Narrative and Space in LaLaLand

Posted: February 19, 2013 by smaloney2013 in Uncategorized

L.A. Noire’s narrative is its strongest aspect.  I couldn’t resist, so I read the entire storyline of the game online before completing it myself.  As a film major who is constantly analyzing stories, I was very impressed by its climactic and resolute elements.  That being said, I think I enjoy reading it more than playing it.

Other students who are playing this game have made this point already, but it deserves repeating.  The embedded elements of L.A. Noire far outweigh its emergent narrative elements.  The emergent elements allow for interaction up to a point.  Sometimes, the narrative makes the clues painstakingly obvious through narrative descriptors when the game feels like you’ve gone adrift.  Even if the interview goes horrible, there is still fruit to bear that will help in solving the case.  Not to mention the fact that it forces you to redo the mission if you fail horribly.  

Cutscenes are the game’s strength.  Rarely, if ever, do they reflect the actions of the player leading up to that point in the narrative.  The result is a faux-sandbox game where free-will is limited.  Sometimes, completed goals do not reward the player, but the narrative, making for an experience that is slightly more difficult than watching a movie.

(I can’t figure out screenshots. Next week, I promise.)


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