzing bullet holes, and corpses, and such. Along with some violence and blood, there are also a few sexual references in the dialogue sequences.

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Kids say

What's it about?

Based on the popular television drama of the same name, NCIS (which stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service) is an adventure game for multiple platforms that has you playing as your favorite characters from the TV show. Travel the world (from Dubai to Atlantic City), look for clues, and solve four different cases -- which may all be related in some fashion. The game was penned by writers from the hit television show. As you'd expect from a licensed game, you can assume the role of investigative agents Ziva David and Tony DiNozzo, use forensic science as Abby Sciuto, interrogate suspects as Gibbs, use satellite tracking as McGee, and perform autopsies as Ducky Mallard. Celebrity voice talent was provided by David McCallum and Robert Wagner.

Gameplay involves combing a scene for evidence, using tools to analyze it, grilling suspects on what they know, and playing mini-games.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Unless you're a very casual gamer without high expectations and are a huge fan of the show, steer clear of NCIS. Between the simple and childish gameplay mechanics (looking for hidden objects, yawn, or playing silly mini-games when it comes to "forensic analysis"), a camera that restricts your view of the action, cookie cutter storylines (each of which can be solved in under an hour), and poor production quality (including subpar graphics and sloppy animation), NCIS should be left in the bargain bin.

While you get to rub elbows with the stars, don't expect A-list voice talent, such as Mark Harmon as Jethro Gibbs (instead, it's a bad sound-alike), plus Robert Wagner and David McCallum barely say anything in the game, which is odd. Overall, NCIS isn't a very good game by any standards. It feels like a blatant marketing attempt by CBS and/or Ubisoft to cash in on the show's success without thinking about making it a compelling standalone product for casual or core gamers. Note: All versions of the game play the same.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why movie- and TV show-based video games are usually subpar interactive experiences. Why do some (read: few) companies get it right while most get it wrong? Are games like this purely money-making "merchandise" to the creators or do they see this as an exciting extension of the initial (non-interactive) property?

  • How would you make a better NCIS game?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Windows
Price:$39.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:UbiSoft
Release date:November 29, 2011
Genre:Adventure
Topics:Adventures, Science and nature
ESRB rating:T for Blood, Suggestive Themes, Violence (Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of NCIS was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old February 5, 2012
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

good game

What other families should know
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