The Honeymoon period is well over, and resentment has settled in. That was quick, wasn’t it?
I suspect part of this is the fact that things outside GameWorld have been too intense lately, and having to fix my machine after it being infected was a “straw that broke the monkey’s back” type issue. So I’m grumpy.
Much of it is that I definitely suck at Interviewing within L.A. Noire. I’m enjoying the rest of the game, but wince internally every-time I have to conduct an interview. It’s becoming stressful, not fun. Mostly it comes down to not being able to work out Half-truth from Lie, but occasionally I’ll mess up when they tell the Truth. The further the game goes on, the worse I seem to be getting.
Of course it makes sense that the difficulty will ramp up as the game continues, and as you meet more people who are used to living in a world of lies and half-truths. That doesn’t make it any-more fun though, and I don’t know how to fix that without ruining what is the essence of this part of the game.
The other part of this, and right now I’m warning that beyond this point there will be spoilers, is two twists in the plot. Really, this is your last chance to avoid spoilers!
Phelps (the character you play) has been set up as a “troubled good guy” from the start. There are hints that he doesn’t believe he’s the hero that others make him out to be, and perhaps he’s trying to live up to that image. Or perhaps he’s just trying to do the best job he can.
He’s married, with a wife and kids that aren’t shown on screen. Given that we focus on his professional life, rather than his personal life, we only glean a little about them, and his relationship there. It almost makes it feel like they’re not part of his life, or story.
There’s some hints that Phelps has fallen for a Elsa, a singer at the Blue Room, who likely takes Heroin to relax. He goes to watch her sing occasionally, and is very defensive when his partner brings that up.
Things are also heating up for L.A.’s senior Law officials, as a Madam is threatening to go public on the corruption within the force – which appears to go to the highest levels. Phelp’s current partner, Ray, brings up Phelp’s relationship with Elsa as a way to make him the scapegoat. So Phelps is brought down, his wife is filing for divorce, and his world is shattered.
Yet none of this quite rings true. I’m not quite sure what the problem is, but it feels forced, as if the story writers wanted this twist, but hadn’t set it up properly. The parts that do work are the parts to do with him being set-up to cover the Officials’ corrupted rears, and the fallout from that.
However, when it comes to him defending himself to his wife, it seems he was having some kind of affair with Elsa, and when he’s kicked out of his home, he goes to see Elsa. Something here isn’t quite right. It doesn’t feel like it fits.
I’m not saying that Phelps is the perfect cop, and resisting all temptation, but it seems too far from what’s been set up so far. Perhaps they were trying to suggest that he never quite fit back into life after the War and that this was one of those stupid things that someone traumatised can do. Whatever they meant, it feels very, very wrong, and really jars the immersion.
I persevered past this point, at least wanting to find out what happens in the story. Then the second twist occurred that pulled me out of the immersion. You are no longer playing Cole Phelps, but instead Jack Kelso, an investigator for an insurance company. It fits the story, but it again feels wrong to me. I’ve invested time in Cole, and suddenly that doesn’t seem important. Your experience points and rank, however are carried along to Jack, which is understandable from a game point of view, but makes whatever character you’re playing even less important to my mind.
Maybe I’m alone here, but this has taken some of the shine off it.