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LA Noire Day#8: A Break in the Cases

Day#8 of LA Noire and I finally get out of the grind of the same case over and over. A section of the game ends with a mixed attempt at a clever outcome. There are some good ideas and the core premise is good, but there are all these new objectives and none of them are explained. You can imagine how fun it to be thrown without warning into something that kills you for no discernible reason twenty seconds later. The narrative is similar: some interesting settings and ideas, but just not well grounded in the rest of the game’s story. It’s a mixed bag, but at least I don’t have to deal with the seventh version of the same case. Spoilers within.

We pick up at the liquor store, with me investigating the latest mutilated dead girl. The liquor store  has a weird bug –the game skips my initial conversation with the owner. I walk in the store and the guy immediately walks to the back of the store, points at a corner, and says that’s where the woman slept. Weird. I investigate the corner. I learn that she had an Aristotle book and borrowed it from Grover McCaffrey. Strangely, there’s a bowling pin, so I guess she bowls. She worked in copyrights for music two years ago. I then interview the owner and miss the last question.  If there was a sign there that he was lying, I DID NOT SEE IT. Nothing new from the conversation so I drive to the bowling alley. It starts with a CS of people bowling, and Phelps and Galloway question the woman behind the counter. She knows Galloway, and she says Jimmy Tiernan (the pinsetter) knew the victim. I get control and go to the back. This triggers a LONG CS of a foot chase with Tiernan leading to a car chase. I get him first time, although there is a bug where Galloway says we should go to Mensch’s bar right in the middle of the chase. Tiernan is caught and sent to the central station. I decide to go to Mensch’s next. Along the way, I do a subplot “Thicker Than Water” which begins with a CS of two stickup artists talking in car before they drive off. I get control to chase hem and crash twice. The third time, I chase them to a crash and then CS catch them. Catching them because they crashed on their own felt kind of cheap, but at least it was a kind of fun drive.

Now that I’ve done my side-quest, I have my partner drive to the bar. The bar begins with a CS of Phelps and Galloway talking to the bartender. He was annoyed with the victim for not having any money. He tells us to ask around the bar for someone who knows her. I find Grover at a stall. Phelps has a CS conversation with the writer – he says he was aware of the victim in a really pretentious way. He’s done worker’s rights stuff in the past. I catch him in a lie and he says Tiernan’s the guy who did it. I go back to central, and a guy runs into me on street to tell me I have to see the  captain in basement. The coroner is there as well, and in CS Phelps, the captain, and the coroner have a conversation about notes and lipstick. The coroner says they are are all the same crime. Man, are the hands in this game unrealistic and creepy. The coroner also reveals that he had to fire an assistant for being connected with Jamison. The CS ends. I get control and on my way out of the station, I get an address on McCaffrey. On the way to McCaffrey’s apartment, Galloway says he’d only be upset about arresting the wrong guy if anyone found out. We get to the apartment and CS kick in the door. In the apartment, I find the other half of note from crime scene. I also find the bloody tire iron. In CS, a woman enters the apartment and says McCaffrey is on the roof with pigeons. I go up to the roof and, of course,  he runs. I lose him for a while due to STUPID controls on a fire escape. If I’m hold down the stick when my character goes down a ladder and the character changes angle to go down a different angle, I STILL WANT TO GO DOWN. Don’t remap my controls to the new angle. Not rocket science here. I finally catch the guy and then go back to the station to interview them. When I arrive, there’s a CS of the captain who says he’ll deal with Jamison. He tells us we have to interview Tiernan and McCaffrey to arrest one of them.

I go to Tiernan first. He CS says he ran because he was the last one to see Evelyn (the victim) that night and he knew we would suspect him. I get 2/4 questions right, but it’s pretty obvious he’s innocent. Tiernan reveals they stole the book from McCaffrey. I go talk to McCaffrey then. He claims that Tiernan killed her and came to his apartment for advice. I ask Tiernan to respond to that, and he acknowledges waking up drunk at the apartment and McCaffrey telling Tiernan that Tiernan did it. I decide to make a call to Dispatch about McCaffrey’s record. It shows that he has had a violent response to people who steal from him. I confront McCaffrey about the stolen book and he explodes, saying she got what she deserved.  I accuse McCaffrey to end the case. There’s a CS of the captain praising us. I got 17/17 clues, 11/15 questions, and $3k in damage. The tip is notthing actionable which tells me I did good.

