LA Noire 2 could be really great if they took off the cuffs.

Posted by Noct (306 posts) -


Just about finished playing through LA Noire, and I've absolutely loved the experience. It's pretty obvious based on the reception the game had that there will be follow-ups; I for one would love to see that happen, but only if they can make it a MUCH more robust experience next time.

According to Wikipedia, LA Noire development started sometime between 2004 and 2007; I'm not entirely clear on what happened there or when they actually started writing any code, but it's painfully obvious to see that it is a severely dated game. Usually when a game evolves over that lengthy a time-frame, the toll is taken on the visuals, and surprisingly, this is not a place where LA Noire comes up short in the least. The graphics aren't anything breathtaking, but they are certainly nothing to scoff at either. The environments don't have the same level of detail and polish that a newer game in the "genre" does (Mafia 2), but they get the job done, and never really do anything to show their age. The facial animation (which was a lauded selling point for this game) is just fantastic, and the character modeling is some of the best we have ever seen. They aren't the highest poly-models out there, but the facial detail is just amazing, and never before in a game have I completely recognized as many actors as I did in this title. 


No, the trouble with this game's age come in its clunky, dated mechanics, and the insane amount of restrictions lay on the player throughout the experience. The truth there painfully is that this game would have felt a little dated in 2007, so playing it in 2011 has an even larger contrast to how we expect games to play today.

For starters, the control is wonky. Real wonky. I'm actually reminded a lot playing it of much earlier games in the sandbox genre from systems past. The Getaway and Driver 3 come to mind, and that's not a really friendly comparison... The movement can even give flashbacks to Resident Evil on occasion, in that feeling of never having a fine-touch to your character's placement in the environment. Often times during L.A.N. I had to circle an area I was trying to target on foot a few times before it would trigger that I was on the right spot. (A fine-touch analog movement to the left stick could do a lot to help this situation.)
 

This clunky control carries over to just about every aspect of the game unfortunately. Driving feels more like trying to steer a yacht then a car, and just taking a corner becomes somewhat of a chore, particularly anytime you a moving at a good clip and have to weave through some traffic. Navigating indoor environments on foot doesn't fare much better, and I spent more time walking into objects and slamming into walls then I did actually investigating clues.

The game is completely playable using the dated, molasses-covered control scheme, but it definitely holds the title back, and gives it a much older and less polished vibe then I expect from a release of this magnitude in 2011.

Unfortunately though, the real trouble in L.A.N. come in the fact that every single action you take in the game has been decided upon before you even get a chance to screw it up or add your own personal flair to the proceedings, and this is where the game truly comes across feeling like a last-gen (or even older) experience.

I'm not going to harp on the linearity of the game, as that is a design choice, and not a negative one in my opinion. Well, at least when it comes to the main story and how it progresses. I understand that this game has a strong narrative, and it pushing the player along a determined path to a final outcome here, and that is just fine with me. No, the problems come in when you realize that every minute detail along the way has already been decided for you as well.


 
First is the most glaring omission; the whole god-cop, bad-cop Avenue... LAN is obviously, noir, and with that should come a strong overall idea that there is black and white, good and bad, and with these moral choices, also ambiguity, grey-areas, etc... This is at times alluded to in the game, but the user is never allowed to explore it. You are a good cop, end of story. This is the most damaging choice the developers made in my opinion, and the one that makes the entire game feel like more of an interactive movie then an actual living breathing story and world.

The opportunities to allow the user to make choices just stare you in the face during the entire game, and they never release the shackles on you enough to explore it. For example, every call you go on, be they side-quests or part of the main timeline, knows how it's going to end before you even start it. Some cases will have you chasing the perp down on foot and tackling him, others will place you into a firefight where the mission will not end until the "bad guy" is dead. This forces the player to live by the moral code the game insists upon, at not only does it shatter the immersion level, at times it actually turns it into a guessing game that you can end up eating a bullet over if you aren't paying enough attention.

On multiple occasions, you will chase down an offender only to have them start firing on you. Your character will pull his gun, and you are (usually) allowed to return fire as you see fit, but the game already has a predefined outcome for this fight, and if you don't follow it, you'll usually end up dead. Sometimes they are intending you to chase the perp down and arrest him, other times they want you to just execute him, and unless I missed some obvious indicator of which was which, there was no way to know what they were expecting you to do. On more than one occasion I ran around a car or barricade to encounter the perp face-to-face, only to have no option available to me other then taking a shotgun blast to the chest and starting over again. Why there isn't an arrest option on all cases is just a mind-boggling question...
 

  In the same vein, during other cases it appears that you are being given free-reign to just spray bullets at an enemy, but then at the end of the fight you're expected to arrest them. This generally happens during the (excellent) car-chase segments, and it totally destroys the immersion and flow of the game when it happens. For example, you start questioning a suspect, only to have them flee out the back of the building and head for a waiting car. For some reason, despite the level of crime they may have perpetrated, you suddenly have free reign to have a massive shootout on crowded streets while chasing them in your cruiser. Your partner will rain gunfire down on their car as you do everything in your power to slam them off the road; often times ending with you giving their car a solid nudge and sending it flipping through the air until it finally lands in a pile of un-drivable debris. Everything seems like its going great, and you hop out of your car to finish the fight. Your character draws his gun, and it looks like you're going to be able to decide what to do next... and then a cut scene kicks in showing you pointing your gun at the waiting perp. Why?

At this point after playing GTA, Saints Row, and the like, I'm expecting to be able to either ya know, shoot the guy I've been in a gun-fight with for ten minutes, or maybe even be given the option of wounding him and going for the arrest. Sadly, none of these options are available; you just sit and watch as the game decided how this is going to end for you. I realize in some cases that it is Jermaine to the story, and you may need to question the assailant as a witness, but why not give me the option to screw that up? Maybe if I killed the guy, I would lose a valuable piece of evidence and not be able to solve that case... Situations like this are rampant in the game, and they keep it from being the truly interactive crime-drama it could be.

