Ranting While Playing: L.A. Noire


First and foremost, this game is absolutely amazing to look at.  When I first saw screen shots I wasn’t all that impressed, but I was blown away when I saw how realistic the facial animations are.  Every little twitch, glance, dimple, and frown looks so human that it can get a little creepy.  I’m playing through the game in black and white because the color is the only thing that seems a bit off to me.

Adventure game logic, oh how I haven’t missed you.  When you’re interrogating someone you can decide whether you think they’re telling the truth or lying.  If you think they’re lying you need to back up your accusation with evidence.  The problem is that you can’t tell the game what your logic is, so you have to try to predict how your character would interpret the evidence.  (This may be a spoiler. I’m describing how I failed a case so it’s not a solution, but you might not want to read anyway)  For example, there’s one case where a man got hit by a car.  At first glance he appeared to have been drunk, but you find a bloody knife in the trash and increased life insurance in his pocket (among many other bits of evidence).  The wife says he just walked in front of the car, but I think she’s lying.  The problem is that I have two pieces of evidence: one that explains motive and one that explains method.  The life insurance is good evidence for why she would want to kill him.  She may have stabbed him with the knife, causing him to stumble, wounded, into the road.  How do I know which one to present?  How do I know whether or not my character will use the same logic that I’m using?  You essentially just have to pick something that you think fits and rub it against their cheek, hoping something happens.

At other times the Truth/Doubt/Lie system just doesn’t fit the conversation.  Someone says “If ___ really tried to ___ ___, my advice would be to leave town.”  His advice would be to leave town?  How do you decide if he’s lying about that?  Lying about what?  Huh?

Trying to drive decently from mission to mission (unlike GTA, etc) starts out as a unique experience, but then becomes annoying over time.  You can simply have your partner drive instead, but there’s an achievement for driving a certain distance on your own.  Why you so mean, Rockstar?

“Where were you taking the car?”  “Blow it off, greenhorn.  You’ll get nothing from me.”  Is he telling the truth or lying?  About what?  What the hell and I supposed to be considering here?

I’m not sure if you’re really supposed to like Cole. He plays it all straight edge, but whenever something happens the worst he ever does is chastise people over it. He was shown to be pretty unprepared for his responsibilities during the war, he cheated on his wife, he put a half dozen innocent people in jail, and he threatened to blow Vice Douche’s head off for soiling the name of someone who strangely enough had shot Cole during the war.

Ultimately it seemed like Jack Kelso was supposed to be the hero of the story. Most of their squad had become criminals and Cole was haunted by what he had ordered his men to do in the war, but Kelso was able to keep himself together and move back into society, improving it while he did so. You start to play as him more and more the closer you get to the end while Cole looks less and less like a hero. Kelso is put into life threatening situations while Cole used dishonest practices to push him forward, but he ultimately survives while Cole is washed away.

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