L.A. Noire

Do you remember the days of sitting in front of a computer pointing and clicking through “Les Manley Lost in L.A.?” It was a time when video gamers were expected to do more than line up a set of cross hairs and snipe a Nazi from 200 feet away. Remember a time long since when, walking around a room, a hallway, waiting for your character to turn his/her head looking at an item which could be used for this or that. Remember combining two items together to ‘logically’ somehow make sense and progress through the game onto the next set of items to collect. If you don’t, neither does Rockstar.

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L.A. Noire is a chimera of sandbox/shoot-’em-up/adventure/mystery. It’s a new age kinda game. The kind that says, forget hunting and clicking with your mouse to hopefully find that one brick in the wall that was slightly off colour. Now it’s all about walking around a crime scene waiting for your control to shake with piano chimes. Then do some cover based shooting.

Today, I’m Cole Phelps. A straight forward kinda guy. With a firm grasp on a layman’s set of logic, however superior to the partners I work with. While also having no issues with looking at naked sliced up popcorn hoes. Apparently this makes Cole a natural crime scene detective. The only issue is, there happens to be no problems with basic human emotions. Example: There’s a grieving widower and Cole starts shouting at her. It comes across as if he’s only heard of the word ‘anger’ and never took the time to look up the definition.

Anyway, this ridiculous long game Cole’s flawless prowess is to hop back and forth from “Traffic” to “Homicide” to “Vice” desks. Pretty much jumping between police departments like a police hussy.

I will say while standing at a cliff contemplating weather to continue on with this game before I jump onto other ‘Murder Mystery’ type games. L.A. Noire is encouraging if only to throw in a captivating story and set of puzzles. It has its fine moments of chase scenes and shoot-em up moments, however not necessarily my favorite bits. Mainly because like Rockstar’s prior games, Grand Theft Auto, walking is like driving a car. Driving a car feels like there’s an elephant sitting on the hood. If you really don’t prefer this portion, the game literally says, “Oh, fuck it. Just skip it. But you better be amazing at those fucking puzzles.”

Investigation begins with combing the crime scene, or possible suspect’s house for items. Obviously the developers knew you can’t make every trash bin clue of intrigue. Thus, you can’t also make all the clues obvious too. Otherwise we’re left with two scenarios which go down either way. One, you have someone like me looking at every cigarette but for forensics. Two, you find all the clues and Cole still gets really excited about a cigarette pack.

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After this easter egg hunt the puzzles kick in. Mainly when you interrogate little Johnny. You ask them questions, they reply and you decide if they’re telling the truth, holding out, or straight up lying. Trouble in Shangri-La hits because it has the Alpha-Protocol issues… Also known as ambiguity. If I choose ‘Doubt,’ I have no way of knowing if Cole is going to raise a single eyebrow or flip the table and accuse them of stealing the 2016 election. For example, in an early mystery I found a pair of broken glasses which were also slightly repaired. When interrogating the wife she said her husband had new glasses. I picked “Lie” and Cole started ripping into her and nearly accusing the old hag of connections with the third reich. My tip to these moments is to always assume they lying first because you have the option of backing out if the alibi fits. However, if you accuse your suspect of lying and you haven’t a shred of evidence to back it up, the game yells at you. Which leads me to believe Cole didn’t get the memo good-cop/bad-cop is supposed to be two different cops. Not the same cop trying to be both.

However, this is what you get for having actors portray the witness/suspects in this game. The director is saying, “Look like you’re lying.’ The irony is, I know you’re an actor who’s lying about lying at this point. Well this time exaggerate an eyebrow or something. Instead the characters spin their eyes around. The facial animation through the interrogation scenes are impressive. There’s moments when you feel like you really are looking at the expressions of a person rather than a multi-polygonal etch-a-sketch. Downfall kicks in when there’s less detail given to the bodies of the characters. Most of which look like a broom handle was shoved up everyones ass.

L.A. Noire doesn’t have contrived ways of creating ‘logic’ tasks within the game. However, it does have contrived reasons to make the story continue on in hopes the overall arch story doesn’t run cold. Example being I found a movie ticket on a corps. To me this meant the suspect could be in THAT movie theatre right now. However, that was not the case at all. Another example includes two suspects with chance to show case my morals. Both individuals has motives flimsy as fuck. Essentially the game will yell at you if you imprison the wrong guy. Which later on you’ll find had nothing to do with the crime in the first place. So, you’re right to believe the suspects weren’t entirely innocent but also not murderous either. Meanwhile the game wont even apologize for the scolding it gave ya earlier.

L.A. Noire is encouraging, however looses faith unto itself. But seriously for the climax of this game instead of taking down an evil psycho doctor bent on hurting WW2 vets. Instead, we’re left in a sewer with a flame thrower killing members of the mob. Wait, what!? Seriously? That makes no sense…. That’s like shooting Hitler in the face while also killing a majority of the third reich in a burning theatre. Also known as the level of ridiculousness only reserved for Quinton Tarantino.

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