Extra Punctuation: L.A. Noire Is a Bad Adventure Game

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Decrying the use of cliches on one page then starting a new game idea with a serial killer in the next... hmm.

what i would like to see in the game that they didn't do is that you could imprison the wrong person, and the game would just go on. (now i mean if someone was framed and you didn't notice that and imprison that person, not improsoning the wrong person on something obvious) then if you had gotten the wrong guy, it would come back to bit you in the ass later in the game.

A fantasy based detective game would be very interesting. Player as a courtier trying to solve mysteries, choice of being honest or manipulative and pushing your character up the kingdom's hierarchy. Great npcs, all knights are jocks, heroes are nutters, ladies of the court are less than pure. Noire fantasy.

if this really is the beginning of a spate of Adventure Games, then hurrah, no more trying to get old games working for a while.
Maybe I should take a chance on L.A Noire just because of this.

also Yahtzee's idea sounds very similar to a adventure game called Darkseed. this too has a time limit (3 days in-game), in which you have to investigate the meaning of a recurring nightmare about aliens implanting an embryo in your brain, and an increasing headache. which plays out in both our world, and a dark twisted reflection of it which was designed by H.G Giger. it was demonically difficult, one action done out of order could deadlock the game later on.
it would be interesting to see how Yahtzee's game turns out, if at all.

EDIT: just remembered two other similar games Manhunter and Manhunter:New York

I don't understand why in these forums ANY kind of criticism at all is immediately equated as 'hating'. You can criticise something you like, something you don't feel very strongly either way about. Yahtzee always puts forward some interesting criticisms about different games, some of them I don't agree with, but they're good food for thought. However, he can't open his mouth without being accused of 'hating' everything, as if to discredit every thing he says because it's motivated out of illogical prejudice.

I find it so tiresome that the internet has this ridiculous culture of yes-men, who believe that you should only ever say good things and are so stringent in attacking anyone who disagrees with their view: and they do it in such a way that they don't engage with the argument, but attack the person: call them a troll, a hater, etc. Once again Yahtzee has a perfectly valid view about what he felt was lacking in L.A. Noire and he gets ripped a new one for daring to express it.

For the record, I'm enjoying L.A. Noire, but the linearity is really off-putting, and at times it can be downright frustrating. Overall though I like the game, so don't call me a 'hater' because I think there are some things it could have done better.

MasterProcrastinator:
To be honest, I hate the idea of there being any sort of time limit in an adventure game. The beauty of adventure games is being able to relax once in a while, not having to constantly shoot something, run from something, perform leaps and jumps, hide from something, dodge something, or perform some other action associated with quick fingers and reactions. That's what I've loved about adventure games - it's a time when you're giving your reflexes a rest, and instead letting your brain and creative mind take over while you get immersed in a unique and interesting world. Unfortunately, a time limit (no matter how drawn-out it may be) can do nothing but damage that relaxing, laid-back experience that comes with playing an adventure game. It would require the player to do everything quickly, and it would make them feel like they have to rush the thing; something which the adventure game genre simply should not make a player do, in my opinion.

Subsequently, a time limit would ruin almost everything that's great about an adventure game. It would discourage exploration and experimentation, for one thing. Whenever I've played adventure games, from a young age until now, I've always enjoyed exploring every nook and cranny of the environment, and have had fun with trying out random, illogical item combinations purely to see what the character response(s) would be. If I were to have a time limit throughout the entirety of my playtime, it would discourage me from experimenting with and exploring the virtual world around me; I'd be more inclined to simply search for the solution straight away. As a result, I'd probably miss out on a lot of content, and would ultimately be deprived of a lot of the depth within the game and the potential enjoyment that it may hold.