The inability to decide an enemy's fate is not only disappointing, but at times it just doesn't make any sense at all. Why I have the right to gun down certain people and not others is bizarre, and at times seems to actually hurt the integrity of the main character. Simply put, you should be able to choose who lives or dies in these sequences, and the game should have varying outcomes depending on how you reacted. What brings these issues even further to the forefront is that the game gives you the impression that you are being given options, but none of it really makes any difference to how the game plays out. 
 


For example, you can totally screw up a case, mess up every interrogation, and more-then-likely put the wrong guy in jail based on the evidence... and yet, the game doesn't really seem to care. You may get chewed out by the chief, but you'll still move on to the next case as if nothing bad has happened. On top of that, the game even shows you stats for the damage you did during your investigation. A tally of the damage done to cars, to the city as a whole, and the innocent people you may have injured on the street is given at the completion of each case, only again, it doesn't really seem to make any difference one way or the other... Why give me this information if it isn't going to have any bearing on the game?

Lastly, on top of it not giving you any breathing room on your morality or actions, the investigations themselves feel like the most hand-holding part of the entire game, and since they are the bread and butter, it's the most painful issue. Investigating a crime-scene always plays out exactly the same way. You enter a location, and then clunk around in it waiting for the controller to vibrate telling you you're near an object you can interact with. You then (clumsily) handle each object and wait for another vibration to tell you if it's a worth-while clue or not. Once you have found everything, the dramatic background music fades out. 
 


So, let’s break this down for a moment... The engine automatically tells me when I'm standing near ANY object I can pick up, holding said object instantly tells me whether or not it’s an important piece of information, and the music tells me when I've found every worthwhile object on the scene... So, the ONLY way you could miss a clue would be to get tired of waddling around looking for vibrating objects and leave a scene before the music fades. While I like that there is the ability to leave the scene without all the information, they practically slap you in the face to make sure it doesn't happen.

If you're going to be this cookie-cutter about the entire experience, you may as well just show a cut scene for this stuff and focus on the action for the meat of the game, which is definitely not the case here. I very much enjoyed the illusion that I was investigating these crimes, but it's all just make-believe at that point. I'm pretending that I might not find anything, and I'm pretending that I'm deciding what is fluff and what is hard-evidence, but really, I'm not doing any of those things, and it's disappointing.
 

At the end of the day though, this game proves that this is an exciting, untapped genre that could be a fantastic experience if it was fleshed out more and allowed the user more room to have fun, and frankly, fail at what it is giving you to do. The developers have already stated publicly that they intend this to be a franchise, and I wholeheartedly hope that turns out to be the case. There is some excellent potential in the game just waiting to come out.

#1 Posted by Noct (306 posts) -


Just about finished playing through LA Noire, and I've absolutely loved the experience. It's pretty obvious based on the reception the game had that there will be follow-ups; I for one would love to see that happen, but only if they can make it a MUCH more robust experience next time.

According to Wikipedia, LA Noire development started sometime between 2004 and 2007; I'm not entirely clear on what happened there or when they actually started writing any code, but it's painfully obvious to see that it is a severely dated game. Usually when a game evolves over that lengthy a time-frame, the toll is taken on the visuals, and surprisingly, this is not a place where LA Noire comes up short in the least. The graphics aren't anything breathtaking, but they are certainly nothing to scoff at either. The environments don't have the same level of detail and polish that a newer game in the "genre" does (Mafia 2), but they get the job done, and never really do anything to show their age. The facial animation (which was a lauded selling point for this game) is just fantastic, and the character modeling is some of the best we have ever seen. They aren't the highest poly-models out there, but the facial detail is just amazing, and never before in a game have I completely recognized as many actors as I did in this title. 


No, the trouble with this game's age come in its clunky, dated mechanics, and the insane amount of restrictions lay on the player throughout the experience. The truth there painfully is that this game would have felt a little dated in 2007, so playing it in 2011 has an even larger contrast to how we expect games to play today.

For starters, the control is wonky. Real wonky. I'm actually reminded a lot playing it of much earlier games in the sandbox genre from systems past. The Getaway and Driver 3 come to mind, and that's not a really friendly comparison... The movement can even give flashbacks to Resident Evil on occasion, in that feeling of never having a fine-touch to your character's placement in the environment. Often times during L.A.N. I had to circle an area I was trying to target on foot a few times before it would trigger that I was on the right spot. (A fine-touch analog movement to the left stick could do a lot to help this situation.)
 

This clunky control carries over to just about every aspect of the game unfortunately. Driving feels more like trying to steer a yacht then a car, and just taking a corner becomes somewhat of a chore, particularly anytime you a moving at a good clip and have to weave through some traffic. Navigating indoor environments on foot doesn't fare much better, and I spent more time walking into objects and slamming into walls then I did actually investigating clues.

The game is completely playable using the dated, molasses-covered control scheme, but it definitely holds the title back, and gives it a much older and less polished vibe then I expect from a release of this magnitude in 2011.

Unfortunately though, the real trouble in L.A.N. come in the fact that every single action you take in the game has been decided upon before you even get a chance to screw it up or add your own personal flair to the proceedings, and this is where the game truly comes across feeling like a last-gen (or even older) experience.

I'm not going to harp on the linearity of the game, as that is a design choice, and not a negative one in my opinion. Well, at least when it comes to the main story and how it progresses. I understand that this game has a strong narrative, and it pushing the player along a determined path to a final outcome here, and that is just fine with me. No, the problems come in when you realize that every minute detail along the way has already been decided for you as well.


 
First is the most glaring omission; the whole god-cop, bad-cop Avenue... LAN is obviously, noir, and with that should come a strong overall idea that there is black and white, good and bad, and with these moral choices, also ambiguity, grey-areas, etc... This is at times alluded to in the game, but the user is never allowed to explore it. You are a good cop, end of story. This is the most damaging choice the developers made in my opinion, and the one that makes the entire game feel like more of an interactive movie then an actual living breathing story and world.

