Developers from Team Bondi and Rockstar also painstakingly recreated a very authentic 1947 Los Angeles, going to great lengths in order to ensure historical accuracy. The same can be said of their representation of police procedure; if you watch the ”A Real Detective Plays L.A. Noire” video, you can see how a veteran police officer compares the gameplay to what he’s done throughout his career. However, not even a real detective can play the game perfectly. He made many mistakes in his questioning despite the fact that he had legitimate reasons to pick the choices he did. Therein lays the major fault and success of L.A. Noire.
She moved her head! She’s lying!
Each mission begins with going to a crime scene and analyzing all of the clues. Then you question any witnesses and follow up on the leads you get. This invariably results in chasing after suspects or slugging/shooting it out and analyzing even more crime scenes. At the end of the case, once you have pursued all of your leads and gathered all of your evidence, you will have to charge a suspect with the crime. Most of the time there is only the one suspect, who may or may not up dead, so there’s no contention over who goes to jail. In some cases, however, particularly in the Homicide desk, you will have multiple suspects with the evidence equally stacked against them, yet you’re tasked with choosing just one to put the screws to. This is where the game gets really interesting, as you have to crack each suspect in interrogation and choose who goes to jail and who doesn’t, based purely on your personal opinion.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t have much of a bearing in the game. The biggest problem with L.A. Noire
is how painfully linear it is. It’s possible to miss certain pieces of evidence and screw up a few questions, even skipping entire locations, with the only consequence being that the mystery is harder to solve. At the end of each mission there is a grade on how well you solved the case, along with some comment on how you could have solved it differently. This is merely a minor detail, though, as all cases must be solved in a specific manner and your inability to do so will result in failure. Like many adventure games, L.A. Noire
often becomes trapped within its own obscure logic. What makes sense to you end up being something wildly different in the game itself.
This becomes particularly frustrating during the questioning process. You are given three choices when talking to a witness or a suspect: you can believe what they’re saying, doubt it, or claim it’s a lie and provide proof in the form of a clue you previously found. You do this by observing the facial expressions of the NPC you’re questioning and deducing their motivations. Frequently, the “tells,” irregularities in their behavior or movement are exaggerated, which makes detecting a non-truth very easy. But other times, they’re just over-acting when they’re supposed to be telling the truth, which can sometimes makes questioning unnecessarily difficult. ‘Doubt’ and ‘Lie’ will frequently blend and become more of a guessing game as to what you should pick, especially if you were not thorough enough in gathering evidence. That’s where the main difficulty in interrogating people stems from
On the other hand, interrogations are also the main source of fun for L.A. Noire
. You cannot play it casually or half-awake, as it demands your utmost attention at nearly all times. The game’s strict demeanor ends up involving you very intensely, which may end up in your emotions becoming tied to your character’s. Indeed, you will feel a rush of excitement when you successfully question someone and a flood of dopamine when your frustrating work pays off with an arrest. L.A. Noire
succeeds in immersing you into a very unique experience and the repetitive tasks actually end up becoming quite addicting.