In fact, this is precisely what happened to me when I played the first level of 'Space Quest 1' (which I only played recently). See, with the 'King's Quest' games, I'd like to do the aforementioned and 'look at', 'examine', 'pick up', 'talk to' almost every single bit and piece of the environment. Why? Because a lot of the subsequent responses were often quite funny or interesting. I was looking forward to doing the same thing in 'SQ1'. However, the first thing that I was presented with upon playing was a lovely, big countdown clock in the corner of my screen. This prevented me from going about my usual adventure-gaming routine, which I instead had to exchange for a more rushed and fast-paced approach. Ultimately I was given a less enjoyable experience; the time limit detracted from the whole experience that the first level could have held. I actually felt cheated, to be honest - cheated out of an enjoyable section of the game - to the point where I'd gotten rather pissed off and decided to resort to a walkthrough (something I very, very rarely do). So, to have an entire adventure game be based around a time limit would just suck, for me, and would probably turn the game into something unenjoyable.

I'm with you on this one. Puzzle solving isn't really a thing that takes a set amount of time, especially if it's a well thought out puzzle with lots of steps. When I think back to playing Grim Fandango or Monkey Island, I usually had a sudden spark of inspiration that got me through a puzzle. There's no way to tell how long that will take someone. If I played the investigation game I'd probably have to start over whenever I got a puzzle so I could rush through all the early ones.

As to LA Noire's sandbox and action elements, they aren't bad because you can skip most of them. Your partner can drive everywhere and you don't have to respond to police calls if all you want is an investigation game. Meanwhile, if someone else wants to take a break from the investigation to chase down some robbers or drive like a maniac with the siren on, they can. Extra content that is entirely optional is never a bad thing.

jck4332:
I'm rather surprised for some reason that Yahtzee has played Phoenix Wright...

I am somewhat as well, but as critical as he is of games, he certainly seems to try a lot of them, which is probably why his points are so valid so often.

Why are we dogging LA Noire? Want attention much?

The Combining Ideas thing sounds like Miles Edgeworth's gimmick in Ace Investigators, which is the Logical Process as opposed to Phoenix Wright's mystical doohickey and Apollo Justice's ancestral ability to be Phelps 2.0.

The problem with a time limit in an adventure game is that it seems to just make player think "Oh crap oh crap gotta do this fast" and make them rush it. I guess it could be done with a very generous one. A sense of urgency I'm afraid might interfere with the player's ability to piece things together unless they just do the right stuff and the game spells it out.

Another problem is the player's ability to pick up subtle cues. While I know that most players should have some sense of subtlety, I've seen some who are truly lunkheaded and have no ability to pick up on clues unless it's absolutely written out (and even then they might forget things like characters' names or something). Of course, people like that normally don't play Adventure games.

I'd like to point out that Pointy clicky adventures never went away, they were always right here. And rockstar sees fit to add some cover shooting and driving and call it innovation.

Also, I think Pheonix Wright does it better.

Full Throttle did that, among others, and it was a bad idea then

"facepalm"

TheHappySquid:
"The game is almost entirely about info-gathering. Puzzling only comes into it when you have all that info - you solve the crimes by selecting two pieces of intelligence from your notebook and combining them into a conclusion."

Sounds like Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney.

Yup, sounds even more like the underrated (though painfully buggy) Discworld Noir from back in 1999, right down to using the notebook/items interface for conversations and making connections. I vaguely recall a couple of the Frogware Sherlock Holmes games doing some riffs on the concept too.

The timer/NPC patience aspect is... interesting. I would almost certainly hate it because I like to explore and tend to be OCD levels of thorough, especially in point & click or RPGs. Timers can be great for adding tension short-term, but I've played a few games with an overall timer and found it really infuriating; the only exception I can think of is Reccettear, and that was only because it expects you to fail and dumps you back to the start with all the stuff you've already accumulated. In the case of an investigation scenario, I think it'd be really difficult to pitch it so that the typical experience isn't to fail badly on first playthrough, then blast through the beginning on second playthrough and end up with hours to spare and a vague feeling of dissatisfaction at the end.

