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The sound of success, the sound of failure

Firstly, I’m not going to go into great detail about the game, but let me say that LA Noire is fantastic. The story is deeply engrossing and the interrogations, detective work and other gameplay sections are great fun to play.

There is, however, one tiny little aspect of LA Noire that really irked me. During the course of any interrogation undertaken by the player, you ask questions to subjects and can then decide if their response is a truth, doubt or lie. When selecting a choice, one of two short melodies will play; indicating whether this was a correct, or an incorrect, choice.

Throughout the course of my playthrough, I found myself failing a whole host of interrogation questions and was subsequently subjected to a musical mocking at the expense of my videogaming ego. After a while it became quite grating, and the game became less of an interactive, immersive experience and more of a chore to slog through. All from the use of this one short melody.

This irritation made me wonder why these melodies were played to indicate success or failure, and I couldn’t really come up with an answer. From my perspective, playing LA Noire would have been more engaging experience if I had my success and failures hidden from me, instead allowing my own conclusions to form around what I reveal. As it stands now, I know I’m missing important information because the game outright tells me so which, to me, takes away from the idea of an immersive, interactive experience.

Looking to another game, Alpha Protocol, something similar can be observed. During a conversation with an adversary, the player can learn they’ve been double-crossed and uncover the truth behind a series of events. However, if the game was played differently, then the player will never learn this information. Unlike with LA Noire, however, there are no indications, audio or otherwise, that the player is missing out on anything. I feel that this creates a better experience for the player. Allowing them to believe that, no matter what the outcome, when given a choice they pick the correct option.

Overall, despite game audio being a brilliant way to engage and immerse the player into a game world, I don’t think that this is one such situation where it needs to be used to such an overt extent.