L.A. Noire

8.4 Overall Score
Graphics: 8/10
Controls: 8/10
Gameplay: 9/10

Hey it's a Rockstar game. What not to like.

May not be what gamers expect from a Rockstar game.

 
Game Info

Published by: Rockstar Games

Developed by: Bondi

Genre: Action/Adventure/Open World

Platforms:  PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Release Date: US: May 17, 2011

ESRP: M

Before I get too deep, I just want to say that Rockstar has done it again! The release of L.A. Noire has some awestruck and others bored to tears, but the newest edition to the ‘sandbox’ type RPG (role playing game) is a definite boast.

Cole Phelps

"Eveyone has something to hide"

In short: If you’re looking for a sandbox game that you can cause havoc and destruction, look elsewhere. If you have the patience to play through a fairly short, but intriguing new game that actually makes you think… then get it.

LA Noire follows a crime story set in 40s post-World War II Los Angeles. The main character, Cole Phelps (great, great grandfather of Michael Phelps, I think) has been honorably discharged from the Navy with the Silver Star and has returned to LA to take up serving his country on US soil. After a few beat cases and an introduction to investigating crimes while working in the traffic homicide unit, Phelps, along with a partner (that changes as you move up rank) take on cases that resemble the Black Dahlia case of the late 40s. The world within L.A. Noire is convincing and realistic. Vehicles, buildings, radio and even product placement bring the game to life in a nestalgic throw of delight. The graphics are superbly shadowy and wonderfully theatrical. And Rockstar’s new facial motion capturing technology, while not perfect, is amazingly detailed and instrumental in the ability to conduct case interrogations. Throughout the game, investigations are somewhat time-consuming and can test patience and memory to say the least. Cut-scenes are frequent, but keep the story moving along at a good pace and didn’t seem intrusive to me, but added a flair of film-like appeal. Even my fiance found herself having to pry away from the action and storyline.

Gameplay can be frustrating, but only when trying to decipher fact from fiction during interrogations (who ever said a

LA Noire Homicide Investigation

"Doesn't look good for the victim."

detective’s job was easy??) and a bit while looking for clues. The rest of the game plays pretty much exactly like that of GTA, but without the ability to wreak havoc on unsuspecting computer spawns by brandishing a weapon or beating down a bystander (also no ‘working girls’ to rocket ship). Even without the ability to go ape shit on someone, there’s generally plenty to do, the main and side missions may not be that difficult at times, but it kept me entertained. Interrogating takes a bit of practice at first, and as I stated, the facial movements are a little off at times. And the button labels don’t really make any sense. My advice is to use (A) if you know they’re truthful, (X) if you’re pretty sure they’re lying and (Y) if you know you have evidence to support that the suspect is lying. Interrogation takes a little practice and I think if we see more games like this one, the whole interrogation process will be reworked to be less stop-n-start and more intuitive. One essential part of gameplay that is most important to pay attention to are the musical/sound effects cues. They can be subtle, but if you miss them you’ll be going in circles. If you find yourself chasing your tail, don’t despair, there’s an app for that… just use one of your awarded intuition points to clue yourself in on the next steps you should take.

Damn a 1.8.7. Where's Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre when you need em.

Oh, did I mention the animation and facial technology? This is the real magic and for me what made the game worth playing! The movements, voice and facial techniques are directly digitally imported from a number of real life actors! That’s right, the game is tauting somewhere over 300 MoCap actors in all types of roles. And you may know (or recognize) many of them. Rockstar states that they used a similar technology to MoCap as you may have seen in a little movie called Avatar.

While Noire may not be the gruesome and blood-splattering type, it still has some fairly vulgar language, but it also apparently “Supports Family Settings” (of which I haven’t tried and cannot speak to the actual function and censoring). So if you are faint of heart or just not as outspoken as my grandma, then you may want to check that feature out for yourself.

The last word: Don’t rush out to buy this title, but you may want to investigate it as the price drops or definitely check it out on a weekend pass from a rental box.

Author: milkninja View all posts by
I hail straight outta the basement and I'm clasically trained in reject. I may not seem as picky as others because I like to base my opinions in context, but I won't hesitate to go Ninja on your ass if you try to steal my Milk! Hellrazaa doesn't let me leave the basement much so you may not see me that often, but when I do get out, I devour anything I can get.

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