JMeganSnow:

Agiel7:
I will never forgive Tim Schafer for the tortured fucking logic that flies in the face of causality required to solve some of the puzzles in his adventure games. Much as I liked the story for the Longest Journey, that one puzzle where I had to feed a plainclothes cop a tainted piece of candy so he'd accidentally spit it at the proprietor of a movie theater so he'd chase him away with the broom in his hand so I could got into the nearby backalley finally completely poisoned me to the genre.

I didn't mind that one so much, and I saw this as more of an exploration game mechanic than a puzzle-solving one. With a puzzle, you know what is supposed to happen and the only difficulty is in getting there. There's both a goal and a defined path to that goal. With exploration, on the other hand, you may have a defined goal but the path to that goal is not in any way laid out for you. So your only option is to try a number of things until SOMETHING works.

This can be both very fun and extremely frustrating. It's fun when it's a matter of first discovering and then utilizing the elements you've discovered. It's NOT fun when the first part of that is hindered because discovering elements is a huge laborious process that involves clicking on every single pixel in the screen to figure out what you can and can't interact with. If there's going to be lots of window-dressing, then the things you CAN interact with have to be telegraphed in some way.

Different games telegraph the "you can interact with this" in different ways, and some are better than others. I prefer a method that lies somewhere between the "you must click every pixel" method of old-style adventure games and the "hit tab to see everything you can conceivably interact with and if you go up to it and hit the use button everything will be fixed for you" method. Go ahead and show me what I *can* fiddle with, but let me figure out HOW I have to fiddle with it. For instance, I got completely stymied by an earlier puzzle in that game because I didn't even REALIZE you COULD look out of a certain window. But once I did, I figured the rest out by myself.

This is even more fun in games where they make an effort to predict some of the oddball things that people MAY come up with. For instance--if you can make tainted candy and give it to a cop to provoke a given reaction, make it so you can give it to just about anyone to provoke a reaction. Getting the occasional "I'm on a diet" from people who aren't even a part of the candy-related puzzle makes the game feel a lot deeper and more fun.

One of the most fun adventure games, for me, was Quest for Glory 2, because they never updated it from the text-based version. You didn't just point and click on things, you had to actually figure out what commands to give. But the thing was, if you commanded something ridiculous, there was sometimes an amusing or interesting response for it, and you always got SOME kind of response, even if it was "I don't know what boogie means!" One of the things I really loved was that you could do things like "Bow to Hafar"--and the characters actually responded well to it. It was far more interactive and engrossing than just going up to every single person and hitting the talk button to get a canned interaction.

Still, I do bemoan how the point-and-click genre exists to this day. I'm of the opinion that most fans of the genre have become willingly blind to the fact that point-and-click games are ostensibly the most basic and stripped-down form of a computer game, and that the actual "game" part of the game isn't what they play these games for, it's the story.

Save for a few examples where you could take different approaches to a problem (Bladerunner comes to mind), there exists no challenge to solving those puzzles again save for racking your memory for the solution (which is not the right type of challenge for a game) which is why I argue that 99% of the fun derived from an adventure game is the story unraveling.

That said, I would have liked to have seen how those stories would have played out in games of different genres. If the Longest Journey and Grim Fandango were turned into decent immersive-sim RPGs a la Deus Ex and Vampire: The Masquerade, I think I would have enjoyed them by magnitudes more than what they were like in their current forms. Sure the combat sucked in Dreamfall, but I think if Funcom actually put as much effort into designing it as they did writing the narrative, it wouldn't have turned out half-bad.

I'm still holding out for a modern remake of

image

Speaking of timers in an adventure game, the less forgiving type to be sure, see Dark Seed. I have very fond memories of it, despite the difficulty.

I must be the only person who thought that L.A. Noire was just an extended tech demo.

The motiontracking it pretty groudbreaking stuff, imagine if Heavy Rain used something similar to that.

IF they decide to do a Heavy Rain 2 I pray to god they use this technology to their benefit and refine a few other things as well.

