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This game was created by Rockstar Games and released in May in 2011. LA Noire is set In LA in the late 1940s. It has been made to look exactly like actual locations in LA and to be historically accurate. There is an extensive range of downloadable content for this game. The Rockstar Pass is in my opinion the best value DLC currently available for it because you get access to a lot of extra cases for a reasonable price. There are very few games on the PlayStation 3 that have ever really impressed me. When I am searching for a new game, I look for a thought provoking game, one that can really make me think. I look for a game that is a challenge and one that manages to keep me intrigued and excited for what lies ahead. This game is one of the few that managed to do all of that and because of this I think it is truly amazing. My brother recommended this wonderful game to me, if he hadn't I probably never would have given the game a chance. I was astonished by how real the characters look and the special, incredibly realistic detail that has gone into creating their facial expressions. The storyline for each case was incredibly interesting and never got tedious or lost its intrigue. It didn't matter how many cases I closed because I was always eagerly anticipating the next one.
This game was so much fun to play! I literally did not sleep for the duration of time that I was playing it. I just could not bring myself to put the controller down. Inability to sleep because of my enthusiasm towards a game is something that rarely happens to me. This game just kept me completely glued to the screen. Everything about it is so realistic and believable. As I was getting to know each character, I began to feel as though I was getting to know actual people and the cases started to seem real. I really liked the main character Cole Phelps role in this game. I specifically got caught up in his parts in the storyline. When the character of Cole Phelps was in sad situations, I really felt really sad too. When he was lied to, I felt angry at the characters who deceived him and then something totally unexpected happened. I suddenly went from emphasizing with the troubles his character faced in the game and began to feel a loss of respect towards his character later in the game due to a unexpected twist in the storyline. I can not recall any other storyline that has ever managed to capture my attention quite as well as this one did.
I believe the reason for this is that they allow you to choose how you respond to the characters that you encounter in the game. Success in this game relies largely on your ability to read the characters facial expressions, listen to the tone of their voices and the things that they have to say. Then you have to judge whether they are telling the truth or not and that is actually a reasonably difficult thing to do because some of them are extremely talented liars. It really is a game that requires your undivided attention. If you play this game and decide to skip past the cut scenes and do not pay attention to the subtitles or listen to what is being said. It really is odds on that you will end up incredibly lost. You will also miss out on the best parts because the cinematic parts are really well done and the storylines are incredibly entertaining to watch.
I played this game quite a few months back but it is still fresh in my memory. That to me is a sure sign of a game that I really enjoyed playing. It wasn't just Cole Phelps character that shined in this game though. The character of Phelps just happened to be the one that I found particularly interesting. Each character in this game had their own unique personality and stood out on their own merits. Each character you meet as you progress in the game is part of a bigger picture and most of them can provide you with vital clues to help solve your case. You just have to listen to the things they say, observe their expressions and ask the right questions. In this game there is some very fun puzzles to solve also.
Visiting Crime Scenes
When you visit a crime scene it looks very realistic. Well as realistic as crime scenes in games possibly can. Rockstar really know how to set a scene. As you approach each scene you will meet new persons of interest. These people are mentioned in your notebook. I really sensed the atmosphere of something tragic having happened and each crime scene seemed to feel eerier than the last. All of the detectives and forensic characters can be seen and you get to go behind the tape that keeps the general public from accessing it. You can walk towards people who are coming too close to the crime scene and ask them to move away. You can pick up clues which have been highlighted. It is obvious that Rockstar have highlighted the clues to make them easier for La Noire players to find. Eerie music plays while there is still clues to be discovered and once they all have been found it stops. You can use your intuition points to help you find clues that you are struggling with. These are awarded for correctly distinguishing who is a liar and who isn't by asking the correct questions at the correct times.
Examining Dead Bodies
If you are squeamish you may not like this game. The bodies look quite realistic and you have to actually walk over to them, move them and examine them very closely for clues about how they died. They are usually covered in blood, scars, bruises and are what you would generally expect of seeing someone who had been gruesomely murdered. Plus when moving them you can hear their bones crack and crunch which isn't too pleasant to say the least.