The opportunities to allow the user to make choices just stare you in the face during the entire game, and they never release the shackles on you enough to explore it. For example, every call you go on, be they side-quests or part of the main timeline, knows how it's going to end before you even start it. Some cases will have you chasing the perp down on foot and tackling him, others will place you into a firefight where the mission will not end until the "bad guy" is dead. This forces the player to live by the moral code the game insists upon, at not only does it shatter the immersion level, at times it actually turns it into a guessing game that you can end up eating a bullet over if you aren't paying enough attention.

On multiple occasions, you will chase down an offender only to have them start firing on you. Your character will pull his gun, and you are (usually) allowed to return fire as you see fit, but the game already has a predefined outcome for this fight, and if you don't follow it, you'll usually end up dead. Sometimes they are intending you to chase the perp down and arrest him, other times they want you to just execute him, and unless I missed some obvious indicator of which was which, there was no way to know what they were expecting you to do. On more than one occasion I ran around a car or barricade to encounter the perp face-to-face, only to have no option available to me other then taking a shotgun blast to the chest and starting over again. Why there isn't an arrest option on all cases is just a mind-boggling question...
 

  In the same vein, during other cases it appears that you are being given free-reign to just spray bullets at an enemy, but then at the end of the fight you're expected to arrest them. This generally happens during the (excellent) car-chase segments, and it totally destroys the immersion and flow of the game when it happens. For example, you start questioning a suspect, only to have them flee out the back of the building and head for a waiting car. For some reason, despite the level of crime they may have perpetrated, you suddenly have free reign to have a massive shootout on crowded streets while chasing them in your cruiser. Your partner will rain gunfire down on their car as you do everything in your power to slam them off the road; often times ending with you giving their car a solid nudge and sending it flipping through the air until it finally lands in a pile of un-drivable debris. Everything seems like its going great, and you hop out of your car to finish the fight. Your character draws his gun, and it looks like you're going to be able to decide what to do next... and then a cut scene kicks in showing you pointing your gun at the waiting perp. Why?

At this point after playing GTA, Saints Row, and the like, I'm expecting to be able to either ya know, shoot the guy I've been in a gun-fight with for ten minutes, or maybe even be given the option of wounding him and going for the arrest. Sadly, none of these options are available; you just sit and watch as the game decided how this is going to end for you. I realize in some cases that it is Jermaine to the story, and you may need to question the assailant as a witness, but why not give me the option to screw that up? Maybe if I killed the guy, I would lose a valuable piece of evidence and not be able to solve that case... Situations like this are rampant in the game, and they keep it from being the truly interactive crime-drama it could be.

The inability to decide an enemy's fate is not only disappointing, but at times it just doesn't make any sense at all. Why I have the right to gun down certain people and not others is bizarre, and at times seems to actually hurt the integrity of the main character. Simply put, you should be able to choose who lives or dies in these sequences, and the game should have varying outcomes depending on how you reacted. What brings these issues even further to the forefront is that the game gives you the impression that you are being given options, but none of it really makes any difference to how the game plays out. 
 


For example, you can totally screw up a case, mess up every interrogation, and more-then-likely put the wrong guy in jail based on the evidence... and yet, the game doesn't really seem to care. You may get chewed out by the chief, but you'll still move on to the next case as if nothing bad has happened. On top of that, the game even shows you stats for the damage you did during your investigation. A tally of the damage done to cars, to the city as a whole, and the innocent people you may have injured on the street is given at the completion of each case, only again, it doesn't really seem to make any difference one way or the other... Why give me this information if it isn't going to have any bearing on the game?

Lastly, on top of it not giving you any breathing room on your morality or actions, the investigations themselves feel like the most hand-holding part of the entire game, and since they are the bread and butter, it's the most painful issue. Investigating a crime-scene always plays out exactly the same way. You enter a location, and then clunk around in it waiting for the controller to vibrate telling you you're near an object you can interact with. You then (clumsily) handle each object and wait for another vibration to tell you if it's a worth-while clue or not. Once you have found everything, the dramatic background music fades out. 
 


So, let’s break this down for a moment... The engine automatically tells me when I'm standing near ANY object I can pick up, holding said object instantly tells me whether or not it’s an important piece of information, and the music tells me when I've found every worthwhile object on the scene... So, the ONLY way you could miss a clue would be to get tired of waddling around looking for vibrating objects and leave a scene before the music fades. While I like that there is the ability to leave the scene without all the information, they practically slap you in the face to make sure it doesn't happen.

If you're going to be this cookie-cutter about the entire experience, you may as well just show a cut scene for this stuff and focus on the action for the meat of the game, which is definitely not the case here. I very much enjoyed the illusion that I was investigating these crimes, but it's all just make-believe at that point. I'm pretending that I might not find anything, and I'm pretending that I'm deciding what is fluff and what is hard-evidence, but really, I'm not doing any of those things, and it's disappointing.
 

At the end of the day though, this game proves that this is an exciting, untapped genre that could be a fantastic experience if it was fleshed out more and allowed the user more room to have fun, and frankly, fail at what it is giving you to do. The developers have already stated publicly that they intend this to be a franchise, and I wholeheartedly hope that turns out to be the case. There is some excellent potential in the game just waiting to come out.

#2 Posted by laserbolts (5317 posts) -

Good read but I think when you are in those car chases where your partner is shooting, he is just trying to shoot out the tires and isn't trying to kill the dude. At least that's what I thought anyways.

#3 Posted by Kombat (2205 posts) -

Yeah, your partner is definitely going for the tires every time. It is always the goal of law enforcement, and usually even military, to disable rather than kill.

#4 Posted by jetsetwillie (857 posts) -

i only read as far as the bit about graphics. and i think the 5 year old hardware that the game had to run on was the main reason it didn't always look great. 
 
i look forward to seeing the PC version.