A little off topic but I keep noticing how people keep saying how easy the investigation parts of this game are due to the chime and music. The thing is both can be turned off in the gameplay options so why not do that if it's too easy?

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: L.A. Noire Is a Bad Adventure Game

Yahtzee doesn't think L.A. Noire did anything new.

Read Full Article

I've had similar thoughts about subsystems within games like that. Instead of there being one "golden path" through the conversation/interrogation/debate, you're working against both your and your opponent's composure. If they cause you to lose yours first, you blow the whole thing, or just walk away in a huff. If they lose theirs first, they sock you in the jaw, walk away in a huff, or whatever is appropriate to the context.

In this way, the conversation works like verbal chess, rather than verbal Sudoku--your opponent is also trying to win, using the same techniques as you. You might choose to approach this conversation with logic or reason, you might choose aggression or intimidation, or you might try any of the many forms of basic persuasion... and each opponent responds differently to each.

So, if you decide to try to reason with an opponent and fail, he might think you don't know what you're talking about. With that loss of credibility, you'll need to try a different approach next time (rather than "grind a quest to get back your reputation"). If you try aggression and fail, maybe this guy's afraid of you and won't talk again... or maybe he calls the cops.

Maybe if you try aggression and succeed, you get the information you need now, but you have a hard time finding this guy later. Maybe if you succeed via persuasion, now you owe him a favor.

Yeah, it'd be a nightmare on the writing... but damn, wouldn't it be cool?

Luthir Fontaine:

Portal
Sands of time
Silent hill 2

good games in thier own merit (didnt care for silent hill or sands but that was me) but most of the time he just complains about one thing after another...

You forgot Just Cause 2 and Batman: AA, his top games last year and the year before. He listed these as "the most fun", but not flawless. Infamous is also up there apparently.

Dastardly:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: L.A. Noire Is a Bad Adventure Game

Yahtzee doesn't think L.A. Noire did anything new.

Read Full Article

I've had similar thoughts about subsystems within games like that. Instead of there being one "golden path" through the conversation/interrogation/debate, you're working against both your and your opponent's composure. If they cause you to lose yours first, you blow the whole thing, or just walk away in a huff. If they lose theirs first, they sock you in the jaw, walk away in a huff, or whatever is appropriate to the context.

In this way, the conversation works like verbal chess, rather than verbal Sudoku--your opponent is also trying to win, using the same techniques as you. You might choose to approach this conversation with logic or reason, you might choose aggression or intimidation, or you might try any of the many forms of basic persuasion... and each opponent responds differently to each.

So, if you decide to try to reason with an opponent and fail, he might think you don't know what you're talking about. With that loss of credibility, you'll need to try a different approach next time (rather than "grind a quest to get back your reputation"). If you try aggression and fail, maybe this guy's afraid of you and won't talk again... or maybe he calls the cops.

Maybe if you try aggression and succeed, you get the information you need now, but you have a hard time finding this guy later. Maybe if you succeed via persuasion, now you owe him a favor.

Yeah, it'd be a nightmare on the writing... but damn, wouldn't it be cool?

Facade does its best to emulate that, and even that takes up a lot of AI text recognition.

Also reminds me a bit of Call of Chthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.

Zenode:
I must be the only person who thought that L.A. Noire was just an extended tech demo.

The motiontracking it pretty groudbreaking stuff, imagine if Heavy Rain used something similar to that.

IF they decide to do a Heavy Rain 2 I pray to god they use this technology to their benefit and refine a few other things as well.

It's not 'motion tracking'. It's a digital scan of the actor's head at 30fps. Yes, that's right... every single frame of animation for every single head in the game is a brand new polygonal model AND texture. It's not so much groundbreaking as brute force.

