LA Noire: Game Review

  • The world of LA Noire is truly authentic
  • Interviewing suspects is a big part of LA Noire.
  • It wouldn't be a Rockstar game if you weren't chasing people while firing a gun!
  • Take care when questioning people in LA Noire as their body language may tell you more than they are.
  • LA Noire Xbox cover
  • Starting out as a beat cop in 1940's LA is not easy.
Date:7 June 2011 Author: Andrew Solomon Tags:,

Score: 9.5 out of 10

Rockstar Games are well known for their gruesome games most often from the perspective of a criminal or dodgy character of some kind. This time they’ve given us a game where we play on the side of law. It’s still as gruesome as anything else they’ve made and in fact some might say it is probably their most graphic production to date.

From a technical point of view, the game uses the now famous motion scanning software, which allows game makers to transfer the captured acting of real actors to the graphical faces of the game characters. It’s the same great technology that came to life on the big screen in James Cameron’s Avatar. It certainly makes for some realistic gameplay, that’s for sure.

The game itself centers on Cole Phelps, a World War 2 vet that joins the LAPD in the late 40’s. You start as a new recruit on the force and work your way up through the ranks to become detective. The initial “recruit” stages are not really that challenging as their real intention is to train the game player just as Phelps would be if this were all real. Later on it does get tough and you will soon find yourself stuck in some quite challenging situations.

A key part of the investigative nature of the game is the ability to appropriately interview and interrogate witnesses and suspects. During these interviews you will need to play close attention to the facial expressions of the characters in the game in order to determine whether they are being honest or not quite as truthful as they should be. These interactions can be quite puzzling at times because it’s not a matter of “one size fits all” where if they blink funny then they are lying. Oh no. It’s subtler than that – you need to know when someone is merely upset or perhaps they are really not interested in answering your questions.

Failing to coax the correct information out of people or on the contrary, failing to acknowledge when the person is being cooperative can have negative effects on the way things pan out. You may find that you miss a piece of evidence or a clue that could lead you to some valuable information.

Furthermore there are times where you will need to discover physical evidence at the scene of the crime or at various locations such as bars, hotels, houses, etc. As per most Rockstar Games’ products this game is as open as they get. You will often find yourself looking at evidence that has no bearing on the case at all so you’re going to need to apply yourself a bit.

There are a number of gameplay options that will allow the more seasoned players to give themselves some additional difficulty. There are some alerts that come from control vibrations and theme music that help with the discovery of evidence, but these can be switched off.

The story setting of 1940’s Los Angeles is absolutely fantastic. The realism of the environment is not only true to the extent that it feels real, but it feels like the 1940’s. From the homes and buildings to the décor and clothing of the population there is no mistaking where (and when) you are. Even the vehicles are as tough as freight trains and when colliding with other vehicles it just feels authentic. And if you want to take your gaming experience to a new level then you can opt to do it all in old school black and white.

Rockstar Games have already started selling additional cases as downloadable content and I believe that this will keep the LA Noire franchise alive for a long time to come.

Overall, this is one of the slickest presentations of a game that I have ever seen. I have always been a fan of Rockstar Games and this game just proves why.

Available on: Xbox, PS3

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