#5 Posted by Ghostiet (5245 posts) -

Great read, man. And pretty much my thoughts on the matter.

Online
#6 Posted by AndyMP (226 posts) -

Correct, your partner is always trying to disable rather than actually kill. I absolutely love LA Noire. There are some things that could be improved upon - such as the depth of some of the investigations - but then it's a video game and if every investigation was the equivalent of a 2 hour episode of CSI it would take forever to complete.

I'm working through collecting all the film reels and attending some of the small crimes that break out during the campaign.

#7 Posted by probablytuna (3610 posts) -

One of the things I agree with you would be the stats that show up at the end of each case, like the damages and civilians injured.

Also when you said, "You may get chewed out by the chief, but you'll still move on to the next case as if nothing bad has happened", I assume you mean why there aren't consequences? If so, Team Bondi just revealed that aside from the cut case desk, Bunko and Burglary, they also cut out the part where you will be assigned solve petty crimes like muggings in order to earn back the Captain's trust to give you another major case.

#8 Posted by AuthenticM (3710 posts) -

I liked playing through L.A. Noire, but that's one of those games that I do not want to play ever again. If the game you are describing did exist, then maybe. Sure, it could be better. But right now, all I have to say is: fuck the procedural bullshit. I want GTA V.

#9 Posted by Cyrus_Saren (533 posts) -

Yeah, I'm pretty sure your partner always tried to shoot out the tires, not kill the guy.
#10 Posted by ac3x (48 posts) -

The headline of this piece could have been Immersive v. Emergent. I think we'd be hard pressed to find a title that includes both qualities. Maybe the Stalker series?
 
But my favorite part of this piece was your usage of "Jermaine".

#11 Posted by Noct (306 posts) -
@jetsetwillie said:

                i only read as far as the bit about graphics. and i think the 5 year old hardware that the game had to run on was the main reason it didn't always look great.  i look forward to seeing the PC version.
           

Fair enough, but I surely wasn't complaning about the graphics. They aren't nearly as nice as say, Mafia 2, but they don't hold the title back in the least. I'm actually pretty surprised at how nice everythign actually looks considering the age. 
@laserbolts said:

                Good read but I think when you are in those car chases where your partner is shooting,  he is just trying to shoot out the tires and isn't trying to kill the dude.  At least that's what I thought anyways.
           

Hey thanks, I appreciate that. As far as your partner shooting (which a few people commented on), I think maybe I gave you guys the wrong impression of what I was saying there... 
 
I wasn't implying that he was nessecarily trying to kill them, just that I found it strange that you were allowed to have these massive gunfights in speeding cars without any concern for the public or the perp, which just furthers the idea that no matter how you accomplish the goal, its the same result. 

Also, I get that he's trying to shoot-out the tires (he even says it, repeatedly every time), but he typically misses, and in most of my experience, their car is usually just riddled with bullets by the time it stops. My point here was more about how violent this chase usually is, often ending in the car tumbling down the road into a mangled mess. Yet, no matter what, the guy is always just sitting there, until you get close enough to trigger the cut-scene of him being arrested. It just bothered me that I couldn't handle those situations as I saw fit, be it arrest him, shoot him, let him escape on foot, etc... It just feels too rigid as is; I want more variety, and I want to be able to "fail" these actions, not just complete steps A and B so I get the same canned cutscene.
#12 Posted by Noct (306 posts) -
@ac3x said:

                The headline of this piece could have been Immersive v. Emergent. I think we'd be hard pressed to find a title that includes both qualities. Maybe the Stalker series?  But my favorite part of this piece was your usage of "Jermaine".
           

Hahahah, yeah, that word doesn't present itself with a lot of opportunity to be used, but I enjoyed it. I must admit, I didn't know it was supposed to be capitalized till I ran a spell-check. :)  
I'm not 100% sure I follow you on immersive vs emergent though... Do you just mean in the sense that it's a new genre and stll in it's infancy so I shouldn't expect it to be both fresh and immersive?

@akiz_jack said:

               

One of the things I agree with you would be the stats that show up at the end of each case, like the damages and civilians injured.

Also when you said, "You may get chewed out by the chief, but you'll still move on to the next case as if nothing bad has happened", I assume you mean why there aren't consequences? If so, Team Bondi just revealed that aside from the cut case desk, Bunko and Burglary, they also cut out the part where you will be assigned solve petty crimes like muggings in order to earn back the Captain's trust to give you another major case.


           

Ah no doubt, well that would have been a little better I suppose. You would at least get some sense of consequences for your actions. Hell, I don't even think they need alternative methods to get back in the captain's good graces. I would be perfectly fine with, "your a shitty cop, game over". I'm thinking of like a Dead Rising type of deal; you screw it up bad enough, you have to start again.
@Ghostiet said:

                Great read, man. And pretty much my thoughts on the matter.
           

Thank you sir, I truly appreciate when people take the time to say so. It's always more fun to write when people are actually reading it, and it's even cooler when people agree.
#13 Posted by laserbolts (5317 posts) -
@Noct Oh sorry I thought your complaint was that you thought your partner was trying to kill him but then you weren't given the option to once he stopped. I agree that there isn't really any decision making in the game but that's what sequels are for. Hopefully.
#14 Posted by TheGreatGuero (9130 posts) -
Well written, dude. I really agree with you 100%, though I don't see how you were able to finish it. After a good 30 hours of that same BS, I decided I wasn't enjoying it enough to continue. The game is even a chore, despite the fact that they hold your hand the whole time. Dude, EVEN THE RUNNING is assisted. When you're running up stairs and through corridors and stuff, all you have to do is hold up and the game makes all the turns for you. It's just too much. You never feel like a detective, you need feel like you're really investigating, and like you said, none of it ever really matters. 
 
