Goodbye, Grimsborough– Goodbye, Criminal Case?

1900059_470674339751729_560710416_nFluffy is an avid player of so-called “casual” games on Facebook– I have no clue why they’re called “casual”, since I generally play them in deadly earnest.  I’ve written the odd post here and there about the games I’ve encountered, and whether or not I’d recommend them, and I have to say that Pretty Simple’s hidden-object game Criminal Case has been the best experience I’ve had on the platform.  That includes all genres of games, not just hidden-object ones.  When I reviewed it a while back in one of my Facebook roundups, I was pretty much a newbie, and had only completed two or three cases, but since then I’ve spent a LOT of time with this game, and can honestly say that it is not only one of the smoothest-running games on Facebook– server downtime is an extreme rarity, free-energy offers almost always work (and if they don’t are swiftly corrected), and I’ve yet to see a glitch–  but also one of the most engaging games out there (if not the most).  It has a lot of strengths, from the variety of scenes involved to the artwork itself and the complete lack of a “build” mode– you hidden-object gamers know of which I speak, the need to decorate a garden or an island or something in order to unlock more stages.  (Fluffy despises build mode, and it’s put me off a good many HOGs, including some otherwise very well-executed ones like Pearl’s Peril;  sure, you can buy more costuming items for your avatar in CC, but you never even have to change clothes once you’ve started playing, because it’s not tied to whether or not you can move to the next level.)  With all that going for it, I think the game’s greatest pro is its focus on story, and especially characters.  Your team is a set of fully-realized characters that you get to know better the more you play, almost as if you were reading a really crackling mystery novel.  56 cases into the game, however, everything changes.  (SPOILER ALERT–  do NOT read on if you don’t want to know how things pan out.)

By this point in the game, you’ve been pretty much through the mill.  Not only have you taken down Grimsborough’s mob bosses, corrupt CEOs, and serial killers with your eagle eye for clues and savvy with puzzles, but have come through lots of purely expository situations that, while not essential to gameplay, make it a far more immersive and enjoyable experience.  You’ve rescued an abused puppy and seen it grow up healthy and happy with your kind-hearted forensics tech, Grace.  You’ve seen your partner, David Jones, get poisoned by a perp and have a close brush with death.  You’ve unmasked a secretive hacker who turns out to be the police chief’s granddaughter– and who falls for your resident tech expert, Alex.  You’ve had to arrest the chief, who was guilty of murder himself, only to have him commit suicide right in front of you.  You’ve finally unearthed the truth about the sinister secret society known as the Crimson Order, their hold on the late chief, and the identities of their leaders.  So what’s next?

Apparently, you swan off to another city entirely and abandon Grimsborough and your whole team.

While the first case in the new locale isn’t available yet and I can’t judge, there is a big farewell party at the end of the case.  Everyone cries.  Hell, cried, and it’s just a game.  Then a teaser page featuring a completely different set of characters  pops up, so it’s been made pretty obvious that this is the end of the road for your now-former team.

And I was yelling at the screen.  “NOOOOOO!!!!!”

On one level, I can understand why Pretty Simple would do this.  It’s a “casual” game, and people might get bored being chief of police with the same old characters.  The developers probably want to try their hand with new characters and a new city with its own problems.  Exciting stuff.  To me, though, it feels like getting plopped back to square one.  You get to keep your rank and all, but it’s too much like a reboot.  Why would you mess with success?  Maybe it’s just me, but, like a good book when it’s reached the end, I’ve considered putting it back on the shelf and not bothering with the sequel– they are rarely as good as the original.  This probably won’t happen (as I said, I play my games in deadly earnest), but I still feel a little let down– the one thing that casual games have over books is that they don’t END with such finality.  Perhaps I’m looking at it from the wrong angle, since obviously my character is still me, and still going to be solving cases and whatnot, but like the aforementioned Pearl’s Peril, this game has now reached a rather teetering point for me.  When Pearl’s main story arc was resolved, the game still kept going, but I quickly got bored, and not just because of the build mode (though that helped).  I realize that story-driven games must of necessity evolve and reinvent themselves to continue, but the key difference between these two games is that if I felt like dropping in on Pearl and company at some point in the future, I could pick up where I left off with the same characters.  But, also key, I DID become bored.  Maybe the devs are trying to keep that from happening– perhaps it’s a sort of malaise that sets in with this type of game, and they’re attempting to thwart it.  Maybe I just wanted the option of GETTING bored.  Or maybe I’m a weirdo geek that gets attached to fictional characters.

