L.A. Noire thoughts and Mass Effect endeavor

I’ve been silent for a while, as I’ve been very busy with school stuff, BUT I’ve been playing a little L.A. Noire on the side. In fact, I just beat it.


 

Didn’t take any screencaps or video, unfortunately, but I’ll go ahead and talk about it a bit.

 
 

 
 

 
 
IT SUCKED.

The end.

So, Mass Effect…

 
 
All right, all right, not really. L.A. Noire is a competent homage to detective noir films from Double Indemnity to Chinatown, and it served its subject matter well. The world is highly detailed and at least seems extremely accurate to the period it is supposed to be set in. This was what got me most immersed in the game, feeling like I had traveled back in time to 1947. The cars, the clothes, the hair, the makeup, the buildings, every object and entity in the world was like a perfectly emulated time capsule.

I enjoyed the investigations. Searching for clues, conducting interrogations, it was all pretty cool. The gunfights were okay, though few and far between… until the end.

The end. Let me tell you about the end.

***SPOILERS***

I had a lot of problems with the last quarter of the game. If you’ve been around the internet a few times since Noire’s initial release in May 2011, you’ve seen that a lot of people had a lot of problems with the last quarter of the game. The most amount of story takes place, but the least amount of sense is made. Cole’s death was awkward. Roy Earle giving the speech at the end was unsettling. The old guy whose name I totally forgot walked up to the podium but didn’t get to speak because he took a credit roll to the face. Then, the reward for watching the credits was a completely irrelevant cutscene that no one cares about anymore because the game is over now. It was sloppy, it was awkward, and above all… whaaa? The writing that was so good in many places throughout the game devolved into a nonsensical drivel that was at one moment eye-rolling and the next head-scratching. I felt cheated. I mean, for example (and this is just one of many I could give), I didn’t have a problem with Cole dying, it was just how he died that was… again, awkward. Sloppy. I think the whole ending may have been a case of “it looked better on paper, but now that we’re looking at it… uh… oops.”

Maybe I’m being too hard on the game. I hate talking this harshly against it, as it was certainly a valiant and inspired effort to bring classic film noir to the world of video games. No one can fault it for that.

***

 

A couple of final notes:

-I really enjoyed getting to play as Kelso. I wasn’t expecting the perspective shift, and I was kind of irked by it, but almost immediately I liked playing as Kelso better than Cole. There were some ridiculous parts (like the freaking bulldozer scene), but overall I enjoyed my time with him better than with Cole the rest of the game. Maybe it was the straight forward investigations that were most interesting to me.

-There were some REALLY great scenes towards the end, amongst the weirdness. Great dialogue and acting.

-Team Bondi’s facial mocap was ambitious, but ultimately… a little too ahead of its time. It needs work, and honestly it looked worse than what some of the better animators like the folks at Naughty Dog and Valve can do. Sometimes the lips would look like there was bubblegum between them or something, or the teeth would freak out. There is potential in the method, though, I think.

 
 
 

Okay, now on to Mass Effect stuff.

So, I have NOT played ME3, yet. I know, I know… working on it. In fact, my next plan is to play through all three Mass Effects, one after another. Not sure how far I’ll get before final exams/ papers, etc. start to loom, but I’ll try my best to get through them all. Wish me luck!
 

                                                                                                    TRG
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Now, watch Cole Phelps riding on a tractor, courtesy of my friend SynaMax.

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~ by The Retro Gamer on April 6, 2012.

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