Good Cop, Bad Cop: Part 2

Good Cop, Bad Cop: Part 2

Two weeks in, and I already lied. I ended up playing this game a little bit more because I wanted to finish the case I was on, and man, have I got a story for you.

Spoiler alert for an early case in the game. It won’t affect any gameplay since you can only use information Cole Phelps knows, but it does give away the case’s solution.

Since Phelps is on the traffic beat, he is assigned a hit-and-run case outside of a bar. The man has a wound in his chest that is believed to have happened when the hood ornament impaled him. But in a case of accidental dramatic irony, I found a bloody knife in a nearby trash can, something that immediately made my detective-loving self gasp. Too bad the cops did nothing but scratch their heads at it. Here I am wanting to ask all of the bar’s patrons about this obvious potential murder weapon–there was an eye witness and everything–Phelps and his partner ignore it until the medical examiner says the chest wound is the product of a more traditional stabbing, not a hit-and-run. Way to be the last to the party, guys.

Now it was possible to go through the crime scene without finding the knife, forcing you to go back after getting the coroner’s report and look for it. While a timesaver, I wish it had affected the game. In any normal situation, if you find an object perfect for murder covered in blood and near a dead body, you investigate. Finding it sooner should have let me at least bring it up in conversation with the eyewitness.

What’s odd is some of the gameplay is affected by how you play. The street crimes had always ended with one of the criminals taking someone hostage. Last time I played, I had accidentally shot the innocent victim like usual and had to start over. This time I cam in just shooting everything as quickly as possible, ignoring the cover system entirely…and the crime ended. Apparently if you take down the robbers quickly enough, you can avoid having them take a hostage. Of course it took me eight street crimes in to realize this because my shooting skills are not a strong point for me as a player.

But with the player being able to affect small side missions, it would be great if the player could affect the order of the story events. Even if all I did was ask the customers if they had seen this suspicious knife, and they said no, I’d be satisfied. Instead the only reward for thoroughly investigating the crime scene is a Steam achievement. That will definitely help me in 1940s California.

Now if you really don’t want to know how this case ends, I’d quit reading here. But like I said, if finding real information in the game doesn’t affect the gameplay, neither will finding out the solution.

It turns out the man’s wife and her lover planned his murder, making it look like an accident. Like you might have guessed, they stabbed him with the knife. Only the professional crime solvers were surprised. What I want to know is how they stabbed this man with a butcher knife in broad daylight on a crowded street without anyone noticing. Not that I need this information for practical purposes. But really. How?

Now I’m off to finish off Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney for real this time. With “The Story’s End” being only Chapter Seven out of ten, maybe reaching the epilogue will actually be the last. By the way, if you ever want to write about a hypothetical ethics issue, look into the plot of this game. It raises some serious questions in its (multiple) final chapters. Or just play it.

Stay tuned.

Good Cop, Bad Cop: Part 1

Good Cop, Bad Cop: Part 1

Let me start with how right after I wrote my last post, I went and bought five games from Humble Bundle. If we were to track my progress on this endeavor, it would mean I have completed negative four games. 

This kind of set back made me start thinking: what is the most efficient way to tackle my Steam library? Right now I am running with the idea that I need to finish all thirty-seven games I have started and not gone back to. I can’t promise I’ll stick with that. My other thought was to play some of what I know to be short games, so I might go back and forth. 

So to start this off, I went back to a game that I have never consistently played since getting it : L.A. Noire. After playing so much of the Professor Layton/Phoenix Wright crossover, I felt like playing a game where I could constantly call people out on their lies. 

While I do enjoy solving mysteries in video games more than just about anything else, I was always a little put off by how much it looked like any other Rockstar game. Grand Theft Auto has never been my thing between my incapability of driving real cars in a video game and my conscience for hurting fictional characters. But after watching someone on Twitch play it, I became intrigued and picked it up during the Steam Summer Sale. 

While I enjoy more than I ever expected to when the game first came out, I still can’t play it for long. There is not a lot of variety in the game play. I get a kick out of finding clues and interrogating people but that is really the only thing that makes it a detective game. The rest involves driving around, responding to street crimes with a gun as your only solution, and wandering the city. I just want to answer a call that isn’t an armed crime. With the variety of crimes in the main cases so far, I don’t know why they couldn’t at least pick three types of street crimes. It all gets boring.

The perfectionist in me gets frustrated as well. The game has no manual save, so if don’t call a suspect out on their lie and want to restart, you have to replay from wherever the last autosave was. There is a workaround where the game saves if you change your display between color and black-and-white, but sometimes a piece of interrogation catches me off-guard and I have to decide if replaying the mission is worth it. Call it a case of entitlement, but I need to have manual saves in an open world game where the checkpoints are not clear. When playing a JRPG, I have an idea when I’ll reach a save point and can accept waiting because it adds to the challenge and strategy of the genre. Here it is unnecessary. 

I do love playing a detective game without many modern-day conveniences. I have played some of the Sherlock Holmes games, but with all of the science involved and the ability to fast-travel, you never feel taxed from dealing with the time period. In L.A. Noire, you are confronted with all of the problems of 1947 technology. If you need to get information from someone at the police department, you either have to physically drive there–something I can never do without killing a pedestrian–or find a police phone. I have never felt the difficulty of no cell phones (or even car phones!) so earnestly before.

Though if I am to believe this game, 1940s police cars are indestructible. Trust me, I have proof. 

Now I promise that is all of the general griping and complimenting I will do about the game. This game is sure to be played sporadically, but who knows? I’m hoping to beat Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney tonight, so I might want to yell, “Objection!” just a little bit more. Stay tuned.