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L.A Noire


Lippel
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I've been playing this for the last 10 days or so having picked it up cheap. It really is quite a mix of thing, but it's mostly annoying me now. Obviously the facial animation and lip synching is lovely, but I'm buggered if I can reliably read truth vs doubt more than about 50% of the time. It seems that sometimes a shifty eye look isn't shifty, and that looking you in the face and answering the question calmly isn't the truth.

What I'm more underwhelmed about is LA itself. Whilst I'm sure it's an accurate representation of LA in the 40's, it's really dull. All the buildings look the same - like they are just lego bricks of the same dimensions that go on forever. Because it's so samey, there's no chance of ever recognising anything, so I always feel like I'm just in the same place. This is sometime after GTAIV, and yet the city just doesn't come near the detail that it managed. Weird.

Not saying it's boring, but I'd fell asleep last night at the virtual wheel.

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Apparently they didn't have a lead animator for most of the game, hence the lack of any actual characters in the city proper.

In the first scene I witnessed, an NPC character on the far side of the street broke his animation cycle and glitched out for a second or so. This in the game that so many had hailed as wonderful, next gen, etc.

From that moment I knew it was an unfinished turd. And then I "played" it, lurching through these small chunks of linear gameplay that was basically dragon's lair in new clothes.

I'm still baffled as to how so many hailed it as brilliant.

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To be fair to it it's neither Dragon's Lair in new clothes (I'd pin that claim on Heavy Rain if anything), nor a turd (you want a turd, go play something like Captain America: Super Soldier, and come back). But it does play like the bones of a much bigger, much better game.

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To be fair to it it's neither Dragon's Lair in new clothes (I'd pin that claim on Heavy Rain if anything), nor a turd (you want a turd, go play something like Captain America: Super Soldier, and come back). But it does play like the bones of a much bigger, much better game.

Each to their own and all that, but I bet the majority on here see it as a massive turd. It didn't earn my accolade of 'worst game I've ever played' for nothing.

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It's no way the worst game ever, there are a lot lot worse. Most disappointing? yes. Most over hyped tech demo? Yes. Most up there with Daikatana for years of development and promise that then amounts to nothing? Yes.

Annoyingly, if they sorted it out and made a second one, it could be quite a good game but as said up there, it's the bones of a good game. Mafia one and two are way better but a mix of the two could possibly work.

In fact, just a non-linear version of the same sort of thing could work well, as has been mentioned repeatedly, being able to actually question anyone you come across and missing or finding clues really having a bearing on the story, could be good. Or just put the facial tech in something like Fallout 4 and be done with it.

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THe thing is though, we all prettu much suspected what Heavy Rain was goign to be because it was by David Cage, this had R* involvement, loads of famous-ish names in it with teh real facezzz!!111! and it was going to be 1940's GTA with proper interviewing and detective work but...

It ended up being a press A to proceed during the detective work that wasn't as good as Blade Runner for how it worked with the clues etc, all totally linear, no real interview technique and actual knowledge applied all in a totally dead city.

Heavy Rain was a slightly less bonkers but much prettier Fahrenheit but essentially very similar.

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  • 3 months later...

Right, so having got this at Christmas I finished it yesterday after a few days play. Much like with the FFXIII thread, I kept out of it once the game was released, so it was interesting last night to read from page 45-odd to see what people made of it.

To start, I'll say that I don't think it was a good game at all; firmly average, for me. That said, I *do* think it was very much a game, not an interactive book. I think that those who said it wasn't a game are being very unfair - true, there may not have been the greatest amount of depth and the central gimmick didn't evolve throughout the whole game but I don't think that's relevant.

Anyway, on with my take on it. Much of what I might have said has already been said so I'll start with the facial tech: it wowed me for the first few cases, but I was surprised at how little I actually think it added to the game as a whole. Like I say, I was impressed with it at first but by the time I'd done the first homicide case the impact it had on me had gone. From that point on I didn't really feel it was as impressive as all the press made it out to be. I certainly don't believe that it is something that taints any other game - I went from this to The First Templar (which is shockingly low-rent) and the horrible animation in the faces didn't peturb me at all.

