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LA Noire Day#5: By the Book

One more case and it’s another ugly murder. Again, it’s a disturbing case that I’m not sure I like to play through. The case itself is pretty good, but there is a MASSIVE bug I hit right at the end, and it turns out that LA Noire follows the craptastic tradition of Rockstar games in having the most awful save point structure in the medium. Side quests continue to shine with really varied and interesting content. The overall narrative stays solid with some nice characters and good sense of a social world. Spoilers within.

To get to the next mission, I have to start Disc Two. This takes a while to load. The first mission on this disc is called “Golden Butterfly.” We begin with a pan down to a car under a street light. There’s a woman who approaches the car and drops her key and is then hit by some guy from behind. We cut back to the office. Galloway answers a phone, agreeing to take a case and reluctantly agreeing to bring Phelps. A white female dropped in a grassy field and the papers are all over it. I’m supposed to bring my newspaper face. Phelps says that the M.O. sounds familiar and Galloway says no assumptions until evidence. On my way to the scene, I take a nearby side mission called “Runaway Battle.” In CS, a guy threatens cops and then shoots a cop in the face. I have to chase him down across roofs and then pop him. It’s easily done. I return to the case and find a crime scene on a hill. The captain is talking to the press. The press CS asks if there are similaries between this and Henry case (my last one.) The captian makes a speech about justice being served. The press then asks about the Dahlia case and the captain ignores them. He CS tells Phelps he wants daily reports. Phelps then CS talks to first reporting who takes us to the body. I get control and find footprints. Phelps asks and get affirmed that every detail of the Henry case was in the press — implying that a copycat could have done this. It’s another mutilated woman’s body — still quite disturbing and I’m still not sure if this should be in the game. The body seems to be strangled, and it has a ring and watch missing. There’s a footprint on the body that the coroner calls small.  Galloway doesn’t want to reopen the Henry case even if there are similarities to this one, but the coroner insists that there is similar stomping and will check for semen. I find a Diedre Moller name tag in her bag as well as some money, so this is no robbery.

The next step is to go to the Moller home. I realize that the game does give you feedback when you’ve found all the clues by way of a brief NPC comment to that effect. On the drive, Galloway says he wants to arrest the husband, and Phelps throws the whole not making assumptions thing back at him. On the way to the house, I take a side mission. Galloway en route blames the boyfriend again and reveals his deep misogyny. Phelps reveals he has wife and kids and then tells Galloway to end the conversation before he insults Phelps’s wife. I reach the “Bank Job” side mission. There’s a CS of Phelps talking to a cop says that there are six of them inside. I get control to quickly take out the guys on the top floor, and then descend into the vault to kill the last four. It’s a decent gunfight, but nothing really hard.

I return to the road and get to the Moller residence with only one head on collision en route. There’s CS of Phelps approaching the house and talking to the Moller daughter Michelle. She lets them in. I get control to search the house and find some size 8 boots. I also find an Elgin watch and ring case. Clues found, I talk to the daughter. Phelps tells her that her mom is dead. She tells me that her father didn’t show up to pick her up from school right away (I get that with a doubt), and a second doubt gets her to admit give me evidence that her father hit her mother in that there was a golden butterfly broach that he gave her after hitting her that she always wore from then on. There’s a CS of the father coming in and threatening us for interrogating his daughter.  When CS Phelps reveals to him that his wife was found dead, he exclaims “FOUND” as if that’s the part that shocked him. It’s  not looking good for the father. I catch him in two lies (his shoe size and his alibi) and a doubt about where his wife was. I call out a final lie to tell him that he was violence. When the interview ends, Phelps tells him go down to central. Galloway wants to arrest him right now, but Phelps doesn’t. He CS explains when they get outside the house that they need more evidence tying Moller to the scene. A neighbor then calls Phelps over.  In this CS conversation, the neighbor says she heard the Mollers fighting and the wife scream, and then saw Moller stuff something in his incinerator. I see turn to Moller come out to the incinerator. He runs, and I chase him and tackle him. We cut back to the house with Moller in custody, and I investigate the incinerator to find a bloody shoe. Phelps CS tells Michelle to call her aunt. I get in the car to head to the coroner’s office to get the autopsy, and as we go, Phelps and Galloway talk about Occum’s Razor and how the one closest to the victim is 90% of the time the killer.

I get a report over the radio at the high school while driving. When I get to the high school, I see a guy snooping around, chase him and then take him down in a fist fight. Moller’s car was found at the high school, and Eli Rooney is the guy we caught near it. Phelps CS tells him to turn out his pockets and he has the butterfly brooch on him. Phelps says to take him away and he’s CS loaded into a police van. I talk to the school janitor who says he saw Rooney before. He can’t confirm Rooney was there on the night in question, but says he’s a violent pervert. I investigate the car and in the truck I find a bloody outfit labeled HM plus the murder weapons in the truck. I  call to set up interrogation cells for both suspects. Galloway talks about arresting Rooney for the murder to take the peeper off the streets, but Phelps is concerned about making sure justice is done. We go to the morgue, and in CS the coroner tells us cause of death is strangulation. I have to find the proper rope used in the strangulation by checking the grain of the rope against the wound. It turns out it’s a rope used on boats. There was no trace of semen on the body.

I head back to the central station to question my suspects. The captain sees us outside Rooney’s room. He CS tells Phelps that he’ll deal with Rooney regardless of whether we charge him. Huh, when I come into the room, Rooney won’t talk and is standing on his chair. I try interacting with him, but nothing seems to be working. Weird — is that a bug? FUCK, IT’S A BUG. I can’t question Rooney at all. I can’t proceed. I go to the start menu to see how far back I need to reload to, and I notice to my horror that there is no load option. There is just a restart chapter button. OH GOD, DO I HAVE TO RESTART THE WHOLE FUCKING CASE?!? I know Rockstar is terrible with save points, but SERIOUSLY? FUCK YOU GAME!!!!!!!!! So, I DO THE WHOLE FUCKING THING OVER from start to finish, repeating everything except the coroner moment. I finally get back to this moment and in my interview, I can verify that Eli is not the criminal. He just doesn’t know the right things. I go and interview Moller and he just looks worse and worse: he has a similar uniform, he owns the type of car that the murder weapon (a tire iron) belonged to, and he calls the right rope for the strangulation. I ace the interview and choose at the end to lock up Moller for the murder. When I do, we cut to a scene of the captain screaming at Phelps that it was all circumstantial evidence and a weak case.  WHAT?!? What did I have to do? I found every piece of evidence. Ugh, so annoying.  Anyway, the case is closed and I found all the evidence and got almost every question right, so whatever, game. We cut to a flashback of the war and Phelps and another soldier are fighting. Phelps is sensitive that he’s not called lieutenant. Phelps goes to interrogate some criminals and turns out he speaks Japanese. The response he gets causes him to slap the prisoner. Phelps is called out for not just killing the enemy, and Phelps gives a reason why the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor – he respects them. When the flashback ends, I call it a night.

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  1. Daniel Burwen says

    Ha, I’ve had the same experience. Found all the clues, nailed my interviews, and then, blamo, my boss is hammering me for weak evidence. I haven’t finished out the entire game (On Arson now) but there seems to be a higher overarching plotline that will drive the story forward no matter how well or poorly you do on your cases. So this unexpected chewing out may be part of that, as this case relates to said larger plotline.

    – dabu

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