Can I Change Vehicles?
You can drive in a police car and choose whether you want the siren on or off. Perhaps you will get sick of the police car though. In that case you can drive in any other vehicle that you choose. All you have to do is get out of the vehicle that you are currently in and walk up to another one. At the door of your chosen car press the correct button and Cole or whichever detective you are at the time will confront the passenger or passengers and ask them to exit it. Once this happens the passengers exit their car in a timely manner and leave it for you to drive or wreck if you choose to or just can't drive it.
Do I Get A Crime Fighting Partner?
Your partner is assigned to be by your side in each case. Your partner will be different depending on who the captain of the department you are serving chooses.
Tell Me More About Intuition Points
Intuition Points as previously mentioned are awarded for correctly interrogating a suspect. You can use them to show you all of the clues that you are struggling to find. You can use them to eliminate one answer making it easier for you to find out which one you believe. You can also use them to use the Ask the Community feature. This works similar to how the ask the audience option works on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
Your notebook is essential to assist you in solving cases. You can refer to this if you need to analyze a suspect, clues or locations further. You can use the evidence stored in this against a suspect during interrogation. If used correctly it can make finding out who the culprit is significantly easier to do.
I found driving to be rather difficult to do in La Noire. I always crashed no matter how much I tried not to. This has nothing to do with the controls because they were rather simple. It was just something to do with my coordination. When you are on the way to a Crime Scene your partner will talk to you.. You can choose to let them drive if you struggle with it. For the first while playing the game I always drove but as time went on I just decided to let my partner drive instead. The benefits of that being that I did not have to crash into everything and we got to locations much faster too. Also I did not have to listen to the moans of my partner every time I crashed. While driving you can see a map on the bottom left hand side of the screen. This helps you find where you are going and also shows you the route to Crime Scenes.
What is the Rockstar Pass?
The Rockstar pass gives you access to a lot of free content. You can get access to it via the PlayStation Store or in game. If you buy this you get access to more than 7 new cases and each case is very interesting and lasts a while. It really is good value for money at just 8.99. I should mention downloading them can take some time. Perhaps it would be best downloading them all one by one and in the background so you can do other things while you wait. This is what I did and having purchased and enjoyed playing through all of these extra cases I can thoroughly recommend the Rockstar Pass.
Graphics and Sound
I do not usually care about graphics but in the case of La Noire I am more than willing to make an exception because it looks a million times better to me than most games that I have played. In this game the characters you look at have been created by Team Bondi who actually animated the faces of real life actors. The results are so impressive! You really have to see them to believe just how good they are. IGN gave La Noire on the PS3 a rating of 8.0. The graphics vary in quality slightly based on which gaming platform you choose but not my very much at all. The music used in this game is very fitting and I quite like it. The sound effects if say a gun is fired are very loud and clear. I just looked at a YouTube video showing pictures of the characters beside pictures of the actors who played them and it is really hard to tell the difference because they really do look fascinatingly real. I can hardly believe they managed to make animations look so true to life. This is the link to the video and should give you a clue of just how remarkable the facial recognition used in this game is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qytTSilIc​5M The game uses every camera angle possible so you see the scenes from all different angles and see close ups of the characters faces which only further shows how amazing the detail is.
This game can be purchased on Amazon for the very reasonable price of 17 pounds with free delivery.
How Difficult is it to Play?
La Noire can be quite difficult if you do not pay attention to what all of the suspects and persons of interest are saying. It can be difficult even if you do pay full attention. It can be made a lot easier with the use of your intuition points. I completed this game and even got trophies including the one for collecting all of the cars. I am not exactly a gaming expert and I was able to complete it but I did have to restart certain cases because I misread expressions and accused people of being guilty without enough evidence. I did struggle with it at certain points but never enough to make me give up on it or lose interest. I did however at one point have to resort to looking at a guide to one case on YouTube. Sometimes the characters who are liars make it almost impossible to tell that they are. It didn't matter how much I looked at their expression because I was still puzzled. One thing that helps is to make use of the feature in the game that lets you glance up from your notebook and study the suspects face. Some of them seem to panic when you do this and it can give them away if they act suspicious when you do that. Some just get nervous though and again it brings you back to square one and looking at them wondering are they guilty or are they just nervous.
