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LA Noir
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kaythomas
Somewhere in the frozen tundra
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June 25, 2011 - 8:55 pm
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I  read over on Game Boomers that LA Noir is going to be released for PC.  I was excited since I wanted to play this game.  I love Noir films and novels.   So I looked around about what there is available to look at.   And now I am not so excited.   In fact I am disappointed.   I don't know if I will give it a try or not.

Many years ago there was a game called Noir.  It was in black and white.  And it wandered around actual locations in and around LA.  And it had a number of stories that took one back to Dashiel Hammet and Raymond Chandler.   It had some technical problems but I thought it was a brilliant game in terms of capturing the whole feeling of Noir novels and films.  I loved this game.

I do not suspect that LA Noir will do the same.   But I probably will take a look.

Kay   

Imagine life with no hypothetical situations. 

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Toger
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June 25, 2011 - 10:31 pm
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Kay,

If you want to check the game out further, watch some of the gameplay videos on Youtube - this one is a full-on walkthrough of the various cases without commentary from the player. It is possible to play the game in black & white but this series of videos doesn't show that. (I've not even played the game in B&W, yet) The game isn't as much noir as it is police procedural, à la Dragnet.

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Ernest
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June 25, 2011 - 10:51 pm
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I haven't been that impressed with L.A. Noire.  My main complaint is how the game totally closes you out of options if you question/challenge a person of interest incorrectly.  Okay that and how tough it is to drive.  I seem to be terrible at driving in games.  Don't get me started about how tough it is to drive in the various Cars games I (sometimes...okay really no longer) play with Ben.

 

But I don't think you're missing much, Kay.  I love noir, too.

 

For what it's worth, if you could be seen reading comic books, you should check out Ed Brubaker's work: Criminal, Incognito, Sleeper all involve morally ambiguous tortured characters.  Fun huh!

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Mat
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June 26, 2011 - 6:02 am
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I hit a wall with L.A Noire and got rid of it last week.

I was generally enjoying it before I went away for 2 weeks, but when I came back every single little flaw about the experience lept out and punched me in the face. In the cold light of day it wasn't an experience I was enjoying. It took me a break from the game to realise that but I'm pretty sure I would have come to that conclusion eventually anyway.

I thought the story was pretty bland, never a good sign for a game which relies so much on it's narrative thrust. I thought it took too long to unravel. Conclusions to some of the self contained narratives are deeply unsatisfying. The questioning process itself is incredibly hit and miss. Cole Phelps is an ass. Eventually I just found myself bungling through cases without paying attention. The last couple of cases before I hit the wall with it, I couldn't even tell you what they were because I was simply proceeding through the game on a sub-concious level, sleep walking through and going through the motions simply because the earlier stages had taught me that all I needed to do was the absolute bare minimum, and I could still progress. For me, the whole experience just became a blank haze.. a boring and uninteresting procession of familiar events played out through patchy game mechanics and characters you just wanted to run over. I put about 10 or 11 hours into L.A Noire and apparently needed a further 6 or 7 to see it through to the end. As the better part of a 20 hour experience, I thought L.A Noire dragged it's feet far too much and didn't do enough to keep me interested enough to see it out.

On the plus side, the facial technology is fantastic. Rather than watch somebody voice act, you're watching an actual performance. That's pretty mind blowing at first, but you can watch Youtube video's to get the same effect. A ton of effort has also gone into the recreation of Los Angeles, but unfortunately it's wasted because of the linear nature of the game. I also toggled between colour and black & white for the games visuals and settled on black & white. I thought playing in B&W gave the game an extra unique edge and really helped me settle into the games rhythm and theme, and allowed some of the nice use of lighting in particular to show. If you are going to give the game a go, I'd recommend at least trying the game in black and white. For me it felt like this was the way the game was meant to be played, but it's all down to personal preference I guess.

I really hope we see this sort of game again, because the idea is sound. The execution however is wide of the mark in so many area's.. which I thought was incredibly disappointing. This is probably the most gutted I've been about a game not living up to the hype for years, because I really wanted L.A Noire to come through. If Team Bondi can deliver another detective game but with more freedom, a better story and cut some of the crap (the hand to hand combat sequences in particular are air lifted straight out of GTA IV. They're out of place and just as horrible as they were four years ago), then I'd be happy to give it a go, but unless you can pick it up on the cheap I'm not sure I'd recommend L.A Noire as it is now. 

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geggis
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June 27, 2011 - 6:17 am
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Nice one Mat. I've hung back on LA Noire for many of the things you mention. I just can't afford to sink my time into something that could potentially disappoint me so much. I had enough of that after GTA IV.

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Mat
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June 27, 2011 - 12:17 pm
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I'd say some parts of L.A Noire were just as forgettable as much of GTA IV's filler sections were. The problem there for L.A Noire is that with Grand Theft Auto you expect that, and nobody cares about the odd filler mission when they last 5 minutes. Some of L.A Noire's cases felt like forgettable filler to me, but they last more than an hour at a time and are supposed to drive the story in a meaningful way. Which, often, they don't.

Like I said, it was just a huge disappointment to me. It starts fairly brightly but as soon as you really get the grasp of what the game is about (and realise that's ALL it's doing), it falls apart as a compelling experience. 

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