게시 일시: 2015년 5월 20일
LA Noire provides a confused experience, but I guess I can recommend it. It's a harsh mix between interactive fiction adventure (EG: Telltale's The Wolf Among Us) and an open-world action sandbox (EG: GTA), and it can often leave you feeling dissatisfied with both of those aspects.
The detective clue-finding and interrogation part of the game, the adventure / puzzle side, is often irritating. The results are usually binary. Presumably to make the game less frustrating, you can proceed and finish the cases after having failed at a lot of the case work. But the inability to correct your errors and try again is the thing that makes it so obnoxious. Other games like Phoenix Wright have these issues where, ostensibly, your human intuition and problem-solving skills will lead you to the "correct" answers. But the problem is you end up more often just guessing what the game designer is thinking at, not what you would actually guess if you were in that situation. The choices provided are not robust enough. The result is that I spent most of my time playing LA Noire with an online game walkthrough open. I never do this. But I conceded that the binary nature of what is supposed to be an intuitive human process was ruining the game for me. I would honestly recommend you find a spoiler-free walkthrough to get the most out of the game.
The game redeems the adventure-game aspect of it with their much-touted facial scanning tech and a deep plot. The human actors in the game are the most realistic and believable I've seen to date, despite poor texture resolutions and (as of 2015, four years after release) outdated rendering. I enjoy watching the acting of real people when they speak in-game. It's just a treat to watch. It crosses the uncanny valley because you really are looking at a real actor actually acting. I compare it to watching an old TV program in black-and-white. There's no "uncanny valley" when it comes to TV acting because it's about how expressive and believable the performances are, not how well rendered it is.
The believability of these characters and their performances pulled me into LA Noire's complex and intriguing story. I really enjoyed it and, at ~35 hours, it's huge. Each "case" is an episode-length self-contained drama, and the game does a great job of leaving a breadcrumb trail of foreshadowing and circumstances that lead to great conspiracy over the course of all the cases. While sometimes Team Bondi could've done a better job at communicating characters' emotions and intentions, and the flashback scenes are weird and clumsy, ultimately the story is well told and worth telling.
The other half, the open-world sandbox, is really the bizarre part. LA / Hollywood has been realized in LA Noire to a ridiculous degree. Every street, alley, footpath, crosswalk, store, etc. is there. Mazes of suburb streets, the traffic of downtown, the network of wires that hang over the streets to support a trolley system - It's all created in beautiful and exhaustive detail. Just like any GTA game. The interiors are more selectively made (you can only go in rooms that matter, for the most part), but other than that it's just about as real as you could hope for.
But the gameplay that takes place in that "real" world is so uninteresting. You are obligated to follow the law, and you are penalized for driving poorly. Driving for 12 minutes across town to your next objective is just straight-up boring, and every case requires you to do real police legwork by going to multiple objectives, often far across town from one another.
The game does give you a way to bypass the driving most of the time, but then, what purpose does any of that city serve? Why did artists and designers spend so much time making it so realistic if the core gameplay doesn't actually matter there, and the travel is just skipped? Oblivion and Skyrim do a good job of making sure there are interesting things to find and do along the way to your objectives. But LA Noire's attempts at this don't actually solve the problem, they exacerbate it.
The only time this giant world ever really matters is during car chases, which I suppose are fun, but honestly could've been custom-built per-chase for cheaper than realizing the whole city. Your chase-target's destination is pre-scripted anyway.
Unrelated, the cover-based shooting gameplay is pretty good too, but this is not a game about gunning down bad guys (usually) and sometimes even that feels out of place with the tone of the game, despite how well executed it may be.
It seems that Team Bondi wanted to use Rockstar's incredible technology to make a robust detective simulation: "Live the career of a real detective." But it turns out that in game design simulation is only interesting as long as it's fun. Otherwise it's just tiresome.
I would love to see another game like LA Noire made but with a clearer vision and more of the fat trimmed. But there isn't another game like it, and if you can put up with its flaws, I would recommend it to you. The biggest compliment I can give LA Noire is that after finishing it I immediately went to go look up some classic noire films. I'm intrigued by the game's emotionally nuanced execution and gray-gradient portrayal of morality, and I'm proud of Team Bondi for pushing AAA game themes and storytelling the way they did for videogames in general, even if I'm not impressed by their business practices.