Did I like the ending of L.A. Noire?

Catharsis... was it there?

Alright, you should probably stop reading this right about now, because it’s chock full of spoilerness this blog post. Go on, hop it, I don’t want you complaining that I’ve spoiled things for you.

Right, are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin.

L.A. Noire – once I had gotten past my need to play it near perfectly – was an interesting game to make a decided effort to complete the main story for. Yet I’m unsure if I felt any real level of catharsis with the ending.

I’m not the kind of person who needs a happy ending in the games that I play, the films I watch or the books that I read. I just need to feel like the thing has an ending… but I need to feel like I’ve had enough time to get to know the characters before they’re (y’know) killed off.

And I don’t feel like I got to have enough face time with Cole Phelps. Yes, I could get my hands (so to speak) on the download content for the game, but I’m a bit torn about the idea of paying for added characterisation and that’s if the extra cases really have any.

There didn’t need to be loads of exposition in the game relating to Phelps’s domestic situation, but meeting his wife prior to him getting kicked out of his home would have been a nice touch. And then seeing him and Elsa interacting like a couple more would have been good too.

L.A. Noire has a pulse, unlike the victim pictured here.

The above would have made Phelp’s death more poignant. Though I suppose the other issue is that, in a way, Phelps became his career – his job – and so seeing his domestic situation would have contradicted with the man he was.

However, Phelps is not the only character who was lacking in background. While there were those handy World War II flash backs to Phelps and co.’s time fighting in Japan, the other characters sometimes felt like they too were lacking some depth.

The obvious comparison would be between this and L.A. Confidential, which I feel does allow you to get to know its main characters enough. Yet in light of comments made at the Develop Conference this week, though, I have to agree with some of what Alexis Kennedy has said about games that are like films. After all, videogames are a highly interactive medium – having a narrative that your choices don’t impact on does seem half-assed in games that are highly narrative focused.

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