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    Entries in rockstar (11)


    Is the Average Gamer Ready For L.A. Noire?

    My opinion of L.A. Noire has been on an upswing lately. The more I see of it, the more I realize Team Bondi and Rockstar are genuinely trying something different. So for that, respect knuckles. Yet for some reason, there is a bit of worry in the back of my mind. Like Red Dead Redemption before, I thought L.A. Noire was going to slap on a coat of 1947 to Grand Theft Auto 4 and call it a day. After previewing a good chunk of gameplay, I am now assured that this is not the case, in fact it's almost the complete opposite. What appears to be a greatly detailed story is accompanied by investigation and interrogation gameplay, with action taking a back seat.

    Fans of the CSI will love this stuff. You arrive at the crime scene, and survey the area, doing everything from questioning beat cops and coroners, shooing off pesky journalists, and inspecting evidence for clues to cracking the case. Relevant information such as case notes are stored in your journal, which acts as a menu screen, where you can assign active objectives and keep log of all records to track back to in the event that you have any questions about any case you've undertaken, past or present.

    The journal is handy when interrogating suspects, whom you pepper with questions and must judge whether their responses are truth, lie, or if they're not giving it to you straight. Of course, the MotionScan technology allows characters to show truly honest emotion with incredibly detail, making it a joy to try to read your suspect's expressions and habits while trying to catch them in a lie. Of course, this is detective work. You can't just point your finger, call them a liar, and have them locked up and sent to Alcatraz. You need evidence! How do you know the man across from you hired someone to kill his wife? A quick look to you journal reminds you of the ominous sounding note written by the man, found in his apartment. Book 'em, Danno.

    I was told the game's action -- fist fighting, and shooting -- is a reward of sorts for good investigative work. I was shown a scene where after successfully accusing a man of the crimes committed, he jumped up and started throwing punches at our newly promoted homicide detective, Cole Phelps. The brawling was in typical GTA fashion it seemed, nothing really special to note. Which is one of the reasons why I hope it's held to a minimum. The demo didn't show any gunplay, which is said to be a "last resort" but I can't imagine it being done differently at all, or playing a prominent role in the game. Fingers crossed for a Private Eye mode, where time slows and you can paint your targets before unleashing a hail of hot lead. That's some Red Dead sarcasm, folks.

    With that said, will L.A. Noire appeal to the average gamer, or will it be a conflict of interest for generation kill? Heavy Rain tried to make a game feel more like a movie, and while it did well critically, it lacked commercial middle ground, with gamers either loving or hating it. While not nearly as dramatic a departure from typical gaming as Heavy Rain, L.A, Noire is putting the focus on something other than running, shooting, flying, slashing, jumping, or anything like that. Rockstar has faith that gamers are ready to explore the life of a homicide detective by questioning suspects, following leads, and inspecting evidence. While I was once skeptical of throwing $60 on another Grand Theft Auto clone, I'm actually convinced that it's different enough to warrant a buy. Now my eyebrow is arched toward you, gamers, and whether or not you're ready to accept a game like L.A. Noire.


    Investigate and Interrogate in L.A. Noire 

    I'm getting such a kick out of Heroes' Matt Parkman featured as a character in L.A. Noire. If you're unfamiliar with Heroes, Matt Parkman (who I hated, by the way) was a police detective with the power to read and later control minds. He also had a rocky relationship with his wife. So in L.A. Noire, the likeness of Mr. Parkman is just a normal dude with the tables turned on the situations I was most used to seeing him in when Heroes was on TV and not terrible. He's clearly uncomfortable being interrogated about possibly having an affair. Where yo' powers at now, sucka?!

    With that out of the way, we can talk about the actual game, which is looking more interesting. The interrogation scenes appear to be a neat -- and integral -- part of gameplay. This is good, it's something to set it aside from being just another Grand Theft Auto clone. With more situations of investigation and interrogation, and less GTA-styled running, gunning, driving, and relationship jobs shoe-horned in, L.A. Noire stands a better chance. At least in my eyes. 

    The only problem I see with the path Team Bondi and Rockstar is taking, is that players will be alienated. As overdone as the GTA style is, I suppose it's what people want. After all, look how incredibly successful Red Dead Redemption was, being pretty much a reskinned Grand Theft Auto IV. L.A. Noire is trying to blur the line between movies and games, in Heavy Rain fashion, although perhaps less obviously. Today's gamer is immature and uncultured. There was no middle ground for Heavy Rain, the public either loved it or hated it. People don't want a movie experience in their game, they want blood, headshots, and nuclear explosions. Amirite? 

    Is the average gamer ready for investigation and interrogation? We'll find out when L.A. Noire ships in North America on May 17th. 


    Get L.A. Noire on May 14th, Get a New Trailer Now

    On May 14th 2011, close to 9 years of development will finally come to fruition. L.A. Noire has a release date now, and it looks like nothing is going to stop Rockstar and Team Bondi from finally bringing their vaporware Lazarus to the teeming masses.

