By RiotBananas 44 Comments
I have decided after much deliberation with myself that I have a problem with all the praise L.A Noire is getting, I don't think it's fully justified.
Let me start by saying I don't think L.A Noire is a game. I feel it is more of a set of very rigid interactive cutscenes with driving and shooting sections in between.
In all of the reviews I've read, the game has received almost faultless praise and admiration. I think a lot of this comes down to the faces, yes, they're very good. Yes they're the best in any game so far (Except Phelps. Phelps' actor is too blinky and his mouth is funny) but does that mean the rest of the game should be ignored or let off for being slightly mediocre? No.
The driving sequences are essentially filler between cases, unless you let your partner drive, in which case, the game is one big cutscene. Ofcourse, you're a cop so you have to drive reasonably sensibly and if you don't? The weird driving physics make you want to drive properly. I managed to jump a police car over a cliff and across the mouth of a tunnel, land it and carry on driving, the driving feels very stiff. I understand the game isn't meant to be a driving game, but when your game is 25% walking around looking for clues, 25% questioning people, 25% interrogating people and 25% driving around to cases, you better make sure it's somewhat entertaining. I guess the random street crimes help matters, maybe that's sort of why they're in there, but they soon become repetitive. Especially when most of them end up with a stiff being loaded into the back of a black ambulance. Whenever I see that cutscene I chuckle because Phelps looks as disappointed as I feel. On a side note, anyone else feel Phelps is a total kiss ass? It kind of grinds my gears.
When I got into my first crime scene I stumbled around and messed up a lot of things because I wasn't doing it the 'right' way. I felt angry about this because I was forgetting it was a game, I wanted to do things the way I would do them. I found this especially problematic when questioning that first woman. (Anyone else think all the women in L.A Noire look almost identical?) I didn't like the way I would press Doubt for instance and then Phelps would jump on the poor woman and exclaim she was the murderer or something. It felt wrong, I ended up failing that questioning and she refused to talk to me again, just because Phelps pounced on her with a bit of a blunt statement.
I understand, by the way, before you tell me "That's your fault for not doing it right" that it is my fault. As a human, I wanted to explore the questioning my own way, not the way the game dictates. I can understand they had to stop somewhere, but I still feel the questioning and interrogations could have had a few more paths, or a deeper tree of questioning because there should be no right or wrong. I was wrong. This is more of a game than I ever imagined. In the sense that you're forced to play it a certain way at least.
I think I'll stop there, I've shared most of my thoughts about the shortcomings of the game. Here's the important sentence: Don't get me wrong, I love L.A Noire, the story telling is fantastic and it's essentially CSI: 1940s which is great, I just felt that not enough had been said about some of the negative parts of the game. Please don't burn me.
EDIT: I have just read Slaker117's review of L.A Noire and I can say he certainly explains my feelings a lot more in depth than I could be bothered to.