As well as the amazing stories that unfold with each case and new clues that are found. In this game you will also have fist fights and shoot em ups. My favorite part of this was on top of a building on the set of a film. As Cole Phelps you had to jump as the set started to fall away beneath your feet and make your way to the bottom before it all collapsed. It was a very high height and you had to also engage in a shoot-em up while up there. There are also car chases which are fun but I found them difficult because as previously mentioned steering the cars in this game wasn't my strong point.
Side missions you can take part in as long as you are in a police car because if you are not you will not be notified of them and they will not show up on your map. When you are near to an area with a side mission you will get a message telling you. You then get to choose whether to accept it or carry on with your mission instead. If you do leave these to later it means you have a lot of extra stuff to do once you have completed the game. Side Missions consist of shoot-em ups, car chases, chases on foot and things like that. There is also a mission which I completed in which you find all of the hidden cars locked away in garages around the massive city. In such a big city they are not easy to find! There is another mission which I have yet to complete where you find and collect all of the golden film reels hidden around the city.
For all of the Trophy Hunters out there there is a total of 60 achievements and 61 trophies to be earned with the complete addition or all downloadable content.
I was completely amazed by this game and I cannot recommend it enough. Anyone who likes thought provoking, complicated, puzzle solving games with interesting storylines and cinematic cut scenes this one is for you. It is not usually my kind of game if I am being honest but I am so glad I discovered it. I was very entertained while playing this and my only regret is that I completed the game so quickly because I just could not wait to see what happened next. I love everything about this game and I liked the 40s style music. I really hope Rockstar make a sequel or more games similar to this one.
When LA Noire was first announced, with its use of facial capturing technology, I was extremely excited. When I finally got around to playing the game, I was not disappointed. Taking control of Cole Phelps, a former US Marine turned police officer, you get to see the darker side of LA. As you progress through the game you will work your way up from officer to detective, and then slowly up the ladder of the LA Police department.
The graphics look amazing, with the 1940's LA Landscape being completely explored for the most part. There are a wide variety of vehicles that can be used, some driving around the street, others hidden away in secret garages. Characters each have their own unique look, helped greatly by the facial recognition technology, meaning that each character shares the appearance of the actor portraying them, making LA Noire seem more like a film than a video game.
The game play is fun, but at times can get repetitive. Each mission consists of finding clues, interviewing witnesses and suspects, and then eventually solving the case. This can be as simple as arresting the suspect, or as action packed as a big firelight, resulting in the suspects death. While you do get a better rating at the end of the mission depending on how well you did (asking the right questions, finding all the clues), you will always end up solving the case, regardless of how you get to that point. Failing cases just means that the mission must be started again, rather than the story continuing, which is slightly disappointing.
Interviewing suspects and witnesses is very interesting. As you ask each question, you can judge how they react, both through their answers, the way they speak, and the look on their face. The options of Truth, Doubt and Lie are interesting, as each action will give you different responses, and some reactions will give you more answers, and thus more leads, meaning that you will be able to solve the case.
On top of the main storyline, you can also drive around the city, finding locations and cars, but you can also come across side missions. These side missions are usually very simple, often resulting in a chase or a shoot out, but they are a nice way to break up the story.
While more could have been done with the story, such as continuing even if you fail a mission, the game is extremely enjoyable, and you will find yourself lost within the world very easily, and will leave you wanting more at the end of it.
