Up goes the thrill, the suits are picking up the bill (L.A. Noire, 2011)

Loved, as anybody else, enacting Niko Bellic? Surely you heard about L.A. Noire, this game also published by Rockstar where you similarly follow a quite scripted story in an open world. In this case, you play a policeman in 40’s Los Angeles. You start as uniform, but soon enough you suit up.

L.A. as in a twisted postcard

The gameplay is painy: in action phases, instead of fighting your opponents, it’s really the interface you’re fighting against ; and driving cars is not really funky. Not much eye-candy either, even with every options set to highest, you still get an appalling aliasing (not seen in screenshots, you have to move around to get it). Clearly, this game was designed and coded from video game consoles, then poorly ported to PC. It only runs on PC, but it does not at all benefits from the trendy new GPU you may have, neither does it benefits from the keyboard/mouse combination.

What's new pussycat?

You’re in an open world but you’ll find soon enough that there’s really not much to see or do, apart from following the über-linear main story. That can be a plus if you’re fed up with Skyrim, though.

Shopping list

But even that part, while not sour, is not so groovy either. Even if I read the contrary on the several game reviews, there is truly only one way to solves cases. You may be good at it or not, you may miss clues, fail to interview properly some guys due to the fact that you missed clues; but you cannot decide to look more carefully into some guy you find odd if it is not in the story line. SPOILER ALERT: I won’t spoil it completely for you -Hum, I think I’ll do actually- but when you investigate four cases of girls killed after getting drunk in a pub and that, twice, you hear there’s a temp barman working in these pubs, it’s quite disappointing not to be able to look into that guy that is an obvious person of interest. When afterwards, it appears you would have learned very interesting things had you been enabled to get in touch with him, you obviously get the feeling that the game screwed you and got in the way of your investigation.. It’s also annoying that, on occasions, you’re forced to kill persons of interest just because they aggressively draw weapons. Even if you pay attention and hit them on the knees with your gun, they dies. Ok, firing back with a gun on the knees to incapacitate a bad guy is not much realistic; but given you succesfully hit him not in the chest, not in the head, not damaging an artery, it’s not realistic either that he dies directly.

Not being cooperative, this one

So, where am I getting at? Is this game total crap? Well, it’s more some kind of movie than a game. And, even if it’s quite weird for a game with “Noire” within it’s name, the scenario is not it’s best part. No, the dialogs are.

Homicide Detective Rusty Galloway: Hollywood… Every prom queen from every fucking hick town in America turns up here. Where do they end up? Gutted on the fucking sidewalk.

[Galloway swiftly punches Ferdinand in the face]
John Ferdinand Jamison: It’s not against the law! There’s no law against it.
Homicide Detective Rusty Galloway: Shut up and take your beating like a man.

2012-01-06_00001

This game compares well to Mafia II. Nice ambiance that makes up for a poor gameplay and not so great scenario. Yes, the suits are picking up the bill…

Update: the scenario get worse over time. “Didn’t see that comin'” says your partner when a depressed culprit jumps through the open window after starring at it for 5 minutes, just as he gave self-incriminating testimony. Didn’t see that comin’, really? No wonder Rockstar and Team bondy splitted up.

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