The reason you won't see this technology in the vast majority of games is because it requires a streaming buffer of a staggering 12-15 MBytes per head in RAM to stream and decompress the mesh and texture data per frame (per head) into. So, for 3 characters, you need somewhere in the order of 45megs of RAM as your streaming and decompression buffer. Unless you design your entire engine and game from scratch around having a LOT less memory than most games use, this technology will be nothing but a headache and impractical. This is why you won't be seeing it in Heavy Rain 2.... Or Battlefield.... Or COD.... or.... or.....

(And this is also why some consoles overheated... if your console doesn't have good airflow or has dust clogging up the air vents, the sheer amount of work the disk was doing ALL THE TIME just made the whole inside of the console case too hot and one component or other would then fail)

Colour me confused, guys. I don't want to be "that" one idiot who spouts crap like "WELL YAHTZEE'S NOT A REAL REVIEWER ANYWAYZ" after one little complaint of his, but is it just me, or does he seem to be especially critical of L.A. Noire for not much reason? I mean, I don't understand the point below:

Yes, cliché. Even leaving aside the fact that generous helpings of plot, setting and character were spooned from the film L.A. Confidential, come on - an investigative game about a detective in a fedora in a 1940's noir setting where everyone smokes like a burning building? It's not exactly challenging convention, is it?

Having never seen L.A. Confidential, I have no idea just how heavily or lightly L.A. Noire borrows from that movie in particular, and I understand that it's not exactly challenging convention by having an investigative game set in a 1940s noir world and not, in Yahtzee's later example, Narnia, but literally countless pieces of media are guilty of that. (Of all the places a horror game could have been set, you chose a creepy abandoned town built on ancient Indian burial grounds? What the hell is your problem, Silent Hill 2?) It just seems like he's pointing out a flaw that, to a degree, a hell of a lot of things have, yet making L.A. Noire look especially bad for it. Ultimately, it seems a pointless and, to be honest, redundant thing to pick up on when any number of L.A. Noire's actual flaws could have been pointed out, like a finicky interrogation system or dodgy controls during shootouts.

The other interpretation I took from the above quote is that if the game didn't use a different setting (whilst still being investigative in its gameplay), then it should have found a way to bring a new twist to a 1940s noir setting, but that doesn't make much sense, either. Film noir -- like any genre -- has its own tropes that separates it from everything else, just as big explosions and unicorns separate action and fantasy. Why, then, would it be such a crime for Team Bondi to utilize the very concepts that make classic noir what it is? Detectives, femme fatales, fedoras, excessive smoking -- I fail to see how it's any more "cliched" than its source material.

Additionally, I'm more curious as to how, exactly, someone would go about shaking up the formula of a noir movie in the 40s (Yahtzee conveniently never elaborates on that point, it seems). Make all of the serial killers raptors? Make Phelps and Galloway take out the B.D. killer with fucking Tesla Cannons? What do you want?

This went on longer than intended. I'm neither attacking Yahtzee nor defending L.A. Noire, but it just feels as though I'm missing something here. If I am, I'd be glad if somebody would be patient enough to elaborate.

Giest4life:
Why isn't a company paying you bucket loads of money to write the story and think up the core game mechanics for that game. Seriously, cause I'd play that adventure game.

because sitting back and criticizing other people work then telling them how to improve it is a lot easier. If Yahtzee made core mechanics for a game they be just as flawed as the mechanics he criticizes others for.

LA Noire is probably worth more of an encouragement award than game of the year but still, it's an idea old enough to be new in a console generation overstuffed with cover based shooters and sequels.

Nothing else to add, except that I misread "Novelty Dinnerware PLC" on my initial scan of the article and thought "man, that sounds like the worst dlc EVER".

You know, I'm surprised that while talking about Adventure Games (a genre name I don't like myself) there's been no mention of Ghost Trick yet. I thought it was really fun, only having so much time to change the past in odd semi-logical ways. That game might be a good one to look at.

But why a spoon, Yahtzee? Why not an axe?

DiamanteGeeza:
Le snip snip

It's still a form of motion tracking (tracking the muscle movements in the face), and the tech is even called MotionScan, you just explained how it was rendered out?

