Sunday, December 22, 2013

LA Noire: am I overly moralistic?

Games, as interactive experiences, put the player into the character they control. The player determines how the character progresses, whether they succeed, and how they act. This, of course, is a challenge to game scriptwriters, who have to determine how players can all get to the same ending no matter how they behave. Some games get this more right than others.

I've mentioned before about how I feel uncomfortable playing certain games - Bulletstorm, for example, didn't keep my interest as I felt that the characters were unlikable. I've played around half an hour of Gears of War before tiring of the macho idiocy. LA Noire has hit it from a different aspect, however. For the first couple of sets of levels, there's not too much of a running story, other than an up-and-coming policeman getting promoted. By the time you start on the Vice Desk, however, there's a much grander story happening, and Cole Phelps - your character - gets a little too involved. The end of the vice desk cases sees Phelps exposed as an adulterer.

So no matter how I play the game, whether I stop at red lights, I am forced to play the part of an adulterer. My character gets thrown out of his home and demoted, whether that's how I was acting or not.  It's a sudden break in the immersion which is entirely unwelcome.

Anyway, I've done a few cases on the Arson Desk now and I feel the game's coming to a head. I'm no longer playing as Phelps - probably just as well since I have no empathy with him - but he's cropping up from time to time.  Maybe I can complete this soon ...

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