First off I want to say that this game has so many things going for it. Rockstar seems to be able to do no wrong when it makes a new game. The graphics they got with the new motion capture is amazing. The atmosphere, acting, music, and story are all top notch as well. Rockstar has takeno their familiar controls from hits like Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption and put them in this new environment. The map at the bottom corner of the screen is very remicent of other two games mentioned. The game is kinda slow paced compared to a Grand Theft Auto game but it has to be. This isn't a game where you are playing a crime lord...instead your trying to solve crimes not commit them. Investigating crime scenes is something you'll be doing a lot of and they can be fun but they become a bit tedius. I don't know how well multiplayer would of fit into this world but it still huts a game these days to not have it. I would recommend this game to anybody who likes a good challenge and loves the other Rockstar games.
L.A Noire was hyped for weeks before it was released and it can be hard for any media to live up to that. In this case, it was impossible as L.A Noire genuinely wasn't as good as it seemed it was going to be.
Graphics: The most interesting aspect of the game appeared to be its MotionScan technology, providing the best facial movements and the most realistic cut scenes seen in almost any game. You don't quite realise how unrealistic earlier graphics looked until you see the minute muscle movements and life-like dynamics of L.A Noire. Unfortunately, you don't get much of a variety of actions to perform with this new technology, most levels involve driving somewhere, searching for clues, climbing a drain-pipe, a mediocre shoot-out and then driving back to the station. Also, some textures and objects look slightly blocky and out of place with the realistic environment, but that's forgivable.
Gameplay: The clue searching parts are interesting and do require some deductive reasoning, and you're left more to your own devices than in other games which would likely instruct you too: 'Look at car for clues' to fill some space before the bank robbery set piece. But inspecting evidence and checking your notebook for links (the main convention of the game) just doesn't hold the whole game up by itself.
The shooting dynamics can be recognised as Rockstar: walls for cover and a white dot for aiming, but L.A Noire's action sequences seem to have been taken back to the good ol' days of GTA: Vice City. Except, it looks pretty crappy on a next-gen console with graphics easily as good as anything else on PS3.
The driving is pretty abysmal also; crashes are unimpressive, nothing of any interest happens out on the street and all of the driving parts just seem irrelevant and needless, with nothing chucked in to make it remotely unique, unlike how Rockstar usually do things.
Story: The story is pretty interesting, especially tracking a serial killer around half way through the game, but it doesn't feel very 'noir'-ish at all. Everything is too....bright. They got the 1940's feel pretty good, with classic cars, fedora hats, jazz clubs, WW2 weaponry, feeble woman and egotistical swinging dicks with badges. But the noir aspect was missing from the story and it just didn't feel anything like Se7en or even L.A Confidential. However, this is a lot of great dialogue in the game, especially with Cole Phelp's various partners, exploring all forms of reactionary old school police mindsets, as well as great dialogue with criminals and politicians, which adds a layer to the story.
Sound: I forget to mention the one good aspect of driving, that's the radio. It's 40's swing, blues and jazz all the way, although they only have about 8 songs so it gets pretty repetitive. The voice acting is realistic; although probably not as noticeable as the computer-generated faces the voices belong to. But a lot of the sounds in this game get boring, same songs, same sfx, same voices, which would be less noticeable in a game with more character and variety. Oh, and the siren sounds really f**king horrible.
L.A. Noire is a stark detective game set on the crime filled streets and back rooms of 1940's Los Angeles.
It is all styled in a classic film noire movie genre and has the feel of a Scorssese classic.
L.A. Noire mixes its crystal clear graphics, developed with the help of new "MotionScan" technology, with an unparalleled soundtrack to bring the iconic era to life.
Shut yourself in a dark room, brew a hot pot of coffee, prepare to be deceived as you immerse yourself in the cinematic brilliance of this game.
The year is 1947, the city is Los Angeles, crime, vice, and corruptions are rife.
Take the role of detective Cole Phelps a returning war hero turned police officer. You starting as a humble patrolman but are soon promoted to traffic detective. From there the only way is up as you become the golden boy of the LAPD.
Attempt to right the wrongs of your past by plunging satisfyingly into your working life.
Solve some complex cases based on actual real life cases. Bring to justice a serial killer responsible for a horrendous chain of murdered ladies all based around the notorious Black Dahlia case.
