Monday, September 10, 2012

LA Noire

LA Noire has gone through a rise and fall with my interest over the last couple of months.

Intriguing gameplay and a compelling story. A nice change of pace from Rockstar's normal open world setup.

You play as Cole Phelps, starting as a beat cop and working your way through the LA Police Department's ranks in the late 1940s. You get a new partner with every promotion and flashbacks from the World War II Pacific Theater haunt you. You are a tough son of  bitch that has no problem accusing a father of murder within earshot of his little kids. Your partners are well fleshed out, in the typical home run hitting story building Rockstar fashion.

Graphically speaking, the game is pretty with the occasional and rare ugly texture. A minimal HUD and environmental indicators on where clues might be make immersion that much better.  Audio is much the same way, very well done and immersive, with only the occasional and very rare rough transition.

One thing Rockstar couldn't resist putting in this game as well, are their ridiculous car chases... but in truth is this one of the two complaints I have. The second is that sometimes, even with as good as it is, the interrogations go in odd direction compared to what you'd expect based on your questions. The difference between "doubting" someone's answer and flat out accusing them of lying is sometimes nonexistent. Sometimes leading to the tail of a case ending in a way you didn't intend and you fail. This translates into wasting a hour of your time if you want a nice success rate.

When I opened with "rise and fall" in regards to my interest... my fault. I burned myself out. I played it too much. That is a nod to how good the game is, but also on how long it is. LA Noire should not be marathon'd through. Play a case... solve a murder, then go play something else. Come back to it when you want to solve another case.

All in all, I will be placing LA Noire into my "Finish Later" category. I will get back to it and take smaller bites this time.

I recommend LA Noire at the price point of ~$20. If you see it for that or less and like solving mysteries, pick it and add it to the pile.