So, my comments are related to the story, and I'll spoiler them just to be safe:

Well, that was all a bit of a let-down, wasn't it?

Homicide was by far the dullest and most frustrating from a narrative point of view. There's an old rule for a whodunnit story that you should never leave all of your reveals or introduce new facts on the last page; you should leave just enough clues throughout that allow a canny reader to have at least an idea of who did it and why. The Homicide desk fails miserably in this regard, introducing not only the barman as an important character but also the fact that he is untouchable. Yes, I know he was mentioned in the second bar (I did register that at the time but as there was nothing I could do with that information I didn't think much about it) but that really isn't good enough. Outside of that there is nothing to go on as to who the perpetrator is (it's obvious that none of those we jail are responsible) and when we find out who he is we aren't really given any kind of satisfactory motive either. It's just poor from a storytelling point of view.

Vice sees Phelp's whole bizarre affair come out; an affair that makes no sense to us as it comes completely out of the blue with a character that Phelps has only seen once prior to that moment. We have no idea as to his motivation for doing it, nor does it make sense given his strict morals. Granted, we don't really have much of a character in Phelps and we know little about him, but it still seems out of place. At least Roy Earle is a character whose motivations we can see and understand, and his betrayal of Phelps makes sense and we can see how it would come about. I'd go so far to say that Earle is the only decent character in the whole game. From an overall story point of view, the Vice desk does start to hint at something bigger going on and is much better at integrating the individual cases into something more cohesive, though the way Mickey Cohen is completely ignored after we've had to drive around town getting into shoot-outs with his goons is also stupid.

Finally, to Arson. Here we now have cases that link sensibly together, we can work out the bigger picture if we pay attention (the freeway is first mentioned early on - the first case I think? - but it clicked for me following the film Kelso finds with the $3 billion being mentioned) and there's more of an urgency through the cases. This comes at the cost of stripping out some interrogations but I think it works to inject some much-needed pace into proceedings. It was the best desk I think (barring the dreadful final case), but there were some real issues I had with it.

Firstly, Kelso's terrible little pep-talk with Phelps, which clears the air between them. Is that really all Kelso - who we know to be somebody who doesn't take any crap, who likes to get his point across - would say? Seriously? I thought that was silly and would have been better left unsaid. Secondly, Phelps' 'redemption' at the end. Now I'm fine with gloomy endings to things, but it just made no sense at all. From the limited character development we know about him, the things we see make him happy are recognition for being a good cop and solving cases (which he gets and shows satisfation from following the fist arson case) and his relationship with Elsa. Yes, he has war guilt and seeing Tex affects him, but it still doesn't make sense that he would choose to die. There's absolutely no reason - the case is busted wide-open (obviously not for certain folk due to the DA deal) so it would start to rebuild his reputation, and every indicator is that he wants to be with Elsa. So dying serves no purpose, nor does it have any impact. Perhaps a subtle difference that might not have felt quite as hammy would have been if he had at least tried to jump up but still died - though it would still be a cheap, lazy ending.

I think the script was at times pretty good (I liked Kelso's "I was never his enemy," line), at times awful (his line "It has your address...but not your number," *smug grin* was rubbish) and I think the acting was merely ok. I didn't feel that any of the deaths were met with any kind of emotion and held no impact. Additionally, the blatant gurning (and comments) during interrogations whilst you were deciding what to say were just out of place and even more stupid when you were dealing with the recently bereaved. There's plenty of other bits that I feel just didn't work very well or didn't fit the structure or narrative, but a lot has been mentioned.

I know it seems like I found nothing of value but, like my experience of FFXII (another title recently finished that I didn't enjoy), I didn't hate this - I'd rate it a 5/10 because the initial excitement of a new gaming experience should be recognised and there are elements in there that could make for a great game from another developer - but I don't think either the underlying tech or the strucutre deserve anywhere near the amount of praise the gaming press were quick to heap on it.