If solving murder cases is not enough then help bring down a highly organised drugs ring as you are promoted into the vice squad.
The story is brilliantly paced and flows along with the narration perfectly.
This game gives an interesting snapshot of America re-adjusting to life after the Second World War.
L.A. Noire blends investigative gameplay with action packed sequences.
The investigative element is essentially what you would expect the working life of a Los Angeles Police Officer to be. You drive to the scene of the crime, search for clues and examine bodies and then you follow any leads you have.
This detective work is fun and punctuated by the action. This action includes car chases, pursuing suspects on foot and shoot-outs.
Although these elements are good fun the games stamp of individuality comes when you arrive at the questioning of suspects. You have to analyse facial responses and body language to help you choose one of three answers to each question.
The answers are marked Truth, Doubt and Lying.
For every accusation of lying you make you have to back it up with evidence. This evidence is gathered during the process of your investigations. Choosing the incorrect answer may lead you to miss out on crucial information required to solve the case.
Mess up an interrogation and you risk a stern ticking off from your boss for slap dash police work.
LA Noire is a satisfyingly long game with 21 primary case missions to solve. Depending on the way you play should take between 12 to 20 hours to beat. There are also 40 side missions and countless collectables.
Overall L.A. Noire exceeded my expectations on the graphics side.
The characters faces, created using the new 'Motionscan' technology, are awesome. The facial animations are spot on and far better than in any other game we at ybogi.com have seen before. I suppose this is what you should expect given the actors faces had been filmed with a high shutter speed and inputted directly into the game.
The city also looks amazing with high definition background all adding to the look of L.A. in the '40s.
There were a few occasions during the chase sequences and investigations when the frame rate stuttered and I have noticed a few annoying graphical glitches. These glitches did not spoil the feel of the game.
The sound work on this game is phenomenal and again adds to the feel of L.A. in the '40s.
Everything from the music on the radio to the chatter of the general public as you pass by them in the middle of another pursuit has been taken care of.
All the sounds have a feel of quality and there is some exceptional voice work to admire.
Cole Phelps - Aaron Staton
Ralph Dunn - Rodney Scott
Stefan Bekowsky - Sean McGowan
Gordon Leary - Ned Vaughn
Finbarr "Rusty" Galloway - Michael McGrady
James Donnelly - Andrew Connolly
Roy Earle - Adam John Harrington
Archibald Colmyer - Steven Rankin
Herschel Biggs - Keith Szarabajka
Lachlan McKelty - Randy Oglesby
Coroner Malcolm Carruthers - Andy Umberger
Ray Pinker - JD Cullum
Jack Kelso - Gil McKinney
Courtney Sheldon - Chad Todhunter
Harlan Fontaine - Peter Blomquist
The overall effect of LA Noire is powerful and immersive.
It provides an exceptionally diverse primary storyline, which gives the game a long lifespan despite its fast tempo.
It is the first game with cinematic boasts to lack elements reminding you that you're playing a video game. Therefore it can be seen as a huge breakthrough in the way games are made.
I cant wait to see where this technology takes the industry and I would expect to see the Motionscan used extensively in the future.
There were a few notable flaws, however, the cases draw you in and the characters amaze but there is something missing and you never quite reach that emotional height.
L.A. Noire is something completely different. No previous games have ever been made this way. It looks and feels amazing and almost succeeds as a brilliant new type of video game narrative
It's a Rockstar title.. But first of all let's throw all thoughts of Grand Theft Auto out the window, you've still got your trusty mini map and you'll spend a lot of time driving or walking towards colorful markings on it, but to be fair the mini map is pretty standard with most sandbox style games now, where L.A Noire shines over it's younger brother and sister titles is that trusty firearm stays firmly in its holster... well... most of the time anyway.
You are Cole Phelps war hero turned straight talking cop, straight away in the opening cut-scenes you start to feel there's going to be some heavy character development and thats nice to see in a newer title, I wont reveal too much but Cole Phelps is a deeply troubled man and you'll enjoy listening out for the general chit chat between him and the NPC's listening out for more juicy tidbits of story line that the game so nicely drip feeds you.