We cut to a flashback of the war. There are American soldiers fighting something off-screen from a bridge. Marines show up to see Phelps on the bridge. Phelps seems unable to make a decision, falling back on meaningless protocol, and the marine leads all of the soldiers off of the bridge. The next chapter is the “Quarter Moon Murders.” In CS, the detectives hear about a new letter. Phelps asks to see it. I get control to look at them. The room thinks it’s the Dahlia murderer. Phelps is trying to interpret the poem. He uses the poem to find a location to check out, and so we go to Pershing Square. When we get there, Phelps find a new Shelley quote and find Betty Short’s (the Dahlia victim) SS card. The game here is to search the main map for landmarks that relates to each quote I find.

The first is a cave with plants, which connects to the Hall of Records. I climb to the roof and have to climb across a rope to a chandelier, BUT I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO BALANCE. I have never really had to balance on anything in this game before, and so I almost immediately die in my futile struggle to figure out what I’m supposed to do.  FUCK YOU GAME!!! I find the next note, and then as the chandelier threatens to collapse, I have to swing the chandelier to jump to safety. It’s again wonky, totally unprecedented controls but I make it.  The next location is a psuedo Assassin’s Creed climb to new note and medallion from another murder. Yet another mechanic (like fighting and driving) that is better done in a more focused game. I don’t get the clue from this note (I’m supposed to go to the tar pits but I go to the church instead) and I go to the wrong place. I wander around there for a while, but then Phelps figures it out for me. CHEAP. I finally get to the tar pit and I apparently have to climb into the tar. In CS, Phelps changes into a mud suit. I have to get to an island in the center, but I have no idea what I’m expected to do and poor Phelps drowns in tar. Oh, I have to look for boards under the tar. Boy, SOME INSTRUCTION IN THIS GAME WOULD BE GREAT. I get to the island. I find the missing shoe from an earlier murder and a fifth note. Next up, it’s the art museum. I have to navigate a hedge maze, which is much easier when you have a slight top down view. I get to the center quickly and find a ring and note. The next location is the movie set again, and driving there at night in the rain is cool. Once at the movie set, I run around on to platform and find the final note and bit of evidence. Once I’m done with the note, the platform is collapsing and I’m supposed to run somewhere to get off, but damned if I know where that is.Stuff starts collapsing and I get stuck once and die because of a bug once, but make it the second time. It’s then on to the final landmark.

Ha! It’s the church. This is where I was before. There’s a CS view of the lights on at church in several angles. The ruined church is quite pretty. There’s a CS of the detectives approaching the lit candles on the altar. There’s a guy there with a gun. It’s the temp bartender from before. We spread some trash talk and then Galloway ducks behind a pillar and we cut to combat. The guy quickly disappears, so I approach and the detectives CS realize he went into a tunnel. I get control to go to the house behind the church and find a tunnel there. I go down to chase the killer. I die once and then kill him. Once he’s dead, there’s a CS of the Captain arriving says there’s no press; the guy we killed is too well connected to be prosecuted. The others we falsely accused will be let off on procedural stuff, and Phelps will be moved to vice as a reward. But wait — this doesn’t make sense. How did the Dahlia guy manage to plant all this evidence? Am I supposed to believe that he managed to break into ALL of those houses without being seen? And he was just lucky enough to find a bunch of psychotic grocers, homeless people, and failed writers who hated women? Why did they all run when I showed up? Not ONE of them would say “somebody planted a bloody pipe in my house?!?” Sigh. Oh well, why look for logic. I got 15/15 clues and good tip with only $2k of damages, and thank everything that’s holy it’s my last dead woman.

We cut to a flashback. Kelso is talking to troops encouraging them that no marine will let them down. The next case is “The Black Caesar.” It starts with a CS of Phelps entering vice. His new partner is Earl, the vice cop we saw earlier in the game. Two victims in an apartment with morphine. I have some crazy vice suit on now.  Earle and his lieutenant don’t get along. I leave the briefing room to a CS of Earle and Phelps talking. Phelps says he’s the department pin-up boy and Earle tells him he requested Phelps personally. Once we get to the street, I decide to call it a night.

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