    The more I see and hear about L.A. Noire, the less skeptical I become. Actually, maybe skeptical isn't the right word. I still don't know whether or not it'll be my type of game, per se, or even what the gameplay will be. At first, I began to dismiss it because I worried it would be another Grand Theft Auto clone, but that's looking less like the case as more information makes itself available. The emphasis on detective work and reading facial expressions to judge a suspect's story is a fresh, interesting addition, no doubt. So the question has become, will be game be any fun?

    L.A. Noire may be steering down the path of Heavy Rain, in the genre that is almost more movie than game. I know a lot of people enjoyed Heavy Rain, but I also know an equal amount downright hated it. Was it too much of a movie for some? Perhaps. Will L.A. Noire see the same outcome? Honestly, it's hard to say. While all the trailers and screenshots have been comprised solely of mouth-watering in-game footage, none have really showed what the meat will consist of. The graphics are obviously of the highest grade, and the story seems like no slouch, but I wonder what the game will play like. 

    Gamers have already waited close to a decade, only 4 months more until the big payoff. We'll have more info as it becomes available to us.


    L.A. Noire's Second First Trailer

    Rockstar is billing this L.A. Noire trailer as it's first, but I have to respectfully disagree, as there was a trailer released almost four years ago, which we jogged your memory with earlier this week. 

    Technicalities aside, L.A. Noire looks astounding. The photorealism captured in the characters is on a new level it seems, not only in the minute facial details, but the expressions and how they convey exactly what the character is feeling, as paralleled by their voice. It creates a lovely bond between the player and the characters, allowing you to easier feel for them during their anxiety, pain, and happiness. Rockstar makes a point to mention that the entire trailer is comprised of in-game footage, and can you blame them? I don't know if I've seen a game that looks quite this good.

    Of course, it's about more than just OMGRAPHIX. The game needs depth, it needs to play solidly and have a kick ass storyline to match its vanity. Is a 1947, realistic Los Angeles, GTA-sandbox adventure going to cut it? I say no, but the masses would disagree. There's also mention of a detective mechanic of sorts, which would make sense, seeing as how you take the role of a gumshoe doing his thing amongst a corrupt LAPD

    If you notice, there's some the grit to the vocal tracks, as if they weren't recorded with the newest, clearest mics and mixers, which I like. It suits the piece well, but it doesn't suit the visuals. Since clearly they don't plan to present the game in black and white or even desaturated colors, a film grain or element of roughness is needed on the visual side to match the aural. Either that, or get clean voices. I say go with the former. Fortunately, that's a quick fix, which I hope Team Bondi has waiting for us. Right?


    L.A. Noire Ain't Dead, Though Maybe It Should Be

    Rockstar Games has today announced that the oft-forgotten L.A. Noire will reveal a new trailer this Thursday.

    For those of us who are not completely familiar with the embattled detective story, here's a bit of a recap. Set in "a perfectly recreated Los Angeles" circa the late 1940's, L.A. Noire, clearly, is in the stylistic composition of 40s and 50s film noire; black and white, low-key lighting, offset camera angles, and dark storylines. Well maybe not black and white, who would want to play a game devoid of color? Rockstar isn't gutsy enough to take that gamble. Nevertheless, gumshoes, sex, drugs, corruption, and a touch of jazz music will surely be a good chunk of Noire's subject matter, how it will all intertwine is yet to be seen.

    The game has some promise, if done right. And it wouldn't be a Rockstar release if it didn't come with buckets of hype, but the thing is, this game has been hyped for more 8 years. Yes, L.A. Noire has been in development since sometime around 2002. That's an awful long time to develop a game, true-to-life Los Angeles or not, isn't it? After multiple delays, the title is finally on track for a mid-2011 release. We know what happens when your game gets delayed too many times. Sure, delays are for the best, iron out everything that could be wrong, put out a refined product, all that jazz, but damn. We've seen a lot of platforms and a lot of technologies come and go in a span of 8 years. As a once PlayStation exclusive, you can't have us believe Noire's been in development for the PS3 since 2002. If your game has to be adjusted for more powerful hardware mid-development, you're playing with fire in a bad, bad way. 

    For those of us popping the Noire Viagra, Rockstar's announcement couldn't be better news. Though in honesty, I wonder how many people wiped the detective story's existence from their memory. As an ever-vigilant Rockstar contrarian, Thursday's trailer better be something really fantastic if L.A. Noire plans on capturing my affection. 1940s GTA ain't gonna cut it here, for that, I could just be playing Mafia II. If you want us to drink the Kool-Aid this time, you need to come correct, R*.

    Make sure you check in Thursday morning for the full L.A. Noire trailer in glorious high definition. In the meantime, here is the very first look at Noire, released way back in 2007. Old trailer is old.


    Undead Nightmare's Poetic Multiplayer Trailer

    Taking a page from Poe, Rockstar rhymes the details of Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare's multiplayer mode, Undead Overrun. Zombies haven't been this artsy since Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Or the Williamsburg Zombie Prom from 2009. Damn hipsters.