I guess my point is… dang it all, I’m gonna miss Jones and Alex and Grace and Nathan and Ramirez and Cathy and everybody else.  The fact that I WILL miss them just goes to show what a great game this is, period, and why, even though I’m flirting with the idea of quitting, I probably won’t.  Maybe my old buddies will drop in from time to time… and maybe I’ll like the new cast just as much.

 

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15 thoughts on “Goodbye, Grimsborough– Goodbye, Criminal Case?

  1. I feel the same way actually.

    I’m just about done with the last Grimsborough case at Level 56 and I don’t want to leave behind David Jones and the rest of the gang. I have grown attached to them. Especially to Jones who — in spite of his minor peccadilloes — seemed to work just as hard as I did to solve the cases and seemed to make as many deductions before I did (oh hell, let’s be honest; he always suggested them to me) — yet NEVER received ANY credit for them.

    It was always “Thank you, Commander Mark” and “You’ve done it again, Commander Mark.”. No one ever gave Jones a kind word.

    I had a little bit of a crush on Rachel Priest and was somewhat aback by her death, but I was never personally involved with her. I managed to move on after she was taken out of the picture. Jones is different. He’s a buddy, as loyal as they come, and loyalty is very important to me.

    No, if I can’t take Jones and the rest of the Gang with me to Pacific Bay, I just may not go.

    • I’ve been playing in Pacific Bay, but I’m not as enthusiastic as I was in Grimsborough. The team in PB is larger than the Grimsborough team and I feel like we don’t get to know them as well. We have two new partners we alternate cases with, Amy and Frank, and it seems like we don’t spend enough time working with either to get to know them well. I miss Jones a LOT (to be honest I crushed on him a little, even in spite of the cross-dressing incident at the Comic Con), and I keep playing in hopes that at some point they might let members of the old team drop by to help out, but it’s just not the same!

      • I thought there were more levels than 56 on Criminal Case…is this a new thing I am very confused and disappointed.

  2. I just ‘flew’ to Pacific Bay this morning, so that I’ve not yet had a chance to get know my new work crew. However, I didn’t realize that once you take your flight out of Grimsborough it seems that you can’t go back (I have 2 unfinished cases that I’d like to finish the stars for burger rewards, & collect more gold medals and medals to put towards a new police dog.). Does anyone know if it is possible to return to the GB area again once you’ve left? Thx, K

    • It IS possible to go back and complete your old cases– I actually didn’t start working toward getting gold medals for burgers and new pets until I was already at the Airport section of Grimsborough. I am current on the cases but while I’m waiting for a new one I work on my backlog– we can travel back to Grimsborough via the airplane icon.

  3. I was wondering the same thing seriouslyfluffy….I hate that I can’t see the old map. I miss Grimsborough… it feels like I broke up with a boyfriend!!! I miss my hot stuff Jones!

    • I miss Jones too! Of all the characters to bring along to Pacific Bay they picked Ramirez, not Jones! I’ve gotten to a point where I actually like Amy a lot, but Frank is NOT the same as having a cutie pie like Jones on standby.

  4. bonjour amie Américain . Je vous Aime ce jeu et vous .Je suis Joueuse Française !!! Je joue souvent . Rasurer moi le jeu ne sarète pas . Elle change de ville c’est tout .
    Amitier à vous

  5. Salut Christine, non le jeu n’est pas fini au contraire il se poursuit sur une nouvelle map.
    Pacific Bay.
    Petite info ce jeu d’investigation est développé en France.
    Bon jeu!

  6. When I got a new phone and got Crimnal case on it, it wasn’t Pacific Harbour. What can I do to get it back? I hate starting all over!!!

  7. I’m way beyond Pacific Bay,World Edition which I’m less than thrilled with.Jones and Ramirez and the rest of the Grimsbororugh gang were the best and probably the only reason I keep playing is the hope Jones might come back.

  8. This change should have been explained, at the end of game 56, instead of sending me to Pacific Bay and not letting me back in grimsborough. Do not like Pacific Bay as much.

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