By development 48 Comments
I'm leaning towards a mix of being unlucky and stupid, but here's my experience with the game:
It looks good. I like the style, and I like the facial animation stuff, of course; who doesn't? The cars control surprisingly well, although the whole "skip action sequence" thing makes me feel like I'm a huge sucker every time I opt to actually play the game. From what I've played (not much), I like the main character's really uptight asshole demeanor and I'm interested in seeing how his personal story develops. It's not the longest list, but those are the bulk of things I like about it so far, and in theory those things could keep me playing a game to completion. But hey we're not here to talk about positive things.
Let's get into the thing the internet was made for: my problems with the game. I go on my first real murder investigation. I gather some clues from the crime scene, then I talk to a store clerk lady. Thanks to an incredibly annoying in-your-face tutorial (by the way, do those remaining 'help' messages ever go away?), I pass that interrogation with flying colors. But now I've gotta find the murderer at a jewelry store, and most of the training wheels are coming off. No problem, I got this. I chase the dude down and bring him to the station for questioning. Mr. Murderer wants me to prove my allegations, which is kinda weird, him being the suspect and all, but I go along with it. I offer up what I think is a good piece of evidence, and the game makes a noise, and the perp contorts his face and says something out-of-context to the effect of "incorrect answer, player." Then Phelps puts a little 'x' on that bullet point. Wait! Phelps! Dude! We can try again, man! Fuck. So, naturally, this being a game and all, I quit and restart. After sitting through the entire cutscene again I get to the question and fail, yet again. Third time's a charm, and finally I nail the interrogation and my boss is super psyched. No more blue uniform.
So to keep things shorter, I'll say that about the same thing happened for the next case when I went to the victim's wife's house to ask her questions. After restarting three times and still fucking something (no idea what I could have done differently) up in the interrogation, I just said "okay, I'm playing this game wrong. You're supposed to roll with the consequences." So from that point on I did just that. I did alright on the wife's convo, but when I went to her accomplice I failed every single bullet point. Didn't matter, I guess, as my boss said I did a bang-up job.
Next case (my final case): Some "kids" stole a diplomat's car or something. I walk around the crime scene trying to find every little piece of evidence, then talk to an old man who witnessed the commotion. I realize he's lying to me since I have to stop playing and belly-laugh for about two minutes at the fucking hilarious faces this guy is making. He does this twice, and -- since my version of Cole Phelps is apparently entirely incompetent -- I get both of them wrong. I also accuse him of telling the truth when he wasn't, so fail every single bullet point. No idea what I did wrong, or how I could have known otherwise.
I think I finish the scene, then go to check out the dealership the car was rented from. No surprises here: I find "all" the clues, do the stupid minigame, then talk to the owner and fail every bullet point. I'm feeling pretty good right about now. Not at all frustrated. I see a worker detailing a car right next to me and get in it, trample over a curb, and smash into traffic. Feeling a little better now. I get back in my squad car.
"We should probably get back to the empty lot, Cole." Wait, what? I finished that lot. You told me to come here. Since it's not on the notebook anymore, I assume it's a minor glitch, and proceed to the station to interview the diplomat. Hey, guess what? I fail every bullet point. Now I head to the main subject's house. After scouring for every clue I can, I talk to his wife. Fail every bullet point. "Hey Cole, we should head back to the empty lot." Ohhh, okay, so I did forget something. Well, I head back and spend about ten minutes trying to find whatever it is my omniscient partner seems to think I've forgotten. Can't find it. "Hey Cole, there's no way we're done with the subject's house. Let's get back there." What? What?! Dude, make up your mind. So I go there, find nothing, and am currently left with no idea what to do. I have 3 potential places to go to, each with a possible hidden gem of evidence, and no idea where to start.
I want to enjoy this game, or, at the very least, I want to experience the work that was put into the game. But I can't. I could walk around forever, bouncing between 3 locations, trying to find the magic piece of evidence like some mid-'90s adventure game, but I'm not doing that. No fucking way. I might restart the whole case sometime in the future, but for now I'm done. This game, at least in my eyes, is goddamn fucking terribly designed. It has potential, and gumption... or whatever, but the fundamental game design part of it just isn't good at all.
tl;dr: I fail every single interrogation and the checkpoints are terrible, and you can't skip the cutscenes. There's no leniency at all on what items you choose to "prove" your claims, and it requires the player to know exactly what the game designers were thinking. Worst of all, I'm stuck running between 3 different locations looking for a magic piece (pieces?) of evidence that will advance the story, but have no idea where to start.
Terrible, frustrating design. Or not? Tell me what I'm doing wrong.