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LA Noire Day#3: Starstuck

This was a shorter session for me. I basically did one story mission and a couple of street ones. Frankly, I’m getting more and more frustrated with the mechanics of this game. The interrogation does not have a logic I can find, and picking facts to go with lies seems like a straight-up crap shot to me at times. And there is an absolutely pitiful stealth scene. Rockstar games are not meant for stealth play. Still, the story is told well and that is going miles for me in terms of keeping my interest. Spoilers within.

The new story is “The Fallen Idol” and it begins with a shot from a hilltop with a car that is basically pushed by a guy so that it drives off a cliff one night. We cut to the station where in CS Phelps and Bukowski are given a new case of two drunken women drivers. The car ended up on stopped against a cola sign across the street from the station. I get control and we head to the crash site. June Ballard (an actress) was one of the women in the car, and she’s disoriented but fine. Gonzales is the local cop on the scene. He tells us that June says that a movie producer doped them. Jessica Hamilton was the other woman in the car. She got knocked around in the accident and was taken to the hospital. Gonzales warns us that June is mean. At the crash, there’s a pair of underwear laid out on the trunk that found in lady’s handbag, and inside said bag was a letter Jessica’s mother wrote her begging her to come home. I find the license plate and look in the car to see a little blood on the dash from where Jessica collided with it. I also find a fake shrunken head in the car (it’s a movie prop) that was used to wedge the accelerator to the floor. Having investigated the scene, I find Miss Ballard. She’s flirty with Phelps. In the interview, I doubt her to reveal Mark Bishop as her enemy. I miss something about Jessica and June’s relationship in the testimony. She also says that Bishop offered her a part in a picture and then withdrew it. As the interview ends, she wants to talk to the press with her lawyer. Phelps says she should go to hospital and she thanks him for caring.

Next stop is to go to the hospital to see Jessica. There’s a CS of Phelps talking to the receptionist, and she says Jessica is in the room behind me. I go in there, but I don’t think she’s the patient in the room. I talk to a doctor outside the room, and learn that Jessica was drugged and someone had sex with her. I go back in tho room and oh, that is Jessica. I interview her and she remembers the Mermaid as a place she was at. I can’t push her in this conversation without losing her. I miss two questions this time, one because I pick what I think is a good piece of evidence to disprove a lie but that doesn’t do anything. Phelps tells her to go home to her mother, but she says she doesn’t want to miss her chance at a part. As we leave the hospital, we see Fallon leaving and Bukowski doesn’t trust her and wants to tail her. I have to follow her as she drives, but not too close or I’ll alert her. The tail ends with a CS of her entering a building. My task is to sneak into the diner without her seeing me. I don’t know what I’m doing and I get caught like three times. This stealthing SUCKS — there’s no way to really hide, and it’s not clear why she notices you. It’s so bad that even the game recognizes it — the game offers me the chance to skip scene without penalty. I’m not ready to do that yet. I finally do it and overhear June’s part of the conversation. I get Bishop’s apartment out of the conversation, but I don’t really follow what else she’s saying – something about wanting the person she’s talking with to use his contacts for something and that she has the film. I leave to go to Bishop’s apartment.

As I’m heading to the apartment, I take a side mission called “Gangfight.” Two gangs are talking and while I’m CS briefed, they start shooting. I kill them all but shooting from behind cover SUCKS too. I have to basically wade into the gunfire to get anything done. I start heading back to the apartment, and it is a truly crappy drive. I get to Bishop’s apartment to see a CS of Phelps and Bukowski getting the room from the bellhop. I go in the elevator to the room and there I meet Mrs Bishop. I apparently missed the perps who wrecked the house. I search the apartment to find some movie stuff and then I talk to Mrs. Bishop. I use doubt to get her to spill that June wasn’t in the movie, but was harassing Bishop fro a part. I miss something about Bishop and Jessica. I find a check to Hosgood in the bedroom and confront Mrs. Bishop to learn that her husband is being blackmailed by Hosgood, a prop store owner. I need to find a phone according to my minimap, but it is so hard to find a fucking phone in this game. The phone is just huge white icon that takes up like the whole apartment. And oh, it’s because they didn’t give me the feedback when I walked RIGHT PAST the phone. Did the game just stop telling me that I can interact with things? I get location of the prop store and leave the apartment.

