L.A. Noire

Games TM - - CONTENTS -

L.A. Noire on Switch is an at­tempt to teach an old dog new tricks. It’s the video game equiv­a­lent of Steve Buscemi’s “how do you do, fel­low kids” - and with­out most of the new ad­di­tions specif­i­cally for Nin­tendo Switch, per­haps it would have been just fine.

a few lit­tle tweaks here and there are rel­a­tively wel­come, of course. In in­ter­ro­ga­tions, the choices were pre­vi­ously “Truth, doubt, lie” - and they rarely cor­re­sponded to the ac­tor’s fol­low­ing di­a­logue, of­ten re­sult­ing in de­tec­tive Cole phelps yelling at chil­dren and in­no­cent wit­nesses just be­cause they looked a bit shifty. In the Switch ver­sion, the op­tions have been changed to, re­spec­tively, “Good Cop, Bad Cop, ac­cuse”, which more closely fol­lows Cole’s re­ac­tion, al­beit with an im­pli­ca­tion that you can swing be­tween moods like Tarzan on vines.

L.A. Noire is still an im­pres­sively wellthemed game, with noir prac­ti­cally spilling out of its stylish fe­dora hats. In­com­pre­hen­si­ble ’40s slang gets sprin­kled in like pep­per, and cases in­spired by real life nicely cen­tre the world in his­tor­i­cal fact.

How­ever, the pac­ing is strange, and cases and con­ver­sa­tions are of­ten over much too soon, as if they’re be­ing rushed through like a tod­dler telling a story. Worse yet, the game wa­vers be­tween treat­ing you like an ab­so­lute mo­ron with un­skip­pable tu­to­ri­als, and then telling you that you’ve been pro­moted for the fifth time in two days for be­ing The World’s Best de­tec­tive.

The fa­cial an­i­ma­tion – some­thing that L.A. Noire was well known for six years ago – stands up re­mark­ably well, neatly sidestep­ping the un­canny val­ley of dead­eyed au­tom­ata that even the high­est bud­get games can’t avoid. It’s wasted on the “tells”, though - the weird shifty faces char­ac­ters make when they’re ly­ing - be­cause ev­ery sin­gle one looks like a con­sti­pa­tion face, and none are sub­tle.

But if you’ve played L.A. Noire be­fore, none of that is news to you. The new ad­di­tions to the game are prob­a­bly what you want to hear about in­stead - and it’s not good news.

L.A. Noire can’t help but con­stantly re­mind you of all the Switch fea­tures it has shoe­horned into its re-re­lease. From the con­trols tu­to­rial in the menu, which tells you all about touch­screen and mo­tion con­trols but not ac­tu­ally about how to use the but­tons, to the in­ces­sant use of Hd Rum­ble when­ever you jump a fence, dis­cover a clue, or fart gen­tly into the wind, it feels like you’re be­ing beaten over the head with New Fea­tures. It’s un­nec­es­sary, and pulls you right out of the game - be­sides, who on earth wants to play L.A. Noire on a touch­screen? and who can re­mem­ber the ten thou­sand ges­ture con­trols for the Joy-cons? Who even wants to?

L.A. Noire is an easy seven-point-five out of ten on any day - but its in­sis­tence on us­ing ev­ery bell and whis­tle the Nin­tendo Switch has to of­fer makes it a pain to play. Fea­tures should add to en­ter­tain­ment, not di­min­ish it. L.A. Noire didn’t quite strike that bal­ance.

The open world is con­spic­u­ously empty. Ev­ery two sec­onds, a car horn sounds, yet the streets are bare. There is never traf­fic in LA Noire’s weirdly quiet Los An­ge­les. Who is beep­ing? Where is ev­ery­one? Why is it so dull?

la Noire on Xbox 360

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