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Check Out Some of LA Noire’s Tunes

You don’t have to wait until Tuesday to start listening to some of the jazzy tracks in LA Noire, as Rockstar has posted some of the tunes over at Soundcloud. Artists include Louis Jordan, Gene Krupa, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan, Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra, Dinah Washington, Claudia Brucken and Andrew Hale.

A couple of samples (there are seven more over at Soundcloud):

“L.A. Noire Remixed is the fruit of a partnership with Verve Records that provides a modern take on the music found throughout the world of L.A. Noire. This unique EP is a collection of six jazz standards re-interpreted by some of today’s most acclaimed DJs, producers and remixers, including Dave Sitek, DJ Premier and Truth & Soul.”

The album, along with the game, will be available for purchase on May 17th.

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UPDATED Watch the first 15 Minutes of LA Noire

Aaaand taken down. Oh well!

Spoiler warning, for obvious reasons.

Will say two thing though: damn is this game dripping with style. Second…gosh does your partner talk at  you incessantly.

RED DEAD REDEMPTION – Review

RED DEAD REDEMPTION is a videogame developed by Rockstar San Diego and Rockstar North, published by Rockstar Games for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The Xbox 360 version was played for the purpose of this review. It was directed by JOSH BASS, DAREN BADER and TED CARSTON.

Before I begin, there are 3 things you should know.

The first one is that I find the GTA games to be a painful experience, consisting of controlling characters I don’t care about, doing stuff I don’t want for people I hate. The second thing is that I’m a big fan of Westerns, which must have been very annoying for my roommates as I discoursed about every single tiny movie influence I could spot in Red Dead Redemption, from John Marston’s duster outfit, straight out of Once Upon a Time in the West, to the plot itself, lifted from The Proposition. The third one is that I really like how most Rockstar games come with an actual map enclosed with the game box. Not only is it a testament for the amount of polish Rockstar adds to its games, but also helps the game be more immersive– as it begins to “embrace” my real life when, for instance, I use that map to plan my next moves instead of eating my dinner.

Moving on. Red Dead Redemption is a good game. It contains some moments that are pretty close to greatness and the amount of care put into this game is almost palpable (Well, actually, it IS palpable! There is that map after all!). Unfortunately, however, it still suffers from issues like pacing, ludonarrative dissonance, flat characters, lack of focus, clutter and noise. There are also some control issues (e.g.: occasionally, turning your horse will feel like you are back to Resident Evil‘s “tank controls” days), but who cares about those, right? However, one thing is for certain: Red Dead Redemption is certainly the best western game out there right now – though I am certain it will be later passed by better western games. Read the rest of this entry

Nico and the Magic Phone

Let me tell you a story.

If you’ve played Grand Theft Auto IV before, it’s probably a story with a lot of parts you remember. Unwashed immigrant, off the boat, kills a lot of people for redemption only to figure out that there is no redemption in murder, only more murder. It’s a truly touching story broken up by random drive bys.

I like my version better, though: Unwashed immigrant, off the boat, finds a magic cell phone. He uses this phone to get through his missions in the most hilarious of ways possible, usually a rocket launcher, killing a lot of people for redemption in over the top vengeful ways, only to realize there is no redemption in murder, only more death. It’s the same touching story broken up by over the top violence.

My friends, there is no other way to play Grand Theft Auto IV other than to cheat.
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LA Noire Will Allow Players to Skip The Action

In an effort to court a wider audience with LA Noire, Rockstar will be implementing a type skip-the-action system. “You can skip those action elements and still experience the bulk of the narrative,” states Rob Nelson, LA Noire’s art director. This is only an option after a player fails a section a couple of times, though. Almost like Nintendo’s “Super Guide,” only this isn’t a game centered around action–and that is a crucial difference. MTV states that “80% of “LA Noire” is an absence of action.” The star here isn’t the shooting bits–it’s the narrative, the investigation itself. “The hour-long case demonstrated at the screening had maybe five minutes of typical action,” states the MTV Multiplayer blog. Thus, the choice to include this feature may tell us that this is just how much faith Rockstar is putting on the narrative of LA Noire.

This news has cemented my purchase. As someone who abhors most single player shooting games (“Single player is just me killing algorithms,” as someone on Twitter puts it) being able to skip the parts I don’t care about might mean I actually finish the game!

LA Noire To Defeat the Uncanny Valley

Some people will tell you that the uncanny valley does not exist. Others champion it like a knight overthrowing a dragon: a trophy to denote sweet, sweet victory. Team Bondi, the developers behind the 1950’s detective game LA Noire, claim they have “defeated the uncanny valley.”

Y’see, Team Bondi believes that making realistic human faces is a prerequisite for creating a complex investigative game. “We wanted to make a detective game,” McNamara, founder of Team Bondi, told OPM. “And a key part of that is interrogating people. If you’re going to see if somebody is lying, you have to be able to look for little poker tells, all that stuff.” p-p-p-poker face?

Of course, you can’t have a discussion about the uncanny valley without mentioning PS3 heavyweight, Heavy Rain. McNamara says that “The characters look great [in Heavy Rain], but in the terms of believability you still have to sort of suspend your disbelief and enjoy the game.”

Hmm, I don’t know–there’s something oddly perfect about the skin of the models, isn’t there? Actually, there’s something oddly perfect about the models in general–the everything has the same perfect, smooth texture. The expressions seem spot on, though.

And while it’s true you had to suspend your disbelief in Heavy Rain, it was still succesful depicting humans with a character like Scott Shelby, who looked insanely real.

Now, compare that to this:

I’m just not seeing it.

Grand Theft Retrospective 3

(Grand Theft Retrospective is a series of Articles on the various games in the Grand Theft Auto 3 and 4 universes. All were played on PC, and were likely assisted by whatever weapon cheats there are, because while I object to removing important bits of the game, I feel 95% of the missions are more enjoyable with a rocket launcher.)

Grand Theft Auto 3 is an odd game for the modern palette. It was one of the first “modern” games, which is a good and bad thing for us going back to play it. On one hand, it’s still phenomenally fun when it gets into the swing of things. When the bullets fly, when the cars drive, it handles beautifully, and everything is fast and furious. On the other, the modern amenities that we now expect, no, demand are not present, which makes the experience an altogether frustrating one.

GTA 3 is the halfway point. It’s got one foot in the past, squarely with the two original games, and its other foot is jumping into the future, providing us with 2003’s version of what the future of gaming was. And it gets tantalizingly close, but in the end it fails to really offer a great experience to the modern player.
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Quick and Dirty Thoughts: Red Dead Redemption

We’re going to post something big and official about Red Dead Redemption in the future. Probably a review of some sort. You know how these places about video games work.

However, today’s been a real slow news day (the pre-E3 doldrums), and I’ve decided to post some preliminary thoughts after the jump. Some minor spoilers, obviously, though very little plot related.
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