I think it would really help if they changed the game to first person and stopped giving you hints and chimes whenever you encountered something. Make the world truly interactive, and give the player freedom to make their own decisions. Heck, at one point, I made the RIGHT decision, and still my commanding officer scolded me and arrested the other guy because he appeared to be more of a criminal. That's freaking whack, dude. It's like... why even try? I think it would also be a great idea to let you use your own moral judgments and allow you to play as a bad cop if you wanted. You see so many of your partners do it, so you should be able to dabble in that sort of behavior too if you so choose. Giving freedom also allows for a more personal experience and more of a reason for replayability. It would also encourage you to not miss things.
 
They need to fix the interrogation and questioning sequences too. Too often I'd ask the wrong thing because Cole just wouldn't ask what I wanted him to. And sometimes, it seems as though there could be multiple good answers, but only 1 is ever truly right. That gets annoying. Instead of penalizing me, let me handle the questioning with more possibilities. The game should give me a chance to explain my reasoning a little better.  
 
Also, the driving sucks, and there's far too much of it. It's disappointing that you're never the one that gets to shoot out the tires during chase sequences. Nothing special stands out about the recreation of LA, which is rather boring aside from a few real locations.

And man, I completely agree with the shootouts. Apparently the rule of the game is, if they shoot at you, you MUST kill them. They'll just stand there and keep shooting with unlimited ammo if you don't shoot them. Even if killing them doesn't even seem justified, you have to. I think that's so lame. It really takes away from the whole concept of being a good cop. The game would be so much better if it would allow me creative ways to neutralize a suspect, rather than popping out behind cover and easily dropping him with a headshot. You can't even disable them by shooting them in the leg, you HAVE to kill them. That's just laziness to me, and it makes the shootouts so boring. 
 
@Kombat said:

Yeah, your partner is definitely going for the tires every time. It is always the goal of law enforcement, and usually even military, to disable rather than kill.

Right, but that's also what makes it so disappointing that you have to end so many missions and sidequests by killing people. It never really feels justified to me at all. You never disable anyone, unless it's by stopping them in a car chase or tackling them on foot. Otherwise, you're just killing them. Ugh.
#15 Posted by DystopiaX (5300 posts) -

Great read and something I had thought about but don't have the writing chops to articulate as well as you did.

#16 Posted by Strife777 (1519 posts) -

As others have said, your partner shooting during the chase scenes is more him trying to shoot the tires than the perp himself. I must also say that critisizing the "hand-holding" when it comes to finding clues isn't warranted, since all of those cues (vibration, sounds and music) can be turned off.

Still, even though I disagree with some of your thoughts and saw different parts of the game mechanics in a different way, I must say I found your text interesting and well written, a very good read.

#17 Posted by DystopiaX (5300 posts) -

@Strife777 said:

As others have said, your partner shooting during the chase scenes is more him trying to shoot the tires than the perp himself. I must also say that critisizing the "hand-holding" when it comes to finding clues isn't warranted, since all of those cues (vibration, sounds and music) can be turned off.

Still, even though I disagree with some of your thoughts and saw different parts of the game mechanics in a different way, I must say I found your text interesting and well written, a very good read.

I'd still think you don't shoot at tires unless the situation is serious, cause something could go wrong and innocents/the guy you're trying to arrest could be killed, but it's more a nitpicking thing. I thought that the parts about choice/good cop bad cop/morality were the main focus here.

#18 Posted by livelikeabomb (8 posts) -

I have full respect for your opinion and this piece of writing, but as a guy who was satisfied with a larger portion of L.A. Noire than you were I found some of your visions to be at least as inconsistent as those of the actual game.
 
For example, you said, "On more than one occasion I ran around a car or barricade to encounter the perp face-to-face, only to have no option available to me other then taking a shotgun blast to the chest and starting over again." While I do agree with your point about the cookie-cutter nature of the chase scenes in the game, I think you would feel relieved to know that the answer to the arrest question lies in your example. When a person chases an aggressive criminal around a corner, it becomes a matter of survival rather than choice to be confronted by a shotgun, even if that person just happens to be named Master Chief.
 
I also think what people were trying to say about the partner's habit of shooting only for tires was that there was no intent (and, in fact, no reason at all) to harm the perpetrator by the end of the chase. Any danger arising from those chase scenes was the fault of the runner himself and not the police, who were only trying to detain a very important suspect. Frankly, to desire any freedom of choice beyond simply arresting a man -- especially one who sits quietly in his car -- is psychopathic, and you should get that checked out. ;)
 
Both kidding and constructive criticism aside, I'm glad you took L.A. Noire so seriously as a game that you were willing to analyze it as carefully as you did. Keep writing because you do it well.

#19 Posted by probablytuna (3610 posts) -

@TheGreatGuero said:

I think it would also be a great idea to let you use your own moral judgments and allow you to play as a bad cop if you wanted. You see so many of your partners do it, so you should be able to dabble in that sort of behavior too if you so choose. Giving freedom also allows for a more personal experience and more of a reason for replayability.

But Cole Phelps is an established character. His personality and moral compass has already been set by the writers and his way of thinking is directly tied to the game's story. He is meant to be the shinning star of the police force that stands out above the rest. This isn't an RPG where you can choose your own character and what not. Also, look at how Red Dead Redemption handled the morality system. In the game, the player can choose to be good or evil, but the story is about John Marston and his atonement for his past . It doesn't make sense that while he is on the road to redemption that he would just go randomly rob banks and shoot innocent folk. The gameplay feature completely contradicts the character and the story.

#20 Posted by TheGreatGuero (9130 posts) -
@akiz_jack said:

@TheGreatGuero said:

I think it would also be a great idea to let you use your own moral judgments and allow you to play as a bad cop if you wanted. You see so many of your partners do it, so you should be able to dabble in that sort of behavior too if you so choose. Giving freedom also allows for a more personal experience and more of a reason for replayability.

But Cole Phelps is an established character. His personality and moral compass has already been set by the writers and his way of thinking is directly tied to the game's story. He is meant to be the shinning star of the police force that stands out above the rest. This isn't an RPG where you can choose your own character and what not. Also, look at how Red Dead Redemption handled the morality system. In the game, the player can choose to be good or evil, but the story is about John Marston and his atonement for his past . It doesn't make sense that while he is on the road to redemption that he would just go randomly rob banks and shoot innocent folk. The gameplay feature completely contradicts the character and the story.

