LA Noire (X360)

Well, it took me nearly 4 months but I finally finished LA Noire.  In an earlier post I was describing how much I really enjoyed the product, with its engaging storyline and a great game mechanic that involves interviewing characters and determining if they’re lying or telling you the truth as you try and put together the details for the case.  Was I engaged to the very end?  Read on…

Yeah, no.  I wasn’t engaged.  The last third or so of the game turned out to be drastically off-balance.  The MO up until this point had been playing as one cop as he worked his way up (or down) through the ranks of the different desks at the LAPD: Vice, Arson, Homicide, and Traffic.  The later third switches up your main character a bit as you work to solve the “meta-story” and “meta-case”.

L.A. Noire

And spoiler alert here: really?  Insurance fraud?  That’s the big bang? 21 cases with the last few being rather involved kinda left me with an ending that didn’t feel appropriate.

The meta-story is interspersed through the entire game and deals with your character (Phelps) and his time in the war with his unit.  An inappropriately given Medal of Honor also takes center stage here as well, augmented with the pan flute and hard strings of instruments from Asia.  I was so sick of seeing these cutscenes….

So where’d it all go wrong? For starters, the cases in the beginning were easier to figure out who was lying and double-crossing you.  The late cases I was averaging 2/5 questions correct per interview or getting stuck at scenes with no idea of where to go next.  I grew tired of having to drive around the city; I started using fast-travel all the time, and I’m sure Rusty got tired of me saying ” You drive.  I need to review the case notes.”  I didn’t do the extras: Finding all the cars, reading all the newspapers, and those film reels? Forget it.  I’m also a bit peeved that there were no end of game achievements: I rounded out with 31/60 achievements at game end, and a few of those were from DLC.  Speaking of….

The “Nicholson Electroplating” DLC case is integrated with the rest of the game.  You’ll take a break between case 20 and the last one, 21 to do some weird side case the freaking took forever.  I wish they had let met at least choose when I was going to do it rather than foisting the choice upon me.

So, while I did enjoy my time in LA Noire I have to say that it ended up like every other Rockstar game I’ve ever played: I have to force myself to play towards its conclusion and often I feel overwhelmed with the amount of things one can/should do in the game world.  I already had the remainder of the DLC so I’m sure I’ll be back in the world soon, but I can’t say for sure when.  The holiday gaming season is right around the corner and Deus Ex is already leading the pack…

L.A. Noire (Quickly)

L.A. Noire (Quickly)

In a word, it’s stupendous. It’s amazing to think that motion-capture technology has come this far. Watching characters faces light up like this or try and lie to you is rather addictive. The polygons surrounding their faces are a bit low in detail, but it’s not horrendous. I applaud Team Bondi for not trying to make this thing extremely life-like because I’m sure it would’ve been incredibly difficult.


Robert Zemeckis continues to try and market no-cap technology to the movie studios. Most of these efforts have fallen flat, or launch with awful results: See The Polar Express, and A Christmas Carol.

Perhaps he should be pitching this tech to game studios. Oh wait, wasn’t he closely tied to Dreamworks who has an interactive division? I wonder what happened there…

Anyway, more info later with a full review. Suffice to say, I think this will capture my attention span for a while.