Wednesday, May 18, 2011

L.A. Noire (Day One)

* Something I forgot to mention yesterday: Most people I saw buying the game Monday night also bought the strategy guide. I'm assuming many of you out there did the same. I'm a live and let live kind of guy, but if you did buy a strategy guide without trying the game first, I'm sorely tempted to describe you using a phrase that involves the words "sand" and "vagina". Why the hell would you do this? With this game, that's like picking up a dozen mystery novels and reading all the last pages first.

Try things. Screw up. Have fun.

* Only had time to knock out one case yesterday, "The Driver's Seat." Overall, it was pretty enjoyable. The actual mystery, which I won't reveal here, was obvious -- but the steps needed to build a solid case was satisfying. I rated three stars on my first time through -- I botched the final interrogation and had a lot of property damage (more on that in a minute). Went through it a second time before going to bed and nailed the case with a perfect score. It's definitely worth it to go through the cases a second time, to try new things and correct mistakes, but like traditional adventure games, it's a very fixed experience.

* Does this game remind anyone else of all those FMV adventure games from the mid-90's -- like Phantasmagoria, Under a Killing Moon, and Return to Zork -- but with much, much better writing, acting, and gameplay?

* Went through the first four cases again with the wife, and was surprised by what I missed or could do differently. In case three, the one with the fist fight on the rooftop, I accidentally threw the suspect off a ledge and he fell to his death, which truly shocked me in a way video games usually don't... like I made a serious mistake and was, you know, responsible for it. Hopefully, the real cases also have multiple endings with very different -- and unpredictable -- results.

* Will probably go through this game at a slower pace than usual, because I want to play it with the wife. She's pretty much The Sims, Harvest Moon, and Professor Layton type of gamer, but she was a fan of adventure games growing up -- especially the Tex Murphy games -- and I'm always looking for a "gateway" game to get her to game more. 'Cause, you know, it's hot.

She's helping to solve all the cases, but the only time she takes the controller is for the driving segments. Like most people, I assume, she's having trouble with the notion that you can't drive like a maniac (at least not without getting punished for it), which is where all the property damage came from in our first run through case five. To be fair, I wouldn't have done much better -- but it did lead to one of my favorite wife quotes in a while.

While driving like a bat out of hell, she made a left turn at a four-way intersection. For once, she actually had the light, but she took the turn too tight and slammed head-on into one of the cars stopped at their red. I cringed, and then she turned to me and said, "How was I supposed to know he'd stay in his own lane? I mean, I don't."

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