Friday, May 18, 2012

Completed: LA Noire

This actually happened last week as I tried to tick some games off this list before Diablo 3 arrived but then I never found a moment to fit in a post about it. Overall I really enjoyed this game. The world of forties LA looks fantastic, the clothes, the cars and the buildings all fit together well and feel pretty authentic. I'm sure they've had to take some liberties with the road layout but having never been to LA in the forties or otherwise I would notice. The city feel adequately large and is fun to just drive around in sometimes, with the siren on of course as speed limits are boring. The driving mechanics work surprisingly well. While the static art is all excellent the character work still has room for improvement. The joins between different animations are quite stiff at times and although the MotionScan face capture technology is a pioneering thing for gaming the results here are over exaggerated to the point of making you laugh sometimes. So while a success in technical achievements the biggest problem I ended up having was with the story. There will be some spoilers coming up. The game is divided into four sections as we play ex-marine Cole Phelps in his career with the LAPD, going through: Traffic, Homicide, Vice and finally Arson. The first three sections were excellent but I found myself disappointed by the final one. You're demoted to Arson after the final events of Vice and things get a bit strange from there. No longer the star of the precinct the overall story doesn't seem to revolve around you as much anymore. It gets so bad that Phelps recruits old comrade Jack Kelso, now working as an insurance investigator, to help. Then all of a sudden you're playing half of the game as a new character who you barely know. You're switch between the two as they work the main case from different angles but it feels odd and rushed. It makes sense for the story they're telling but why choose to tell it that way? Then in the final action sequence Phelps saves the day but ends up drowning in the process for a very lame death. We then end at his funeral and find the half of the corrupt officials seem to have gotten away with everything. It was a very unsatisfying end. If there is one thing I learned from this though, it's that I would be complete rubbish as a detective doing interrogation.

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