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I hated Shenmue when I played it 10 years ago. I don't even know if you could call Shenmue a "game" as it seemed more like an interactive movie. The controls were wonky and most of the gameplay centered around having semi-cutscene conversations with Non-Playable Characters in order to unfold the mystery behind your father's death. The parts of the game that did center around action were disappointing due to the timed button mashing required to execute moves in most cases. The free-roaming combat was also hampered by the terrible control scheme.
Ironically, I have very fond memories of the time I spent "playing?" Shenmue. When I strip away all the game parts and focus solely on the world I was thrust into, I can scarcely remember many other games that did such an admirable job of making me feel like I was actually a part of the in-game world.
Ten years later, I find myself in this very same predicament now that I'm about half-way to completing L.A. Noire. I don't like the game at all. The world is more cumbersome than enjoyable to explore; the controls – much like Shenmue – are terrible; and the action portions of the game aren't really all that memorable or fun.
The facial animations are indeed awesome. The interrogation sequences thus far have been gripping and fun to watch. However, neither of these conventions are enough to make me overlook what I don't like about the game.
I find myself wishing I had just looked up all the story cutscenes on YouTube and saved my $60… But I can't help but wonder… Will I have fond memories of my experience with L.A. Noire 10 years from now based on how engrossing the in-game world is?