The game play is broken down into three sections, you'll take a briefing from your grumpy boss in each particular desk you'll be working from, starting with the traffic desk tackling some regular criminals and cases right through to Homicide, Vice and Arson.
The game shows off some excellent pacing, you start off working some relatively simple cases, and slowly work your way into some very gritty very complex crimes, you may not think much of the Arson Desk now but wait till you get there! Plus you start off sporting a lovely LAPD uniform and as you rise through the ranks you'll be awarded snazzy suits worthy of your jaunt through 1940's Hollywood.
The setting is gorgeous to say the least, Hollywood and L.A have been meticulously recreated (some poetic licence thrown in of course), and between chunks of story you'll have plenty of time to explore and solve one of the 40 street crime cases dotted around the city, you'll love switching on that siren and speeding through traffic to bust some perps! The street crimes are a nice touch if you feel like you need to break up your day, and on top of that you'll have almost 100 lovingly recreated classic cars to drive around in, right down to a 1940's garbage truck! It never gets old pulling up to a homicide case in that baby!
So anyway, after you've taken your briefing you'll drive over to the crime scene (garbage truck anyone?), the crime scene will be littered with clues, and once you step out of your car the soft snoopy jazz music starts up and sets the mood beautifully, now get your nose to the ground and start looking for clues relevant to the case and questioning witnesses (more on that later), Cole will be jotting everything you find down in his notebook for later reference. When you pick up a clue the camera zooms in and your able to use the analogue sticks to rotate the item and zoom in on fine details, once you start dealing with bodies you'll be getting up close and personal with some beautifully rendered but horrifyingly grim victims, you'll be rifling through the pockets of dead men and searching for those ever elusive missing wedding rings.
Once Coles notebook is chock full of clues, leads and addresses you'll be back behind the wheel off to do some stern questioning, whats that? dont fancy driving, hold down the triangle button and let your partner do the wheel work while you think about the case notes.
At last we've arrived comfortably at the excellent face scan tech we've heard so much about, and boy is it good, once you start your questioning you'll be looking them right in the face and you'll be able to catch every twitch, every eye movement and any kind of poker players tell you can think of. You can really see how sophisticated the technology is, and you'll be jittering with excitement to question your first suspect, an experience that feels genuinely fresh and new, you really need to see it to believe it! So, after some nervous twitching and shifty eye movement you'll need to watch that mug closely as you'll be expected to distinguish weather their telling the truth, weather to cast doubt on their answer and press further questioning or weather to call them out as an out and out liar, you'll need the evidence to back that one up though!
If i where you i'd watch them closely here, your likely to get a taste of the action here. When Cole gets uncomfortably close to the truth your suspect may try to make a run for it! The first time this happened i nearly had heart failure! Giving chase felt tense and exciting, Cole shimmys up drainpipes and slides down ladders, takes leaps of faith across buildings and soon you'll be in high pursuit. There's a range of ways to take your perp down you could get close enough for a tackle or you could take aim with your pistol and once Cole gets a clear shot he'll fire a warning shot into the air, the perp stops and throws his hands into the air and you've got your man.
It's great to see some fine detailing in the animation here, when Cole fires into the air the guy your chasing looks genuinely shocked and jaded, before one guys hands when up he dipped his head and covered it with his hands, he thought i was firing right at him! Plus if your climbing a ladder and you get a little close Cole reaches up to grab the perps leg but he wont give up that easy Cole receives a boot in the face and his hat comes flying off while Cole clings to the ladder trying to recover, and believe me someone at Rockstar games hates that hat, it comes flying off at all intervals! But no fear you can go back to the location it fell off and Cole reaches down, picks it up and pops it back on his noggin, it never gets old!
More often than not Coles going to end up in fisticuffs with someone, holding down the shoulder button puts Cole in a good old boxers stance where you can trade blows dodge and grapple accompanied by some great writing "is that all you got pal!".
