janegodzilla: (emo sparkly john mayer)
[personal profile] janegodzilla
I've got just a few days left at work, which is pretty fucking awesome, although I never realized how exhausting it could be to train a replacement. I trained new file clerks at the law firm when I was bumped up to project assistant, but there was something fundamentally different about that whole experience: namely, that I would be around if Newbie had questions or needed help with anything. My current Newbie, on the other hand, will be completely on her own once I leave. I'll probably check my OHSU email once a day to make sure I'm not missing anything related to school, but that will be the extent of it. I'm not going to be an asshole about it -- I'll set up an out-of-office notice to let people know what's going on and I'll manually forward anything that needs forwarding -- but I'm not going to be involved.

So...yeah. Poor Newbie's getting all of six days to feel comfortable on her own in a job I've had for almost three years. I'm so sorry, Newbie. I'm so very sorry.

(Not sorry enough to stay, of course, but still)

I've been playing a lot of L.A. Noire lately and it's incredibly fun, although it hasn't quite captured my VERY SOUL the way Bully, Red Dead Redemption, or the Portal games have. I think it's mostly because I can't connect with Cole Phelps they way I connected with Jimmy Hopkins or John Marston. With those two, I knew what they were about from the get-go; Cole is much harder to read. I started off liking him, sure, and I wanted to know more about his past and why he was so ambitious, but I haven't become invested in him the way I felt invested in the other two. I mean. For fuck's sake, the ending of RDR reduced me to a blotchy, sobbing wreck . I bawled over John Marston's death like I was watching The Iron Giant for the very first time, and I don't care about Cole the same way. He's too closed off. There are things he says and does that I'm at a loss to explain, and it makes it incredibly hard to empathize with him sometimes. This narrative distance is intriguing sometimes -- I'm a fan of the slow reveal and it's making for an interesting gameplay experience, but I'm finding that I care more about the cases than the overarching story or the characters involved. I want to be invested in my protagonist. It's a little frustrating that I'm getting close to the end of the game and yet I still don't have a good feel for why Cole does some of the things he does. The reveal of how he wasn't so much a war hero as a guy who got the men under his command killed before hunkering down to save his own skin certainly went a long way towards explaining his reticence to talk about the war, but given the tone of the previous flashbacks I had a feeling something like that had gone down. As for Cole's apparent adulterous tendencies? I hope like hell the entire thing is a setup designed to weed out corruption in the LAPD, because I was pissed when my squeaky-clean, holier-than-thou protagonist turned out to be a big cheating cheater who cheats. Cole's adultery would fit with his tarnished war "hero" past and the game's exploration of hypocritical 1940s morality, but I don't like it. He's my protagonist, dammit! I prefer to play characters on the good side of the spectrum, so if he's going to act like an asshole, I want to be the one to direct it. Losing that sense of character control is incredibly unnerving. :P

The gameplay itself is phenomenal, though, and I'm having so much fun playing through the cases. I've seen a few reviews complain about how linear the game is, but I'm fresh off Portal 2 and so L.A. Noire's forward momentum is both comforting and exhilarating. I usually sink ridiculous amounts of time in sandbox/free roam modes when it comes to games like these, because I like to explore and collect things, but damn if solving cases isn't so enjoyable that I keep putting off my usually obsessive roaming. I love procedurals. LOVE THEM. And I love feeling like a Real Live Detective as I wander around gathering evidence and interviewing people. It's the same general process each time, but there are enough surprises and upsets along the way that solving crimes end up being a rewarding and often tense experience. Sure, it holds your hand a little and points you in the right direction if you fuck up a few things , but there was one case in particular where I had solid evidence on two different suspects and I'd flubbed a few questions in both of my interviews with them. Both men were acting shifty as hell and the chief was pushing me to finger one of them -- either of them, really, he didn't fucking care, because they were assholes and he would've been happy to have either one off the streets -- and even after I made my choice I still wasn't sure it was the correct one. For a queasily long time the game stayed ambiguous on whether or not I'd just sent an innocent man to death row -- Cole is upset about the ambuguity, while his partner is markedly less so -- and it's not until much later that you find out that you were, in fact, dead wrong...because it wasn't either of your suspects at all. It makes for an unsettling game experience: with all your evidence, with all of your interviews, with all of your intuition...you can still be completely and utterly wrong. I like that.

Anyway. It's entirely possible I'll beat the main storyline tonight, and then I'll probably shift over to free roam mode so I can get my collecting on. Awwww yeeeeeeee.
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February 2012

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