G247: LA Noire Review

"L.A. Noire may be compared to games like Heavy Rain, but in actuality it is more like a Sam and Max game, only much more open, and of course much more realistic. There are several cases to play through as Cole gets promoted through the ranks from Traffic to Arson. Some cases can be solved easily, but others span a few cases, and in addition to this there is an over-arching story. In my opinion, this is one of the best games this year, and by far my favorite Rockstar title. A must-buy for every gamer, and an experience that you will not soon forget."

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Kakihara2742d ago

You can't know how much I wanted to like this game but I have to admit I'm just not feeling it. I got myself up to Vice but just stopped playing and can't bring myself to start again. I tried completing a full case last night but soon went back to Beyond good and evil HD.

The game is insanely repetitive but I could honestly handle that if the thing you had to repeat was actual gameplay. I've tried and tried to turn this into an actual game, I've turned every help feature off and played every way I can but I can't find any challenge or any fun in the mindless investigations.

Of course, before we move on I have to fend off the attacks of 'Go back to COD, kid'. Let me just point out that I've never owned a COD game and usually love point and click mystery games (Grim Fandango being easily one of my favourite games of all time).

The problem with this game is that you're not asked to solve anything, you're not asked to piece together any clues. You're not even asked to search a crimescene for clues. You're made to walk along each wall of a house, either waiting for your pad to rumble or constantly clicking until you stumble across something that isn't just decoration and can be picked up. It's less like being an actual detective and more like being the guy who dusts for prints, laboriously checking every square inch of the room until something appears.

The interrogation feels more like a mini-game than an actual interrogation. If you read noir fiction like that of James Ellroy you'll read about detectives using all kinds of interesting mindgames and tricks to extract a confession. In this game you're reduced to asking about a piece of evidence then saying, 'I believe you' 'I don't believe you' or 'I dunno'.

Of course, pick the wrong piece of evidence to ask or the wrong level of belief and your investigation can be ruined in a ridiculous way. You can find a bloody hammer lying in the bedroom of a guy suspected of killing his wife with a hammer and if you make the mistake of asking the wrong question beforehand you don't get to ask about the hammer, it's like it never existed. 'Well gee, we did find a bloody hammer in his house but I kinda pissed him off with that question about his dogs so I don't think he'll give us any answers about that. I'll just let it go'.

The worst of all though, the most idiotic aspect of this detective game, you don't actually get to choose who you think committed the crime. On occasion you might be given a 50/50 in which making the wrong choice means no more than having to play one more chase sequence. Mostly though you just go from location to location until somebody runs, then after the chase sequence (which may be the third or fourth sequence of it's kind in that investigation) you automatically enter a cutscene in which your character accuses the person he's just chased down of the crime. A detective game that doesn't allow you to decide who you think comitted the crime?? It's like a strategy game that doesn't actually allow you to plan out your battle strategy but just let's you move each unit where you're told to.

The success of this game actually scares me, the support of it by most gamers scares me even worse. It's getting this reputation for being a daring chance that shuns the mainstream gamer who likes his hand held when in fact it's the single most handholding game I've ever played. I'm worried that this game's success means we're gonna see more games in the future in which the gamer has to do nothing more than let himself be led around by the hand until the 'you win' screen appears.