    Rejoice! Rockstar San Diego Is Doing Things

    People are talking out there in the gaming world. They're saying Rockstar San Diego is doing things, like working on a new title. You know Rockstar San Diego, right? The guys responsible for Red Dead Redemption. Okay, now you may commence the fellating.

    Sometimes I feel like a man alone when it comes to the harsh judgement I rain down on Rockstar. It's not because my contrarian view makes me feel like a trendy hipster, nor is it that I enjoy writing off the successful top dogs, in all honesty, I just don't like the extent of a simulation all Rockstar branches are turning open world games in to. 

    Grand Theft Auto IV and Read Dead Redemption are great games. You know what's an even better game though? Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. It wasn't afraid to have fun and take itself lightly, and it turned out to be one of be most memorable and unique experiences of my gaming career. And the action wasn't too bad either. Not only do games like GTA IV and RDR feel like they're trying to be more of a sim than an action game, in the process they lose a bit of charm that were set by the sandbox trailblazers such as the original Grand Theft Auto, which had more personality in one city block than GTA4 did the entire campaign mode. Except for Little Jacob and Brucie, those dude saved the game. 

    Sorry, I'm getting off track. Back to the topic, Rockstar San Diego says their new project is going to "blow gamers away", their words. Good to see you're tempering people's expectations Rockstar, that's always a good thing. I predict a new open world game that mixes American history and the Tamagatchi, called Underground Railroad, where you lead Abraham Lincoln against the confederate armies of Cold War Russia. And remember, if you don't feed your Abe every 8 hours, he'll die and you'll lose your save! I'm sure that idea would blow a few gamers away, no?


    NYCC10: Hands On With Undead Nightmare

    I make my feelings for Rockstar no secret; I enjoy and respect their work and the effort they make. Their games are always so full of life and brimming over with content, however the departure from their light-hearted roots concerned me. C'est la vie, you can't please all of the people all of the time, but Rockstar aims to please however many as possible with their games. So is Undead Nightmare a six feet under snooze or a howl at the moon?

    Click to read more ...


    Dude, Where's My F-22 Raptor?

    Written by contributing author Mark Hagan

    Let me preface, I don’t just drink the Rockstar kool-aid, I wring it from my grape stained T-shirt so as not to miss a drop. Before Grand Theft Auto 3 decided to release its soundtrack on CD, a buddy and I hooked up a Playstation 2 in his car to listen to the radio stations in game via FM transmitter. Geek tendencies are sometimes late to bloom.

    With the success of Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar not only managed to redefine the sandbox archetypes of old, but resurrected a genre in the meantime. Being brought up on a steady diet of John Wayne, Kevin Costner and Jimmy Stewart, aside from my cannibalistic tendencies, I have always dreamt of roaming the open prairie with steed underneath and breeze in my face. GUN was a solid offering when the Xbox 360 launched, but its limited scope failed to capture the vastness of characters and landscapes so often found in the old West. Fantasies aside however, Rockstar made the Western "cool" once more.

    Could Rockstar administer the Lazarus treatment elsewhere? (Ping Pong is not a genre by the way, but everyone deserves a mulligan.) Man has always, and will always, dream of flight. However this genre, more than any, is on life support. Its pedigree is impressive though: Space Invaders, Star Fox, Rogue Leader, Crimson Skies, and to some degree, IL-2 Sturmovik. The problem is, almost all of these games are nearly a decade old! Ace Combat, as one of the benchmarks, is a visual marvel, but lacks personality. In fact, the only flight game to score above a 9 on IGN in the last 6 years is the Xbox Arcade offering Snoopy: Flying Ace. Gangsta, it is not.

    Rockstar on the other hand could inject new life to this rigor mortis afflicted genre. Ask yourself, as soon as you popped in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, with the printout of cheats by your side, what was at the top of your list? Get to the chopper! We know they can do it, even when they aren’t trying! I spent countless hours perfecting the touch-n-go at Francis International in my precious Dodo.

    Imagine the social commentary Rockstar is known for, fused with outlandish characters (Hughes), incredible adventures (Earhart), infinite destinations (the freakin’ Moonallegedly), and the spectrum of aircraft (see destinations). These elements mixed into a historical romp of the birth of aviation to the present day. Hell, even pre-birth with Da Vinci’s flying machines, and travel straight through to.. After-birth? Yeah, we’ll go with that imagery. Rockstar can get away with it, and if it is Rockstar, one thing is certain, it would be done right.

    Mark has been gaming since the days of the Atari 5200 and such classics as Dig Dug and Eggomania. The Dreamcast was a turning point for him with games like Seaman and Jet Set Radio. His love of gadgets, games and geekery stems from his curiosity of innovation through art, and vice versa. His turn-ons include the sound of cellophane wrappers and warm sake in the morning.


    Review: Red Dead Redemption

    A few years removed from spiritual predecessor Grand Theft Auto 4, Red Dead Redemption is Rockstar's latest offering in a long line of open world crime games. And while RDR is set some hundred-odd years before the GTA series, the setting may be the only major difference between games. Does this work in Redemption's favor or not? Read on to find out.

    Click to read more ...