Saturday, 20 April 2013

In Limbo (Part 2)

I really want to like L.A Noire. I’ve sunk over 14 hours into it already and I must be about three quarters or so of the way through. So why haven’t I completed it yet? Apathy, I guess. I reached a point where I was playing it more out of a sense of ‘I should really finish this’ - but even that faded and I just stopped altogether one day. But I do want to like it. I think the concept is great. Playing as a detective with an emphasis on gathering evidence, visiting crime scenes, interviewing witnesses and interrogating suspects all against an atmospheric and detailed late 1940s L.A backdrop.

It has some great side characters and a number of interesting cases which sees you putting together clues, chasing up leads and occasionally getting involved in a fairly exciting car chase or shoot-out. The problem is, as much as I like the concept behind it, it’s just not very well executed. Gathering clues becomes a by the numbers chore. Interviewing people limits you to a small selection of questions which don’t always tally against certain evidence you personally wish to raise. It’s a very clinical process, with practically zero creative input from the player. Not to mention that the protagonist sometimes reacts in unexpected ways when you attempt to pursue particular lines of questioning.

As a result, investigating cases becomes something of a frustrating and limited experience, as you soon realise you’re restricted to only a handful of possible solutions, and these have to be followed in a particular manner in order to get the ‘best’ outcome. In addition to this, the world is large but completely sterile and there’s practically nothing interesting to do outside of the cases. This wouldn’t be a problem if the mechanics behind solving the cases was so much better and engaging for the player. But sadly they soon begin to fall a little flat.

The faces also creep me the hell out.

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