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I tried to finish it - I really did. But in the end I realised I had better things to do with my time.

It was a wasted opportunity.

Studying the faces of suspects could have been good, but it was badly implemented. What's the point if it tells you immediately if you were right or wrong, just inviting you to reload? - not that it made any difference anyway. It's a bit like Cooking Mama - "you fucked up, but don't worry Mama will sort it out"

And I hated the sodding police station! It was well designed and looked great, but I dreaded every time I'd get sent there to question a suspect. I got lost EVERY SINGLE TIME looking for interview room 3 or whatever. In third person games with flappy cameras the last thing I need is a maze section with tight corridors- I've got a bad sense of direction anyway.I spent ages wandering round in circles in that place. It was infuriating and needed some kind of navigation system (or a first person view).

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  • 7 months later...

Yeah, it's a lovely article.

I got back into LA Noire the other week after putting it down for a year and a half. I was only four hours into it at the time, felt like it was okay but the annoyances outweighed the fun. I don't know whether it's because time has meant all the hype and expectation has died down, but I've really been enjoying it- just finished up on Homicide.

Still got all the same gripes I had with it before (and the same gripes everyone else has about the flaws in the interview system), but the atmosphere has totally one me over, I'm start to enjoy Phelps awkward buttoned-up personality, the car chases are great fun... and I love the insane detail of the city. You walk into an irrelevant diner and people are discussing their food and what they're going to order. You find a carpark and there's a man working in the booth looking after the place. He's totally useless, but somebody somewhere decided that it was necessary to place him there to add to the effect. And I guess what's weird is that the game never really uses the city that much- it's this incredibly expensive, elaborate backdrop, which is a bit insane and sort of cool to spend all that time and money on it.

Homicide annoyed me a wee bit because I knew who the killer was a couple of cases earlier- woman had gone missing from bar, barma mentioned how he didn't serve her, it was the temp barman who was chatting away to her all night... no option to follow up or find out where the guy lives. Obviously the game didn't want you to catch the guy until the final case, but it stood out way too much.. or maybe I just wanted some reward for guessing right...

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  • 7 years later...
  • 1 month later...

I bought it on a whim and am playing it through; most of the criticisms in here seem valid enough, but I don't absolutely hate the game. You can see the bones of a good detective game in it. The missus watched an interrogation scene and said 'their faces are really expressive', so the key tech works well enough to a lay-person.

 

But yeah, annoying investigation mechanic, clunky gunplay, leaden driving model...

 

No longer working Vice, so I'm probably a fair way through it.

 

(A new Bladerunner game with this facial tech behind the Voight-Kampff sequences would pique my interest).

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I went back to this recently too on PS3. Not sure why, but I only did about 4 investigations when I bought it back in the day and wanted to give it another try. Apart from the facial animations, which I think are still excellent, it hasn't aged well. All the extraneous stuff like driving, shooting and even walking are very clunky.

 

My biggest problem though is I just can't seem to get my head around which questions I should ask and which responses to trigger. I generally end up with a worse record than chance when it comes to correct choices, so it really puts me off continuing. The difference between 'doubt' and 'accuse' is particularly ambiguous. I see from the video above they changed it to 'good cop', 'bad cop' and 'accuse', which does seem to make more sense.

 

I'm not sure I can be bothered taking it any further.

 

One bit of daft trivia. When asked what his favourite game was, Lewis Hamilton's brother said LA Noire.

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Yeah, that's frustrating - sometimes it makes sense, but when to go Bad Cop and when to Accuse is tricky - you have to second-guess what the developer thought was obvious at the time. The weakest part for me, too.

 

'Good Cop' and ' Bad Cop' has spoiled a few interrogations for me - like, I don't want to go 'bad cop' on a sweet old lady who's only trying to help, right? Except it just means you get a bit pushy, or ask them something mildly embarrassing. Sometimes - other times you go full-on.

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Aaaaand I'm finished. Like Cole Phelps, a flawed contender.

