Yeah, this really isn't that great a game. Yes, the facial technology is rather impressive, yes it looks nice....but the actual game? Its poorly designed, often incoherent, badly written, sometimes incredibly simple and often quite dull.
To start with - the cases - these are the meat of the game and to be frank they're really not that good. So many of them are often offensively obvious within the solution being clear within first couple of minutes of hitting the crime scene, but you have to trawl through a protracted back and forth to gather the evidence you need and to get all the suspects into the frame and go down all the idiotic red herrings until you can finally, painfully arrive at the outcome you knew was coming all along.
Some of these cases are designed for simpletons (and presumably by simpletons) with zero intrigue and zero mystery with the steps you take to solve the crime following entirely predictable and often utterly daft plot points, all helped along by ridiculously convenient clues and astoundingly good recall from the odd witness. So many of the criminals you chase seem to be actively doing their best to help you out - they leave rare one of a kind guns next to the body, they leave piles of bloodied clothes in their houses, they leave bloodied murder weapons in the nearest bin to the crime scene. A gunshop owner can recite name, address and hours of work for a suspect after being verbally given a gun serial number. Not realistic in any way.
And the interviews! Aside from the facial tech, they're really not that engaging. As above half the time you already know who the bad guy is, but you have to sit down and go through every point of evidence you've drummed up which shows up a fairly glaring issue - namely the facial tech is clever, but not clever enough to be subtle, so characters either stare directly at you to tell the truth or to lie, they start twitching like they're touching a socket with their eyes rolling wildly round the room, all stuttering and unsure. A light might as well come on saying LIE in big neon letters. Which makes things all the more galling when someone is clearly telling the truth but the game claims they're lying - essentially it turns large swathes of the interviewing into a guessing game which, frankly is poor form.
The actual evidence gathering is surprisingly unfun. Simply wander about the crime scene or the suspects house rubbing up against the scenery until the pad rumbles. Collect whatever it is you're able to pick up. Sometimes its something of use sometimes not. Sometimes evidence doesn't correlate correctly to the questions you have to ask in the interview, sometimes you're stuck getting an interview wrong until you find a specific piece of evidence or go to a specific place, which may or may not be accessible yet. Essentially its poorly designed and poorly laid out.
The writing falls fairly flat too. WIthin these dull and lifeless cases, dull and lifeless stereotypes witter idiotic and dull things. Phelps is a deeply unlikeable character who is prone to throwing out all manner of odd reactions to certain things. Suggest doubt with something a suspect says, sometimes you get a normal response, sometimes he goes BESERK and starts shouting in their face. Its inconsistennt and unbelievable.
The city of LA - I'm sure its beautifully recreated, but its utterly dull. Its not even slightly Noire. Driving is bland and pointless, random chases and events are as repetitive as they were in Red Dead - theres no reason to explore the city as you bounce from cut scene to cut scene.
Its a real disappointment and really should have been so much more than this. Worth buying if you're a simpleton or just love dull.