Tuesday, May 24, 2011

L.A. Noire Disappointment

L.A. Noire is one of the hot new games out.  On Metacritic it's getting a solid 90/7.4 in Reviewer and User scores respectively.  I was pretty excited about the game, as I am a fan of the Adventure genre.  For the first time in a while a big budget game for the genre was coming out.  I'm sad to report that I'm just not enjoying L.A. Noire very much.

I'll avoid spoilers. First, I have to say that Team Bondi created a game full of 1940's immersion.  The atmosphere is very well done and their facial recording technology is impressive.  There is no arguing the production values, top notch.

In order for me to enjoy an adventure game it needs one of two things:  a compelling story or humor.  L.A. Noire misses on both counts.  I wasn't expecting much in the way of humor though.

The game uses 'cases', which can be thought of as episodes, throughout the game.  Each is its own individual story, usually a crime to be solved.  I can understand why they took this approach, but it just makes it feel really disjointed.  The cases themselves have been largely uninteresting as well.

There does seem to be a larger storyline going on, which you read about in the newspapers.  I'm currently working for Homicide, but nothing about that story is grabbing me.  It actually feels like I know too much already.

As for the gameplay itself, I like the fact cases can play out in different ways.  If you don't catch a lie, then you may end up having to tail someone or you may end up in a larger gunfight.  Trying to read the characters is also fun, but in the end it really comes down to the evidence.  Speaking of that, it seems so much of it is never actually used.  I've picked up a dozen pieces of evidence and only used one in some cases.

It's not a bad game, but for me it would rank as an average one.  I'm going to have to push myself to finish it, as nothing is drawing me back.  I know Rockstar didn't directly develop the game, but they had their hands in it.  It seems I have this problem with all of their games, maybe it's time I came to terms with the fact they are just not for me.