Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Curious Case of My Playstation 3 and L.A. Noire

I have quickly become attached to my PS3, although “quickly” might be too kind of a word. After it took me about two months to actually set it up – for the aforementioned “busy at work” issue – I powered through Final Fantasy 13 and a few other games in short order.

Although my experience is limited to about a dozen games, the crowning jewel of the system is Mass Effect 2. I understand from others that it might originally be a 360 game, or some sort of Microsoft product. However, every aspect of it is just so goddamn good that I could careless if it secretly came out for the NES in 1989. As they used to say on the NBC Must See TV commercials for when the shows were on repeats, if I haven’t played it, it’s new to me!

I also had a strong experience with, of all things, a Magic: The Gathering card game. I never played the actual card game, and I doubt I’d be interested, since the aspect of physically collecting and paying for all of the cards in a deck would probably cause my mind to explode from the expense involved. Confession: I’m also pretty Dungeons and Dragons and tabletop and card game averse. For whatever reason, those sorts of games have never clicked with me. However, MTG for PS3 was surprisingly playable.

The one stark disappointment so far has been with L.A. Noire, which I had to return via GameFly after a couple miserable days. Console gaming has finally caught up to PC gaming in one very annoying aspect – glitches and software / hardware conflicts.

L.A. Noire simply refuses to play in my PS3 for an extended time period. From online threads, it apparently is a fairly buggy game in general, and the problem could be the internal laser in my PS3, improper ventilation, a problem with the game’s file system, or the lack of proper positioning when it comes to my birth symbol and Zodiac stone.

Given the myriad of potential issues, I don’t really feel the need to bring my PS3 in for servicing. For starters, this would probably cost me money. I also still have a slew of games I need to get to – I’m halfway through Infamous, I haven’t started playing God of War III even though it was a pack-in game, and I have a couple other intriguing games still on my GameFly list.

On a more fundamental level, what little I had played of L.A. Noire was also pissing me off. For the uninitiated, the game is essentially L.A. Confidential 2, if it was a video game. You go around catching criminals and interrogating witnesses, which is great fun in theory.

In practice, for every statement a witness gives you, you have three options – truth, doubt or lie. You can normally determine their shiftiness by looking at their facial movements and tics. Truth is self-explanatory, but doubt and lie are far too similar in the context of the game. When you use “lie,” you have to use a piece of evidence to screw over the witness, but frankly any context that you could use “lie” in, “doubt” would work just as well. Therefore, it’s a coin flip as to which one you actually have to use in any given interrogation.

Even through just the five or six investigations I had done, this was highly annoying. So, when I got to a game-destroying bug – complete freezing during the case of a Hollywood starlet and a movie producer – I just got too annoyed to attempt any of the mystical Witch Doctor PS3 workarounds described above. Back it went to GameFly, and I await a better game that my PS3 and I can love unconditionally.

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