Gaming Hell: Shit Ports – The Sins of LA Noire

I pre-ordered LA Noire for PC, and I was able to get it same-day shipping from Amazon. I was totes psyched for this game after abstaining from buying it on the PS3. I wanted to own it on the superior platform. I popped it in, and after a lengthy install of two discs, my body was ready.

When you first start-up the game, it immediately prompts you to install the latest patch. Here’s where the first hiccup came in. I would install it, and it would correctly update, but after restarting, it would act like the patch was never installed. It again downloaded and installed the patch. A vicious cycle.

After futzing around with everything in the install folder, I actually stopped running the launcher and just ran the regular executable after the patched installed. Finally, it started up as it would normally.

Why didn’t I try this before? Because both the launcher and .exe file go to the exact same place, but the patch only updates the .exe. The launcher is always going to be the same file, even after the patch is downloaded and installed. Hell if I know why.

After finally getting to the main screen, I came to the biggest problem I was going to be facing (at least up until this point).

The game goes through the numerous splash screens, and finally stops on this one:

This logo is animated, and it flickers and flashes as the LA Noire “Love Theme” plays in the background. On the bottom right, the game showed “Checking for save data” and then “Checking for downloadable content” and then just stopped. I waited a few minutes, thinking it was loading or something. Completely stumped, I force quit out of the game and opened it back up again.

Same damn screen. I was a bit puzzled at this point, because I wasn’t sure just what was going wrong. Did it get stuck loading something? Is the main menu there but just not visible? I looked up a video of someone starting up the game and saw that, when working correctly, the camera actually tilts down from this splash screen and into a side-alley, where game options like “New” “Resume” and “Options” are displayed on the wall.

I uninstalled and reinstalled over and over, ran each and every file as “Administrator,” updated every single Windows and NVIDIA file I could think of (and that Rockstar Support recommended) and none of it worked.

There were instructions for people using NVIDIA graphics cards, such as telling them to set the “Maximum pre-rendered frames” option to 0. I did this, and after a bit more fiddling, I finally was able to get into the game.

However, getting the game started didn’t really matter because it was almost impossible to play anyway.

This was my computer then:
Windows Vista Home 32-Bit
Intel Core 2 Duo
3 Gigs RAM

Firstly, the game ran at about 5-10 FPS (though I never timed it), and it had nothing to do with the graphical settings. Between the absolute highest resolution and all the graphical features enabled, and the absolute lowest resolution and all of the graphical features disabled, there was no difference in performance whatsoever. It was still sluggish, and pretty much unplayable. I forced myself through the beginning anyway because I wanted to play the thing so badly. I may have even probably gotten through the game as well if it wasn’t for this NEXT problem.

The facial tech Team Bondi developed on LA Noire was pretty much the best thing about it. And for some weird reason, the worst glitch I was experiencing caused ONLY the faces to freeze in place for about 2-3 seconds, then resume moving. Although the performance of the game was inexcusably bad, I could have barreled through that. But there’s no way I could play with the faces freezing.

I gave up on the game.

A few months later, I updated my computer immensely, and decided to give the game another go. I was positive I wasn’t going to have any of the graphical problems I had before. Installing the game again was relatively painless, besides a crash that happened during the install of the latest update.

But, of course, it wasn’t that easy. The game was going to be a pain in the ass, one last time.

See that? Black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. My monitor has a 16:10 aspect ratio, and there is no option to change aspect ratio! I had to look this up online, because I did not have this problem before. It turns out, on one of the newest patches, the option to change the aspect ratio was removed. Why? You got me.

There are hacks that some very nice PC gamers have put together that fix the ratio problem, but at this point, I think the PC Gods are trying to tell me something.

They’re saying: Don’t bother with this crap.

And I’M saying: Shame on you, Rockstar.