Let me start by saying that getting LA Noire to work has been the most frustrating experience in my 15+ years as a PC gamer.
- If you want to play this game on a laptop: DO NOT BUY!
See the 1 star reviews of laptop owners for more details
- If you cannot install this game on your C:\ drive: DO NOT BUY!
Read my review below to find out why
I had been following LA Noire for some time and received it as a Christmas gift.
Like many other PC users/gamers, I have a C:\ drive reserved for Windows and other related applications (Office, browser, etc) and dedicated drives for music, games, etc.
So when i first installed this game i put it on my usual games drive, instead of the default location on C:\. Game installs fine and when i launch it for the first time it takes me through the activation and mandatory patching process via Rockstar Social Club (= Rockstar's DRM crap).
After this first patch the game needs to be restarted and when it launches again suddenly the patching fails.
Error Patching: Error binary patching file
But i can just proceed with loading the game despite this, or so i think...
LA Noire continues by checking for saves, DLC, etc., but then it hangs on the final loading screen before the main menu (LA Noire neon logo).
I forcefully quit the game and try to relaunch. This time i get a fatal error stating my settings.ini file is malformed and i need to delete it.
Very weird, considering i haven't even looked at the settings yet, but I delete the file and restart LA Noire.
The game starts up, creates the settings file again and then gives me the same malformed settings file error...
At this point i start looking around the internet for a solution, but apparently there is none out there. So i contact Rockstar support via the Social Club...
2 days after creating my initial support ticket (during which i have been troubleshooting as well) it hasn't even been assigned to a support engineer yet.
So i hit up their Twitter accounts (@RockstarSupport & @RockstarGames) to complain and suddenly a response appears. Sadly, it is a useless copy-paste answer that ignores everything i have been writing in the 2 days since opening the ticket.
So 2 more days pass and i keep doing these trial & error reinstalls: switching installation directories, disabling/enabling firewall and anti-virus, etc.
At one point i just install the game with default settings, which on Windows 7 (64 bit) puts the game in C:\Program Files (x86)\Rockstar Games\L.A. Noire.
BUT EVEN WITH DEFAULT SETTINGS THE MANDATORY PATCH FAILS TO INSTALL!
That's right: straight out of the box, no changes at all, and the damn game does not work.
Since it is clear that Rockstar support is utterly useless, i keep looking for answers on the internet and find out that for some reason the patcher cannot cope with "weird" characters in the installation path: selecting any path that is not on your main drive (C:\ in most cases) and contains anything like brackets or spaces means you won't be able to run the game.
So in a last ditch attempt i install the game in C:\Program Files\RockstarGames\LANoire (no spaces, no brackets) and lo and behold: it works!
For the first time in more than a week i can patch the game and get to the main menu!
I'm very happy at this point and immediately start a new game, only to run into the next issue: whenever Cole Phelps (your character) moves, the game stutters so hard it becomes unplayable.
Very weird, considering i have an up to date gaming PC and even setting the game to the lowest settings does not fix the issue.
So back to the internet, since Rockstar support is still not doing anything.
Turns out LA Noire cannot cope with multi-core CPUs (gg again Rockstar!) and you need to add the '-str' parameter (forcing single threading) to the commandline when starting the game.
After adding the parameter and more than a week after first receiving/installing the game, i can finally play!
It's a shame that Rockstar once again dumped a shoddy console port on the PC market (remeber GTA IV anyone?), because the game itself is actually quite fun.
I am only at the start of the game, playing as a detective in the traffic department, but so far it is quite fun to gather clues, interrogate witnesses and suspects and solve crimes all over the city. As you have probably already seen from game footage, the facial animations are top notch and really add to the whole process of the interviews.
It is up to you if you want to risk spending your money on a game you might not be able to play at all, but i cannot recommend this game to anyone due to the myriad of technical issues and the appalling lack of support from Rockstar.