This is the first time this technology has ever been used in gaming, whose to say it cannot be refined and made easier to develop. Look at CGI in film, it was an expensive process, but after a few films brought it into the mainstream (Star Wars: Ep 1 comes to mind), it became extremely popular and now it's used in pretty much every blockbuster movie. It may be time consuming and hardware melting now, but it more than likely in the future will be streamlined and made easier for developers to use in future games which require realistic facial features.

You know with all this hoo-ha about LA Confidential people seem to forget that pretty much all the other Rock Stare games seem to be Scar Face (or some other mobster movie) worship. That barely gets a mention.

Anyway, I think this is the first game they have made that I actually liked.

Kahunaburger:
I think the thing that's new about this game is the use of mo-cap to get facial movements down to the point where you (maybe) can determine if a character's lying or hiding something. That sort of thing wouldn't be a route I'd mind seeing future games take.

Yeah me too, I see a lot of potential for this. Also I'd like to say that; While it is true that L.A does nothing new, I've never really played adventure games before (Being born in 92' and all) so I was able to really enjoy L.A as it was a new experience. Also I think that at least it's "not adding anything" in a relatively underpopulated genre. *Unlike other genres which are crammed full of identical re-releases*

Since L.A. Noire has come out, I've learned about a whole bunch of old adventure/mystery games I'm dying to check out, such as the Ace Attorney series, primarily from this forum. A big thanks to all.

That said, I submit an oldie but a goodie for consideration: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. You question witnesses, follow clues to the next destination, gather details on the suspect to procure a warrant. Simple and fun.

CS also handled time pressure well. You have a week to solve cases (a fairly forgiving window of time), and every action takes a few hours. Early correct answers were rewarded with saved time; wrong answers were punished with lost time.

L.A. Noire is indeed imperfect. The open world environment is wasted; investigations are archaically point-and-clicky; interrogations are either overly easy or frustratingly unintuitive; the action is clunky like all Rockstar games. But if it encourages other games to follow in its footsteps, improve upon its flaws, and bring adventure/mystery/puzzle games - games that challenge you on a cerebral level rather than visceral - back into the mainstream, I'll be a happy boy.

Shhhush, Yahtzee, keep your good ideas secret. Lest the corporate trolls overhear, steal the concept and twist it into some foul mockery of the original.

BTW, I'm waiting for you to rip Red Faction: Armageddon a new rectal cavity. I enjoyed the game, but for some reason listening to you tear games I like apart is very entertaining. You should get a raise.

"I think Rockstar, for all their fine qualities, badly need to understand that not every game should have a sandbox. Not ones that don't really add anything, and especially not ridiculously huge ones that you're penalized for driving recklessly around. Mafia 2 also take note."
This, this, a THOUSAND times this.
I love sandbox games. I adore exploring, building my understanding of the world, not feeling restricted, as well as dicking about.
When a sandbox is not only boring, but basically lashes out at you when you dare make a decision that it doesn't want you to make, it is a failure, and should not be a sandbox. A sandbox is not an excuse to make a pretty town and put some shops you can visit in it. A sandbox is what its name implies. Something you can mess around in.

Shamanic Rhythm:
For the record, I'm enjoying L.A. Noire, but the linearity is really off-putting, and at times it can be downright frustrating. Overall though I like the game, so don't call me a 'hater' because I think there are some things it could have done better.

Yes, my partner always drivers because its become a chore, so the game might as well not even be a sandbox.

Darthbawls77:
Why are we dogging LA Noire? Want attention much?

A lot of people are for some reason. I think it got so hyped up as a revolutionary game that people aren't impressed by it. The developers never really wanted that attention. They wanted people to recognize the effort they were putting in with the facial motion capture, but that's pretty much it. They just wanted to make a good game, and I think they did a pretty good job. Maybe we should stop hyping up games to unrealistic standards.

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