This may be a little egotistical of me, but I consider myself pretty awesome at video games. I’m not at the professional level in any game, but I can pick up just about any game and do well with it (fighting games being the exception, but we’ll go over that later). However, my latest purchase has me pulling my hair out with my constant failures. This inspired me, and Alecs Pillik gave the okay for me to join in on his “The Failings of a Gamer” series, so here’s The Failings of Another Gamer: L.A. Noire.
For those of you who don’t know, L.A. Noire is a title from developer Rockstar that puts you in the shoes of a detective in 1940s Los Angeles. Rather than tasking you with causing mayhem and starting trouble, the game encourages you to avoid causing damage and taking lives, keeping you focused on solving cases. L.A. Noire makes great use of new technology that makes character’s faces look fantastic. You can truly read every twitch and gesture in their face, which is what you need to do when you’re interrogating someone. This is where I start to have trouble.
Part of my frustration with L.A. Noire is that I do everything great. I get head shots all day, I find every single clue there is to be found, and I do minimal damage to the city while on the job. It’s when I interrogate a suspect or witness that I have trouble. You see, when you’re in the middle of an interrogation you have to watch your subject closely and then observe their reaction to what they, or you, have said. Then you must decide if you think they’re lying, telling the truth, or if they’re just dodging the question. For me, the line between dodging the question and lying is blurred beyond recognition.
This simple task of weeding the truth out from all the deception is a monumental challenge. When I absolutely know they’re lying, I typically pick the wrong evidence as proof, which then leads the suspect/witness to come up with some snide comment to compliment their smug victory over me. Whenever I think they’re dodging my question, and select doubt as my response, it turns out they were lying, or telling the truth and they’re naturally nervous. Then there’s the little piano tune that plays when you get something wrong. It’s like nails on a chalkboard that drives my insanity further. The worst of it is that I can’t go back and try again without starting the case over.
Only in one case have I gotten all the questions correct. Sure, I can go back with a guide to get them all correct to snag a trophy or two, but the fact I’m missing so many on my first legitimate try is so frustrating. Sometimes I’ll even miss half of the questions in a case! Maybe when I get closer to the end I’ll find that interrogation skills have been polished, but until then I’ll slowly go from case to case, being outwitted by thugs and murderers.
Don’t get me wrong; L.A. Noire is a great game. I love how unique it is, and I actually love the interrogation aspect. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure why it bothers me so much. Maybe it’s the simplicity of it all that frustrates me. Perhaps deep down I hate being humbled. It’s possible I’m an immature child that likes getting things his way? Either way, it’s a little sad that this one little chink in my armour would get me so frustrated. One thing I can tell you for certain is that in more ways than one, this is a failing of a gamer.