As I head to the prop store, I take another street mission: “Pawnshop Holdup.” As I arrive, a cop outside the store CS explains we need to go into the shop from the back to catch the bad guys. We get control to run around the back and get in. There are guys shooting as I enter, and I duck behind the wrong cover and get shot a bunch. I do eventually make it behind some safe cover long enough to heal (you heal over time here), and then take out all the guys on the inside. The scene ends when I get to the roof and have to take out a guy holding hostage by shooting him when his head pops up. Mission complete, I get to the prop store. It starts with a CS of Phelps taking to the guy behind the desk. It’s Hopgood. Phelps CS asks him about his soundstage and he takes the cops to it. Bukowski watches the guy while I look around. This stage is a gross, skanky place that has a one-way mirror with a camera behind it. I got back outside and knock down a fake wall (quite cool, that) to find the peep room. In there, I find film canisters that tell me that Jessica was filmed during her “screening” and also find Bishop’s address. Hosgood is a total creep who also has a one-way mirror looking into the bathroom. I also find an empty drug bottle and a desk for building shrunken heads. I go to talk to Hosgood now that I have this evidence, but again, I have no idea how to use it to get the right information. I make a couple of wrong guesses about which OBVIOUSLY INCRIMINATING evidence I have to use to make each random point and thus mess up the interview. It feels SO CHEAP. Anyway, Phelps CS goes to arrest Hosgood, but suddenly the vice cop from last session shows up and says Hosgood is an informant and shouldn’t be arrested. Phelps says he’ll report this interference and leaves. When we walk outside, there’s a CS of  some goons stopping Phelps and Bukowski to say they’ll take care of Bishop. They reveal that he and Hosgood had business. Phelps tells them to stay out of police business and then Bukowski threatens them when they get snide. We get control to drive away, but they suddenly shoot at us. It’s chaotic, but we kill them and with that, it’s off to the set. I have to get another car halfway through the drive by commandeering a vehicle on the street (the nicer version of carjacking) because I crash so bad on the trip. Thank you terrible Rockstar driving. Eventually, I arrive at the movie set.

As we arrive, we see Bishop run on to the set. It’s a quite nice setting with a giant fake palace and lots of walkways. I chase Bishop down across the stage, and when I catch him and put him under arrest, more goons show up to kill him. I have to shoot them as I escort Bishop down, but I think there’s a bug because Bishop suddenly doesn’t follow even though he’s shouting that he’s with me. I get a rifle from a dead guy and that makes the rest of the gun fight easy. I get to a checkpoint, and then there are more goons to shoot my way out of. After a set piece where I shoot an oil barrel to collapse a pillar, I get bishop out. Leary congratulates me on the case and tells me that I’m promoted. As I leave in CS, the vice guy shows up. He tells us we broke the back of Guy McCaffey’s gang (I guess the guy who sent the goons) and wants to buy us a drink. We cut to a CS of the cops driving up to the Blue Room as Roy (the vice cop) rags on beebob. At the door, Roy tells the owner that he wants to see the singer, but the owner wants to leave her alone. Roy threatens the owner and the owner caves. We cut to a CS of the singer who is distraught that a friend died recently. Roy enters the room with Phelps, and when the singer doesn’t want to talk with Roy and insults Phelps, he slaps her and calls her a junkie. A doctor in the room gives her a shot as Roy and Phelps leave. That’s case closed. I got all the clues but only 9/15 questions. The tip says I could have got to the apartment sooner so I guess I did okay, and it’s neat to know that my choice to do a side mission did something. My vehicle damage was ridiculous, unsurprisingly, and that sobering fact is enough for me to call it a night.

six months later, “the red lipstick murder” woman crying as man drags her out of car and kills her, briefing room, floyd is retiring and so phelps is graduated up to homocide from burglary, phelps takes a bow, is given a partner and then assign the case of a woman’s murder, enough for tonight,

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2 Responses

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  1. Jess says

    The driving is what gets me in this game. It ruins the theory that the driving in GTA is so crazy in order to encourage law-breaking shenanigans—it’s just the way Rockstar does driving, because I’m supposedly a competent and law-abiding driver, yet here I am still skidding around like a lunatic. The NPCs don’t drive any better, either.

    I was so relieved when I found out my partner could drive, and I never drive any more unless I have to — but that means I miss all the side missions, which sucks. It would be great to have an “auto-drive” option where I can be the driver but have the car automatically follow a route all the way, with the option to take control if I hear a dispatch or want to go off-course. I’d also like to be able to see the whole route, since I feel very disconnected from the city by auto-skipping to each location.

    Really that’s my biggest beef so far. I’ve really been enjoying the investigation and interrogation mechanics, though running into the same issues as you with pixel-hunting and unexpected reactions from Phelps.

  2. Astra says

    I keep disagreeing and agreeing with Jess on the driving part. Your cars drive fine, the NPC drivers in the game are stupid. I’m a bad racing game player and I still get very minimal damage during the chase scene. My only complaint about the chase scenes are that sometimes the drivers are deliberately running onto you despite the siren while when you are driving around with the siren on, they move away or stay still (another aggravating problem). That feels cheap. I get it that cars are being made as the tool for that specific “chase level” but they could have used them as still obstacles (which they already do), obstacles overthrown by the target (some chase sequences have this), or something else.

    The notes on some of the clues don’t connect with what it is supposed to prove. This is why I like Ace Attorney’s clue system better. The notes on the clues have keywords to relate to the remarks on interviews, interrogations, and cross-examinations.

    I agree that the tailing a target on foot is not well-thought of. No indication whatsoever that the target is suspicious. Very black and white system unlike the newer Assassin’s Creed game where there is some feedback when the target gets suspicious. However there are hiding places where you can duck or cover.

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