It doesn't take a detective to resolve this mystery: L.A. Noire was way ahead of its time. Though, as with all mysteries, there's a plentitude of layers that go along with that fact. The technology simply wasn't there, though there were also problems with the story, fan reception, and overall quality. Almost unironically, (and definitely a departure from their more popular titles) Rockstar decided to take a different route in their narrative design by way of allowing players to be the sleuth instead of the psychotic killer.
It was a fantastic idea, yet it wasn't appreciated as much as it should have been.
Riddled with convoluted missions, stale characters, and snail-like pacing, Noire suffered tremendously in the way of directional misrepresentation. It sought, like many games do, far too much from its own mechanics and gameplay schemes, as much as it did from the players themselves. While Cole Phelps may have had his own trusty notepad, you almost needed your own alongside your controller to help you read lying faces.
That was the name of the game, after all. Designed specifically for the reading and detection of certain mannerisms and facial movements, players were given the ability to examine and decide upon how to proceed with interrogations and how best to build a police investigation on their own. It's a tremendous feat what Rockstar had accomplished and built at that time, though it fell on somewhat deaf ears and blind eyes. L.A. Noire also adds credence to the fact that Rockstar should stick to story DLC; instead of letting it die, they may have been able to enhance and evolve the game even more after release.
While the technology and effort poured into the game was immense, the fan backlash was almost equally (if not more so) resentful. With relatively positive reviews from traditional media outlets, it was interesting to see how the game fared so poorly in the gamer's eye. Was it being a detective? Was it too laborious? As previously stated, it doesn't take a detective to uncover the facts, just one Reddit user who complains "reading facial expressions is an utter shot in the dark" and "The most frustrating thing is the disjointed dialogue."
Additional mechanics, much like the issues reminiscent in Red Dead Redemption 2, of examining and picking up objects were far too tedious and time-consuming. Players were already bored by the characters and poor narrative design, but to top it all off there were these long and annoying examination queues that were never-ending. It's a mystery game based solely on investigation, but it's no Max Payne, and that's another simple issue that plagued L.A. Noire: it was different than every other Rockstar title. And it suffered because of it.
When considering L.A. Noire, we have to discuss the downfall and disappearance of Agent. With somewhat similar stories, though differing in the fact that Agent dealt with a secret government operative during the Cold War, players would still be uncovering clues and chasing down bad guys in much of the same way as Noire. A supposed sequel has always been in the running at Rockstar, but any word on its development or planned release will probably remain secret. With Bully 2 rumors running rampant and a definite GTA VI on the horizon, it's highly unlikely gamers will be seeing any L.A. Noire 2.
With the rumors of a Switch and Xbox One port coming true, a resurgence of the game was somewhat minimal, though still present. I myself played a few missions on the Switch, but it's not the same. Rockstar may have gone above and beyond with their hard-boiled title, but fans ignored it, favoring the more devilish characters in Rockstar's arsenal over the heroic ones.
Pushing graphics and enhancing storytelling in such a way, Rockstar aimed above and beyond with L.A. Noire and got carried away with realism. Though still one of the most underrated of prior open-world iterations, it remains Rockstar's most ambitious variation on their tried-and-true killing spree simulators.
It simply couldn't crack the case of its own confusing nature.