Wednesday, January 25, 2012

LA Noire. Better Late Than Never

I'm fundamentally opposed to Steam. I'm a bit old school in that when I buy a game, I'd like to be able to pay it without going through a third-party client which is also dependent on my internet provider. Too many bloody middlemen for my liking. I am slowly coming around, however, and while most of the Steam sales are akin to all that bloody junk at the supermarket checkout that no one wants, or needs, once in a while they come through with a good game I'm inclined to play for longer than 10 minutes.

The Christmas sale price of $12.50 was a gaming prayer answered as I had wanted to try LA Noire for some time, but wasn't about to pay $30+ to do so. During the couple days off that I had I grabbed LA Noire and gave it a good go (20+hours). I was not dissapointed.

The game is very well done. It is sylish, well acted, well voiced, and the new facial technology is about as real as I want my games to get. Anything more and it may as well be real life and no one wants that. I especially enjoy the black and white graphics feature which gives you the feeling you are in a 1930's black and white film. It is an immersive experience and quite good fun. I'm currently about 50% complte with 21 out of 40 cases (I think). For all you completion nuts out there keep in mind that's my version of complete. I skip all the driving, street crime min-games, and exploration because I just can't be bothered. I'm a homicide detective, damnit, let someone else chase down street-perps!

If you are interested in this game I'm sure by now you've read some of the great reviews/guides that are out there. I know I did when the game first released. I'm limiting this blurb to my own experiences with the game which won't be as in-depth as some of the others. I think the game handles well on the PC, but I do find the few bugs I encounter to be annoying. In a AAA title like this, especially one that's been out for so long, I'd excpect my game play to be flawless. They aren't huge, but vehicles dissapearing as I approach them at the intersection with my siren on is a common occrance. It's nice they get out of my way for the police, but a bit silly. Getting stuck on the terrain appears to be an inescapable virtual experience but has only happened twice so far (and I've managed to wriggle free).

Here there be spoilers.

You've been warned. Twice. So it's your own fault now.

My biggest beef with the game is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things (in that it may not effect many people at all) but I foud it extremely annoying. You may recall that I am pretty good at guessing who the baddie is in these types of things (crime dramas) and it was no different here. After my promotion to Homicide (my mommy would be so proud) and in the very first stages of my first case, I figured out who did it. I'm not sure if it was meant to be this easy, or not, but it was painfully obvious, and ruined the rest of the Homicide cases. I was investigating, questioning, and then arresting and putting away 'bad guys' who I knew didn't do it. Every once in a while I would yell out "I dont care, let me go get the guy who did it!" With the game play based upon careful questioning of the subject, and with the ultimate goal being to get enough evidence to convict him- when you know he didn't do it just makes it feel a bit pointless.

/ sigh

When will crime-drama writers get it right? Probably never. There are only a handful of truly good (murder) fiction crime novels out there and a couple of those are: Engelby by Sebastian Fauks and The Collector by John Fowles. The rest are fluff-laden bullshit based on the incompetent imaginations of random people who haven't a clue. Yes, James Patterson (and everyone writing for all the t.v crime dramas out there), I'm looking at you. Don't even get me started on television and movies.

Ever wonder what these criminal types really think? This is a very good portrayal- especially for a book written in the 1960's (pre-profiler times)

So whether this was was intentional or I'm a super-smart criminal investigator remains to be seen, but either way it was a bit of a downer incarcerating 4 innocent guys while I knew who and where the real bad guys was! In-game I've been 'promoted' to Vice which is actually, in the Police World (I think) a demotion from homicide so we'll see how the next few cases go before I render the final verdict. Lol..see what I did there?


  1. So, let me preface this response with the following: I did not read past the "spoilers warning" for fear I may some day try the game myself.

    I really like Steam. If you keep your eye on it you can get some games that usually go for $60 to $100 (the latter being a game like Fallout 3 with all of the expansions) for more reasonable prices, like $10 and $20.

    I also like the in-game overlay IM system, the integrated VOIP, and Valve in general. I went from being highly skeptical to an almost fanboy.

  2. Yes, the good deals may win me over in the end. The 'hassle' of loading steam is easier than trying to find good games for cheap. I still remember the 'old day's when games stores had like 50 titles in them lol! Now you can choose from hundreds, and having an internet connection always on is pretty mainstream nowadays anyway so maybe I should just shut up ;)