Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Thoughts on video games

So, I did two things in the last week: finished L.A. Noire, and started playing World of Warcraft.

I'm going to talk about L.A. Noire first, because I've talked about my WoW experiences elsewhere.

So, first off: I liked it. It wasn't brilliant, and there were a number of things I didn't like (which I'll enumerate in a second) but I'd argue that it's probably the best noir feature since Brick. I liked that the main character was a deeply flawed, imperfect man who nonetheless tried to do the right thing, even when it wasn't easy. I liked that "the right thing" wasn't always clear, or the thing that gets you the best result in the game. It stuck to the noir concept that there are no good guys, just some that are worse than others. Also, it was incredibly gorgeous, with a very cool feature where it was in either an incredible, technicolor/panavision version, or a really amazing, crisp black-and-white version. It did not suffer from the usual 'too dark to make out' problem of many modern games, and I appreciate that.

Things I didn't like: the mocap facial functionality was a cool idea, but the mapping on the bodies/heads/necks of the characters wasn't always as smooth as it could've been, which often led to some problems with immersion. The cover-based-shooter portions of the game were, at best, crappy. And the driving portions of the game sucked outright. Thankfully, almost all of these portions of the game can be skipped without damaging the story, which is a feature I wish would get implemented in other games.

All in all, I would recommend this game to others. I'm not sure how hot the replayability of it is going to be, though.

Next, WoW. As is normal for me, I resisted entirely the idea of starting to play WoW until all of my friends had stopped playing, so I'm mostly experiencing the game solo at this point, with the possibility of playing with others in the future. Thus far, I'm enjoying some of the experience, while being entirely tired of some other parts. We'll see if I keep at it, but for now it's a laugh and I'm not overdoing it.