Statistically, it's been proven that the vast majority of players always play as a total good guy anyway. I would have remained as a shining star character myself, but I would have liked the potential to be tempted by the corruption I was swimming in.
#21 Posted by probablytuna (3610 posts) -

@TheGreatGuero said:

@akiz_jack said:

@TheGreatGuero said:

I think it would also be a great idea to let you use your own moral judgments and allow you to play as a bad cop if you wanted. You see so many of your partners do it, so you should be able to dabble in that sort of behavior too if you so choose. Giving freedom also allows for a more personal experience and more of a reason for replayability.

But Cole Phelps is an established character. His personality and moral compass has already been set by the writers and his way of thinking is directly tied to the game's story. He is meant to be the shinning star of the police force that stands out above the rest. This isn't an RPG where you can choose your own character and what not. Also, look at how Red Dead Redemption handled the morality system. In the game, the player can choose to be good or evil, but the story is about John Marston and his atonement for his past . It doesn't make sense that while he is on the road to redemption that he would just go randomly rob banks and shoot innocent folk. The gameplay feature completely contradicts the character and the story.

Statistically, it's been proven that the vast majority of players always play as a total good guy anyway. I would have remained as a shining star character myself, but I would have liked the potential to be tempted by the corruption I was swimming in.

Again, it's not about being given the choice, the point is that the story has already dictated to what the character should be so it wouldn't make sense for player to choose whether Cole should be a good cop or bad cop (same applies to Red Dead Redemption). If the story was written differently then the choice of being good cop/bad cop is justifiable.

#22 Posted by Oni (2098 posts) -

I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. I also found the entire homicide story arc incredibly disappointing.

#23 Posted by TheGreatGuero (9130 posts) -
@akiz_jack: Yeah, I understand. I mean, I couldn't manage to push myself to even complete the game, so I haven't fully seen why it wouldn't work, but I get you. I mean, that's one of the things about open-ended games. You want to give players freedom, but doing so limits the developer's ability to tell the story that they want to tell. 
 
At the very least, they still could have told their specific story and you know, still let you actually feel like a detective, but they failed at that, as the original poster explained very well.
#24 Posted by probablytuna (3610 posts) -

@TheGreatGuero said:

At the very least, they still could have told their specific story and you know, still let you actually feel like a detective, but they failed at that, as the original poster explained very well.

That I agree with you. I turned off all hint systems when I played the game and even then there's still the music cue and vibrations when you turn key objects around. The interrogations are also hit and miss and probably my biggest criticism of the game because it's a major aspect of the game.

#25 Posted by Tofford (528 posts) -

I was never very good at figuring out if people were lying or not which always made the predetermined outcomes more of an issue to me. I would completely cock up all the questions but somehow still manage to arrest the right guy.

#26 Posted by Noct (306 posts) -
@DystopiaX said:


                   

Great read and something I had thought about but don't have the writing chops to articulate as well as you did.



                   

               

Hey thanks man! I wondered if other people felt as limited by the game as I did, but everything I read seemed to do nothing but talk about how great the whole thing was... It's an excellent experience, and I think it's totally worth the purchase, but it's not completely what I wanted from it. Here's hoping the next one has a much broader scope. 
 
@TheGreatGuero said:


                    Well written, dude. I really agree with you 100%, though I don't see how you were able to finish it. After a good 30 hours of that same BS, I decided I wasn't enjoying it enough to continue. The game is even a chore, despite the fact that they hold your hand the whole time. Dude, EVEN THE RUNNING is assisted. When you're running up stairs and through corridors and stuff, all you have to do is hold up and the game makes all the turns for you. It's just too much. You never feel like a detective, you need feel like you're really investigating, and like you said, none of it ever really matters.  
 
                    

               
Thanks man. Yeah, the running was definately a sore thumb. I think it goes to show just how clunky the control scheme is; they knew you'd have trouble going up those fire escapes, so they had to add assists. It doesn't really break the game for me, but everytime it happens I feel more like I'm watching an on-rails segment then playing a game. It's almost like a slightly more elaborate QTE. 
 
I don't find the game to be a chore really, I've really enjoyed the experience, I just can't help but wonder what could have been here... That's not really a fair thing to do, as this game may be exactly what the devs were after from day one, but when I play it, I simply want more freedom. I get that they are going for a strong narrative here, with an established character who you aren't deciding upon the virtue of, but it still makes the game feel like it's in a box. It seems like giving you the ability to control that character's morality would just be the obvious direction of the game... 
 
I clearly liked the game more then you did, but I completely understand where you are coming from. I haven't given Heavy Rain a try yet despite all the media love for similar reasons. I need my games to be ya know, GAMES, not just interactive cutscenes. If you can't fail, you can't really win either... 
#27 Posted by James_ex_machina (905 posts) -

Personally I get bored with GTA style games. LAN can use some improvements and variations but a typical open world would stop me from buying.

#28 Posted by Noct (306 posts) -
 
@DystopiaX
said:


                   

@Strife777 said:

As others have said, your partner shooting during the chase scenes is more him trying to shoot the tires than the perp himself. I must also say that critisizing the "hand-holding" when it comes to finding clues isn't warranted, since all of those cues (vibration, sounds and music) can be turned off.

Still, even though I disagree with some of your thoughts and saw different parts of the game mechanics in a different way, I must say I found your text interesting and well written, a very good read.

I'd still think you don't shoot at tires unless the situation is serious, cause something could go wrong and innocents/the guy you're trying to arrest could be killed, but it's more a nitpicking thing. I thought that the parts about choice/good cop bad cop/morality were the main focus here.



