Tuesday, January 17, 2012
First Impressions: L.A. Noire
Be a police detective in LA in the forties. Solve crimes and chase bad guys all while wearing a fancy hat and suit. It's like grand Theft Auto but you're on the side of the police. In fact it's published by the same company. I've just started playing this after finishing with Skyrim. However it's been a little odd to start with. This is because I watched a lot of game play videos from the game when it was released on Xbox 360 as it didn't look like there was going to be a PC any time soon. From those videos I know a lot about the beginning of the game and the outcome of many of the cases. Eventually though a PC version was announced and around the same time the video series I was watching came to an abrupt end. It turned out the Vice section of the game wasn't really appropriate for You Tube. That usual weird standard where violence and swearing are fine but sex and drugs are not. I've not got that far yet though. I've played through the Patrolman section, which is basically just the tutorial and then I was promoted to Traffic. So I've just been dealing with car theft and insurance fraud so far.
I've been enjoying it a lot even though I'm pretty rubbish at interrogating suspects. At various points during conversations you have to pick whether you think the suspect is telling the truth or lying. If you think they're lying but you're not sure also choose Doubt. If you directly accuse them of lying you need to then offer the correct evidence to prove it. If you get it correct the suspect will generally then offer additional information which will help later. I'm not very good at this at all, particularly at choosing the correct evidence when accusing someone of lying. For this to work though the developers have some of the most advance facial animation seen in a game to date, with motion capture data from real actors. Like Gollum but rendered in real-time. It's definitely the most advanced facial animation system I've seen in a game but it's a bit over exaggerated and still quite a way off being real. An impressive step forward though, but I find myself listening for tone of voice rather than paying too much attention to the face when trying to pick out the lies.
I believe I'm about to start the last Traffic case and it's after this point that I know very little about the story in advance so that should be interesting. Are my detective skills good enough?