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    sweenr's L.A. Noire (360)

    [February 6, 2012 12:31:43 AM]
    Continuing L.A. Noire, I noticed an interesting thing about conflict in the game. The game creates conflict somewhat by treating everyone you meet as a potential suspect in the case. Almost everyone you meet and interview lies in one way or another, so you have to be able to tell when someone is trying to hide something and call them on it. This has been the most challenging part of the game for me so far - even more so than the driving (side note: my driving has improved somewhat, but I mostly make my partner drive everywhere still).

    The game has a very basic reward structure. Getting interrogation questions right and completing cases award you experience which is used to level up your character. I am currently at level 12(?) and from what I can tell the only rewards for leveling up are intuition points and new outfits. Intuition points are helpful in two ways. First, if you are having trouble finding clues at a crime scene, spending an intuition point will highlight all of the remaining clues on the map. Second, in interrogations, intuition can be used to eliminate a possible choice (truth, doubt, or lie) or "ask the audience" and see how other Xbox Live members have answered the question. I haven't had to spend an intuition point in an interrogation but used one once at a crime scene and it proved really helpful when I got stuck.

    To summarize a few remaining points: the game exhibits no emergent gameplay; the game is fairly straightforward for an open world game. This game felt more "on-rails" than any other open world game I have played. That's not to say that the game didn't flow well, it just felt very cut and dried. I think this may have had to do with a lack of side missions - the only "mission" at all was to find evidence and solve the case. As such, I didn't find my self wanting or needing to explore L.A. as I played the game. Sure, there are collectables to find, but I never get those till the end, if at all. As a single-player only game, there isn't really a social aspect to it. I suppose you could have a friend watching you play but that's about as social as this game gets.

    All in all, I am enjoying the game and will continue to play it to completion. I'm not sure the game has a lot of replayability as once you've solved all of the cases, you know who did it and the challenge will likely be gone. However, the city does look very nicely done, so maybe I can spend some time touring 1940s L.A. while I find all of those collectables.
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    [February 3, 2012 03:08:58 PM]
    I started playing this game based on reviews I had read online when the game came out about the unique and interesting the gameplay. Knowing it was a Rockstar game and how immersive their games are (see GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption) I had no doubt that L.A. Noire would be of a similar quality. And from what I've seen so far, I have not been disappointed.

    The opening cutscene sets the stage - postwar 1940's L.A. From that point on, all of the sights and sounds look like they're pulled right from a period movie - colorized of course. You start the game as a beat cop, Cole Phelps. The first "mission" of the game, as it were, was to search an alleyway for a gun used in a murder and tossed by the suspect as he fled. Here you are shown the basic mechanics of the game. As you enter an area to search, music swells indicating that there are clues in the area. While searching the area, your controller vibrates as you walk near an item that can be searched. This definitely helped, because many times (before I got the hang of it) I would try searching every area that seemed logical to me. Once all of the clues for an area had been found, the music fades away. So the physical and audio clues were an interesting way to aid the player in the search, and a gameplay mechanic I really liked.

    The other really unique aspect of this game are the interrogations. L.A. Noire uses extremely accurate facial modeling (creepily so at times) to show the player exactly what the characters are thinking while they speak. It is these nonverbal clues (avoiding eye contact, fidgeting) that aid you in the interrogation. You ask the suspect a series of predetermined questions based on the evidence you have collected so far. If you think the suspect is telling the truth, you treat them kindly and keep questioning. If you know they are lying, and have the evidence to back it up, you can accuse them of lying and get them to confess. If they look uneasy but you have no solid evidence to hit them with, you can doubt them, but if you are wrong they are likely to clam up and not say anything. The interrogations can be challenging but they are definitely unique and engaging.

    Other aspects of gameplay: the game is broken down into cases and each case has you performing a series of 5-8 investigations, searches, and interrogations. After becoming promoted from beat cop to detective, you start at the traffic desk. As you prove yourself as a traffic detective you move up through the ranks of detectives. Each detective's "desk" you sit at appears to last around 5 cases before being moved to the next level. This would seem to be repetitive, but in the 4-5 hours I've played so far the cases have been varied enough to not get boring. Between cases we see flashbacks of Phelps' time in the Marine Corp during WWII. These also help keep the player engaged with the Cole's backstory, which you can only see by completing more cases.

    The most frustrating part of the game I've found so far is driving. It is bad. Period. Some reviewers have said this adds to the realism, and that cars back then were a pain to drive. That may be, but at some point you have to sacrifice some realism for playability. It also doesn't help that the game penalizes you for every accident and pedestrian you hit - which I guess it should; this isn't GTA after all. The one saving grace of all this is that you can let your partner drive to locations, saving you the infuriating frustration and penalty of driving yourself by instantly teleporting you to your destination. One really nice thing about this feature is that if your partner has any dialogue he was supposed to say while you were driving, the conversation will still occur before being sent to your location. This way you don't miss out on any of the story or immersion of the game - other than the fade to black and sudden reappearance across town.

    I guess that is it for my first impressions of the game. My next GameLog will delve deeper into the game's character as I continue playing through the story.
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    sweenr's L.A. Noire (360)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Thursday 2 February, 2012

    GameLog closed on: Monday 12 March, 2012

    sweenr's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

    Related Links

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    See info on L.A. Noire

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : L.A. Noire (PC) by dkirschner (rating: 5)
    2 : L.A. Noire (PS3) by jp (rating: 4)
    3 : L.A. Noire (PC) by MJumbo (rating: 3)
    4 : L.A. Noire (PS3) by plertudo (rating: 5)
    5 : L.A. Noire (360) by tankgrrl (rating: 5)


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