                   

               

Bingo.  Even if he's not trying to kill the guy, it seems strange to me that this super good guy cop would be involved in those chases, especially when the outcome is to arrest the guy, not kill him. And my point wasn't even just about that problem, as much as the overall concept of him being ok with gunning down one guiy and not another, when the maajority of the scenarios seem to have the cops in equal amounts of danger. I dunno, again, it's the dev's choice, so I don't want to pretend to know "better" which way the game "should" be, but I felt like I wanted more freedom, and a better sense of consistancy. 
 
@Strife777 said:


                   

As others have said, your partner shooting during the chase scenes is more him trying to shoot the tires than the perp himself. I must also say that critisizing the "hand-holding" when it comes to finding clues isn't warranted, since all of those cues (vibration, sounds and music) can be turned off.

Still, even though I disagree with some of your thoughts and saw different parts of the game mechanics in a different way, I must say I found your text interesting and well written, a very good read.



                   

               

Thank you much. To be honest, I did not know you could turn those things off, but that's not really the point in my eyes... I'm playing the game at its default settings, which you would have to assume is the way the devs intended me to play. I have a feeling turning off those indicators would then just make the game consist of you wandering around every location hammering on the x button till something popped up. I don't see how that would make it feel any more authentic. I get the point, you can look for the clues yourself, but my entire point here is that the system of finding clues as a whole just doesn't feel right to me. If there's 5 items per schene that can be interacted with, X out of 5 will be meaningful, and generally, it was the stuff you hadn't already seen, like liquor bottles and stuff. Either way you have the settings, it seems like you have to "pretend" you're looking for clues, when really yoou're just looking for the spots you have to stand to trigger those events. I'm not suggesting I have the answer to how to do this better, but it feels off to me as it is.
#29 Edited by Noct (306 posts) -

@livelikeabomb said:



I have full respect for your opinion and this piece of writing, but as a guy who was satisfied with a larger portion of L.A. Noire than you were I found some of your visions to be at least as inconsistent as those of the actual game.

For example, you said, "On more than one occasion I ran around a car or barricade to
encounter the perp face-to-face, only to have no option available to me other
then taking a shotgun blast to the chest and starting over again." While I do agree with your point about the cookie-cutter nature of the chase scenes in the game, I think you would feel relieved to know that the answer to the arrest question lies in your example. When a person chases an aggressive criminal around a corner, it becomes a matter of survival rather than choice to be confronted by a shotgun, even if that person just happens to be named Master Chief.

I also think what people were trying to say about the partner's habit of shooting only for tires was that there was no intent (and, in fact, no reason at all) to harm the perpetrator by the end of the chase. Any danger arising from those chase scenes was the fault of the runner himself and not the police, who were only trying to detain a very important suspect. Frankly, to desire any freedom of choice beyond simply arresting a man -- especially one who sits quietly in his car -- is psychopathic, and you should get that checked out. ;) Both kidding and constructive criticism aside, I'm glad you took L.A. Noire so seriously as a game that you were willing to analyze it as carefully as you did. Keep writing because you do it well.




Oh I'm very satisfied with the game as a whole man; I would totally recommend it, even at full price. I'm just lamenting about things I wanted while playing it, and what I hope comes from the next installment. Anyways though, I don't see my inconsistancy there.

I see it like this... In some cases, I'll be chasing a guy, and he'll be shooting at me. I can (I believe) gun him down at any time during the chase, or I can "finish" the segment, which typically involves me tackling him and arresting him, or ending in one of those canned sequences where he takes a hostage and I have to shoot him. The point here being, that in certian cases when the people shoot at you, you're expceted to kill them, in others, you're supposed to chase them and try to apprehend them, which in many cases, also turns out to be just a trigger for a gunfight where you are still supposed to kill them. I'm not suggesting the kill isn't warranted in some cases, it just feels off to me that it decided when that is, and I am not given the choice.

Like I said, on more then one occasion, I ran up to the perp during the chase, assuming that I'd be able to do the tackle option, and it wasn't there, so I got shot in the chest. That bothered me; why wouldn't I ALWAYS have the option of wounding or tackling the dude and then going for the arrest? It seems like it's picking my morality for me, and yet, it doesn't even seem to hold up under it's own scrutiny, as sometimes it wants you to be a good cop, and other times it just wants you to assasinate people. 
 
@Oni said:


I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. I also found the entire homicide story arc incredibly disappointing.







Thanks! I think the traffic section was actually my favorite part, but it all sorta bleeds together in retrospect... Heh, it seems odd looking back on it that no matter what desk you're working for, you're still dealing with murders and you're still spending most of the day in shootouts and car chases... Maybe I just don't understand how police work. 
#30 Posted by Krisgebis (222 posts) -

L. A. Noire was def. a great experience. I enjoyed it the whole way through, even though it had to be enjoyed in chunks.

I can agree to alot of your points, and didn't think along the same line when I played it. I, most of all, wanted more room to screw up, and not having the game tell me when I was wrong, unless it made sense inside the gaming world. If I only found some of the evidence in crimescenes and interigations, then let me arrest the wrong guy, if I feel like I have enough evidence. This and more to do in the open world, would be my biggest wish in a sequel.

On a side note, you can disable the rumbling, sparkling and music cues at crime scenes if you don't like it. I played without it, and enjoyed it alot.

#31 Posted by bkbroiler (1620 posts) -

I totally agree with you. Had a great time playing the game, but it was definitely frustrating when you discovered how simple the interrogation system was, and how badly the free-roam part of the game was handled.

I feel bad bringing this up, but I'm already dreading the possibility of this being discussed as a GOTY candidate later on.

#32 Posted by Noct (306 posts) -
@Krisgebis said:

               

L. A. Noire was def. a great experience. I enjoyed it the whole way through, even though it had to be enjoyed in chunks.

I can agree to alot of your points, and didn't think along the same line when I played it. I, most of all, wanted more room to screw up, and not having the game tell me when I was wrong, unless it made sense inside the gaming world. If I only found some of the evidence in crimescenes and interigations, then let me arrest the wrong guy, if I feel like I have enough evidence. This and more to do in the open world, would be my biggest wish in a sequel.