 

The story kept me interested enough to complete it, although the ending took a turn for the batshit. Overall, happy to have come to it with no preconceptions, and enjoyed it as I would a B movie.

 

Could have been so much better.

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  • 1 year later...

I love playing BC games on my Series X and after Asura's Wrath, Bioshock 2, FFXIII, and Alice Madness Returns, I've not only concluded that the 360 generation is timeless (especially in enhanced and boosted form on Xbox), I've also now (re)started LA Noire :)

 

I bounced off back in the day. Spoiled it for myself with too much reloading and retrying, and the interrogation options didn't make sense to me. Playing the last-gen remaster I'm enjoying it a shitload more this time around. Instead of endlessly retrying until I get a perfect score, I'm just going with the flow. And yet I'm getting 99% of the questions right. I twigged that you have to consult your evidence and if there's a contradiction, then you can accuse and present it. If you don't have proof of a contradiction but you can tell they're hiding something - by watching the gloriously uncanny valley body language - you do bad cop, to push them to spill it. I don't recall the older options but I never twigged it in this manner back on 360.

 

Nearly done with the homicide desk. I'm amazed how atmospheric olde times LA is, even if there's nothing to do except the main story - I love a good set dressing and this is almost as good as the Mafia series in that regard. I'm really getting into the story and having a blast recognising actors who were somewhat well known and trending back then.

 

Also a perfect game for tired dads, you can complete one case per evening after the kids have gone to bed.

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Really enjoyed this back in the day. Enjoyed the pacing and the story and one of the few R* games I've completed!

 

Having a bit of a 360 renascence myself at the moment - except I still have the physical device! Didn't realise how many Gold titles I'd collected over the years...and not played! 

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Its fatal flaw was poorly explaining the interrogations to start with, as actually they do sort of work when you understand what's going on. I can appreciate why they leant so heavily into gauging the suspect's face as that was the killer feature of the game, but that wasn't as helpful as just thinking things through. Some thoughtful handholding there would have gone a long way in making it better.

 

Despite myself I really love this game. It's super patchy and has terrible problems, but at the same time the setting and what it is is more than enough for me. Where it's best is when it's just a glorified point-and-click. Would be thrilled if someone just made something like that.

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3 hours ago, MattyP said:

Having a bit of a 360 renascence myself at the moment - except I still have the physical device! Didn't realise how many Gold titles I'd collected over the years...and not played! 

The 360 generation is really the equivalent of the SNES and 2D game tech - it's matured enough that most of these games don't age.  OG Xbox/PS2 are more often hard to go back to (hence the disappointment of the GTA trilogy remasters apart from the lazy port job) while 360 is often as good as ever (hence R* being able to get away with rereleasing GTAV AGAIN this generation).  Sometimes these 360 games even feel fresher than ever because they simply don't make them like that anymore.

 

In case you ever have interest in picking up a Series X, keep those discs. It's a marvel to behold these games running on a Series. Sometimes they look like a Bluepoint style remake and yet it's just the original game running in BC emulation magic. FFXIII is highly recommended, it looks current gen almost in 4k with Dolby Vision. It's jaw dropping. And this time around I was in the mood for a more linear affair and therefore liked it and finished it.

Anyway, LA Noire is fun :)

 

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17 minutes ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

 

In case you ever have interest in picking up a Series X, keep those discs. It's a marvel to behold these games running on a Series. Sometimes they look like a Bluepoint style remake and yet it's just the original game running in BC emulation magic. FFXIII is highly recommended, it looks current gen almost in 4k with Dolby Vision. It's jaw dropping. And this time around I was in the mood for a more linear affair and therefore liked it and finished it.

 

Anyway, LA Noire is fun :)

 

Indeed had a series X on launch but found I was spending more time on the PC after around four months so moved it on. Not sure it I regret it or not but flipped to q PS5 for a while. Still have my 360 and PC for GamePass. However definitely not as convenient as the Series X was. Especially miss having quick resume on the PC! :)

 

I expect I'll pick up another Series console when my PC starts to struggle with newer content but not happening yet.... 

 

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