L.A Noire: A Bust, or a Huge Leap in Video Game Storytelling

A little game called L.A Noire came out just over a month ago, and it looked like it was going to be another fantastic open-world adventure from Rockstar. Players would take on the role of detective Cole Phelps, just coming back from the second Great War and looking to move up in the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department. The game has guns, cops, robbers, shoot-outs, car chases, and a whole lot of running. Sounds like a standard video game, but L.A Noire brought something different to the table that might just change games forever: true-to-life acting.

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rmoar2528d ago

I can only hope most games would take a page from the L.A. Noires book on story telling. As a whole story and character development suck these days. If you want proof, compare FF13 to FF7.

Eades2528d ago

Gotta say this game didn't really do it for me, but it took a while for me to realize why.

L.A. Noire literally holds your hand through absolutely everything. You can only do certain things (like have gunfights) at certain parts in the game and while not in those parts those mechanics don't even come into question. For example you can't even take out your gun while looking for clues.

For me L.A. Noire felt like a series of minigames. Ones that I didn't particularly enjoy.

DaleBoyd2528d ago

I just like being an old school detective oh so much.

thesummerofgeorge2528d ago

I agree. I had high hopes for this game, and while the facial animation tech is cool at times, it's clear they dumped all their time and money into that while other aspects of the game suffered.

It turned out repetitive, boring and dated in many ways. There was absolutely no reason for the game to be open world, as it made zero use of it... Just a cardboard cutout of a city. Couldn't even store cars you found in a garage. Even the facial animations began to look weird because the rest of the body movements and animations were so poorly done in comparison it looked strangely unbalanced. The driving physics were beyond terrible... It was like a mediocre, PS2 era GTA ripoff, only with super realistic facial animations. Not to mention none of your decisions have any real effect on the story.

And I understand the logic behind not allowing you to kill people or draw your weapon at will, but it's a game, let me have some fun, otherwise there's no replay value whatsoever, not even a different possible story outcome, so at least let me run around the city and pick fist fights with people (hell they let you run em down with your car, so why not?).

Again, the facial animations were great in and of themselves, but I think the developers thought that was enough to make up for an otherwise shitty, poorly thought out game.... And it IMO, wasn't.

GiffTor2527d ago

Just a couple of things (coming from someone who really LIKED the game but agrees with you that the "you can do this but you can't do that" restrictions were weird, although they forced you to stay in character) - the city was recreated from the ground up from historical records, so it's a like they set it as if you were actually in 1947 LA.

The boundaries that the game set on you (e.g., you can't gun down civilians) did feel artificial but at the same time, it's much more story driven than playing this morally grey/chaotic character like in the GTA I think it's a difficult design decision to make, you know? Like, the game's more linear & story driven, so how DO you keep that and the sandbox element (as a developer)? I don't have the answer, but you see what I'm saying?

Also, and this is a total guess, but the cars: I know it's not Gran Turismo, but have you ever driven a car from that time period? They're impossible. They weigh like 3 tons, there's no power steering or brakes...anyway. I may be inventing an excuse, because the driving was pretty damned difficult, but they were old, old cars.

So anyway, I think that some of the negative reaction has been from the fact that the game was PUBLISHED by Rockstar (who does the GTA games & Red Dead...) but developed by Team Bondi, so people went in expecting a more GTA-like experience and didn't get it. It's how I felt after getting into Bulletstorm, forgetting that Epic just published it, so it wasn't an "epic" game?

thesummerofgeorge2526d ago (Edited 2526d ago )

It wasn't that the cars were too difficult to drive, it's that they were too easy if anything, as you said, cars from that era were difficult to steer and they were heavy, if you play mafia 2 they did a great job at making the cars feel true to the time. But in LA Noir, they all turn on a dime as if they're just floating around completely weightless. They clearly just didn't put much effort into the physics or animations.

I know what you mean with the boundaries, it's tough to stay true to the game but still give you the freedom to have some fun in the open world, but I really don't think it would have had any negative effect on the story if they allow you to fist fight at will. But it's not even that I want to be able to fight or shoot people per se, I just wanted something to do in the open world they created, some replay value... Even just some mini games, or if they had random petty crimes take place around the city (not like the scripted side missions) that you could choose to get involved with and shoot or arrest the perp.... it's just unfortunate that they build this big open world recreation of old LA, but it's virtually unusable, nothing fun to do in it.

I just think in focusing all this time and money on the facial animations, they neglected the rest of the games aspects, and forgot to make it fun (IMO of course).

apalkowski2528d ago

I'm not sure how I can go back to regular voice acting and face animation after LA Noire

GetoverHere1222528d ago

agreed, I was impressed, but when I saw the actor side by side, I was amazed.

2528d ago
NYC_Gamer2528d ago

i hope studios like quantic dream&team bondi continue to deliver different/fresh experiences

Warprincess1162528d ago

I personally think Heavy Rain beat LA Noire to it. Heavy Rain did everything LA Noire did. To the voice acting to the facial animations. I hate that people are just pretending that Heavy Rain doesn't exist.

DaleBoyd2528d ago

I played Heavy Rain, I though it was even more linear than L.A Noir with worse voice acting. I enjoyed it, but L.A Noire was a step towards full acting performances via video games.

Kon2528d ago

Yeah, the facial animations on HR are the same as LA Noire, yeah. /s

nopunctuation2528d ago

I loved Heavy Rain, but that game didnt even come close to waht LA Noire did. Heavy Rain is a linear game while LA Noire is a Free Roamer. Not to mention the faces look good, but are animated like they had been injected with botox. LA Noire is the first to use facial capture to paste an actors face in a game and really get those fine details that you see in a real face. Heavy Rain came nowhere near that level of detail and that showed especially when you saw the character try to make out (looked like 2 mannequins bumping heads ew).

Redempteur2528d ago

seriously the free roam aspect of LA NOIRE is useless .they should just has cut teh free roam and put more detailled /area and that would be good .

An open world just for the sake of it disapointing IMO .. LA NOIRE lacks what most free roam games have while roaming ...

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