On a side note, you can disable the rumbling, sparkling and music cues at crime scenes if you don't like it. I played without it, and enjoyed it alot.


           

Yeah, I didn't know you could disable that stuff until after I posted this, but even still, that kinda seems like another half-assed way at pretending you are actually doing the investigations. Rather then get visual and tactile clues, you're then just hammering on the X button near anything that looks like it can be picked up, and the relevance of each clue is still completely decided upon for you.  
 
If I do another play-through, I'll probably give that a shot, but really, the notification of the clues is only a small part of the issue with it in my book. Like yous aid, the biggest thing I came off feeling was that I wanted the ability to fail at some of this stuff. In my book, if you can't fail, you can't really win either. 
 
Again, I really enjoyed playing this game, and it's going to be one of those titles I vividly remember playing for years to come, I just wish it hadn't been so damn rigid. Can't wait to see where they go for the next one.
#33 Posted by Noct (306 posts) -
@bkbroiler said:

               

I totally agree with you. Had a great time playing the game, but it was definitely frustrating when you discovered how simple the interrogation system was, and how badly the free-roam part of the game was handled.

I feel bad bringing this up, but I'm already dreading the possibility of this being discussed as a GOTY candidate later on.


           

I didn't think the interrogation system was "simple" so much as pointless... I actually found it to be pretty challenging to decide who was lying and what clues proved it; the problem to me was that it just doesn't matter how it turns out. If the outcome of the interrogrations and case are already decided and have no bearing on my success or failure as the player, it kinda makes the entire process worthless.
 
It's certainly not GOTY as far as I'm concerned, but I don't think it's crazy to place it in the running; it's a super memorable game that tries a lot of new things, and completely nails a few of them. You have to respect them taking those kind of chances, and you have to be in awe of a dev cycle this long too in my opinion. It's a really solid game, but GOTY is still MK(9) in my book.
#34 Posted by bkbroiler (1620 posts) -

@Noct: I don't know... the interrogation pretty much boiled down to "is the person looking right at you? Or shifting around like a cartoon character?" Which was completely ridiculous. And if they were shifting, you'd just have to figure out if you had evidence to accuse them of a lie outright or doubt them (which was either really easy, or completely misleading and difficult in an unfair way).

As for GOTY, I hope that some of the games coming out later this year will knock LA Noire completely out of the running. I think the game I've had the most fun playing so far is Portal 2.

#35 Posted by one_2nd (2359 posts) -

Everyone says the way you investigate in this game isn't very good (and I completely agree), but no one has suggested a better way they could do it. Any suggestions, guys?

#36 Posted by EveretteScott (1453 posts) -

I finally got a around to playing this game and I agree with almost all of what you say. I'm enjoying my time within the LA Noir-verse but it is severely limited in every way you mentioned. I don't have any problems that it's not a 'true sandbox' game but the parts that are there are still very trimmed. My biggest issue would be Cole telling me what isn't relevant to a case every time I pick something up. Investigating being the point of the game, they sure took a lot away from the player with the omnipotence he has.

#37 Posted by Noct (306 posts) -
@bkbroiler said:

               

@Noct: I don't know... the interrogation pretty much boiled down to "is the person looking right at you? Or shifting around like a cartoon character?" Which was completely ridiculous. And if they were shifting, you'd just have to figure out if you had evidence to accuse them of a lie outright or doubt them (which was either really easy, or completely misleading and difficult in an unfair way).

As for GOTY, I hope that some of the games coming out later this year will knock LA Noire completely out of the running. I think the game I've had the most fun playing so far is Portal 2.


           

Heh, yeah, I'm sure I was actually trying to see somehting that wasn't there and 95% of that entire interrogation system was just based on thier eye movements, but I was like studying their hands and stuff to see if anything twitched. Heh, I may have been trying too hard... I was more talking about the ones where you had to "prove" your evidence to them during questioning. I got most of those wrong towads the end of the game. I just had no clue what they were looking for a few times.
#38 Posted by Noct (306 posts) -
@one_2nd said:

                Everyone says the way you investigate in this game isn't very good (and I completely agree), but no one has suggested a better way they could do it. Any suggestions, guys?
           

Oh no way man, don't get me wrong, I was never insinuating that this system was "wrong" or that I had a better suggestion. It may work exactly as they intended it to work the whole time for all I know. My point was just that it felt shallow to me, and I wanted more. More freedom, more opportunity to fail, more ability to shape the story, etc. It was still an awesome experience and I can't wait to play the next one.
 
 
@EveretteScott said:

I finally got a around to playing this game and I agree with almost all of what you say. I'm enjoying my time within the LA Noir-verse but it is severely limited in every way you mentioned. I don't have any problems that it's not a 'true sandbox' game but the parts that are there are still very trimmed. My biggest issue would be Cole telling me what isn't relevant to a case every time I pick something up. Investigating being the point of the game, they sure took a lot away from the player with the omnipotence he has.


Yeah, I didn't think it not being sandbox was a bad thing either. I didn't have that itchy trigger finger here to go on chaotic rampage. I just wanted more freedom to twist the character and story the way I wanted to. And yeah, it seems extremely forced how you don't even decide what is real evidence yourself. Again, I'm not sure how to make it better per se, but it felt wierd like this.
#39 Posted by Tru3_Blu3 (3203 posts) -

If LA Noire released the cuffs, critics would ding the game because it's too complex and challenging.

#40 Posted by Noct (306 posts) -
@Tru3_Blu3 said:


                    If LA Noire released the cuffs, critics would ding the game because it's too complex and challenging.

                   

               

Hah, god I hope that's not true... This idea that games as a whole are getting easier and more hand-holdy seems true when you look at stuff like LA Noire. To those people I say, go play Demon's Souls and find out that a game can be kick-you-in-the-ass difficult and still be outsanding.

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