And of course there's the inevitable car chase, and unlike your Grand theft Auto types you've got the feeling you should be careful on the road, don't take out to many lamp posts and don't run down the public either, you are a cop after all! And also at the conclusion of your case you'll be awarded between one and five stars, and apart from getting everything right and bringing a little justice to the world, your also rewarded for not causing to much city damage and not running down the innocent bystanders.
Even though these chase and fights scenes seem to repeat themselves a lot throughout the game (everyone in L.A is an expert at climbing drainpipes... or a roofer) I still found each one pretty enjoyable and its always helped along by the vibrant and lively soundtrack which really drives the game along nicely.
Another thing i'd like to mention is Cole's partners, you get a partner with each desk you work and each one has his on back story and the banter you have between each other is so enjoyable to listen to it really helps us realise L.A Noire is a game with some serious thought behind it and every moment in the game has been fine tuned to get in the mood of the story and its deeply refreshing to see this in a modern game title, and game designers and developers should take note, It's just that rather than the writers and designers working in opposite camps it seems like they've finally sat down together and blended the story, the action, the game play and the graphics seamlessly.
Overall L.A Noire is a fantastic blend of all the game elements we enjoy and comes across as a very innovative and crisp refreshing title that has some real style, you'd be mad not to pick up L.A Noire and go for a spin!
There was a lot of hype before this game was released and it received decent reviews by the boffins at review sites. This is a step in a new direction by rockstar whose GTA series sees the main character killing police, however, in LA Noire you kill criminals. With its very intelligent AI and detailed graphics, LA Noire has become my guilty pleasure in recent weeks. You control Detective Cole Phelps in LA tracking down murderers, arsonists and even serial killers by using your own intuition to find clues at crime scenes and piecing together the mystery by interviewing witnesses and people of interest. ou can actually decide the fate of the main chraracter, whether you want him promoted or demoted depending on the quality of your work in cases. The innovative Rockstar-esque features such as driving freely in the city or doing side missions are all included in this new installment which is a perfect follow up game after the success of Red Dead Redemption. Overall, this game does live up to the hype, whilst slow at times in the story line, it will keep you very entertained.
This is my opinion and many of you won't agree but this is what I think, everyone loves this game apart from me, I was so excited that they developed a new motion capture technique for this game and I couldn't wait to play it. So for what it's worth this is my review.
At first I was happy with the graphics but I was expecting a lot more from the facial recognition software being used for this game, it wasn't a lot different from many of the other games out there, I have also seen better environments in other games, there is not a lot more I can say about the graphics except they're OK.
This is what I was most disappointed with, I was expecting realism instead I got this stupid game play, one thing that was promised by this game is that the interviews between you and the criminal would be realistic, but it is far from it, instead if you get it wrong you just start from the beginning until you get it right which means this is not a challenge just stupid. As for the control system I struggled from the start, this comes from a seasoned gamer But this may be just me or maybe I just didn't give it A chance. I seem to be the only one who doesn't like this game.
All I can tell you is that I owned this game for a matter of hours before taking it back and trading in, but as I said I seem to be the only one who doesn't like this game so don't just take my word for it,you might like it, this might sound weird but I don't know why I don't like this game because I should do. I can't stress enough this is my opinion, not anyone else's just mine, so have a go you never know you might like it.
The television advert for LA Noire promises something new. It doesn't lie. The facial animations of the characters are beyond anything I have seen in any game. Even in-game, outside of a cut-scene, just when your character is walking along, they will be moving their face in reaction to the surroundings.
The gameplay itself is great. You start as Cole Phelps, arresting suspects and gathering evidence at the scenes of crimes. You then use the evidence to question the suspects and eventually deliver a verdict on whether or not the suspect is guilty.
Some may say that the collecting of evidence and questioning becomes tedious. I, however, did not find this, and instead found that, even at the very end of the game, I was marvelling at the wonderful animations and the fact that I was taking part in something completely new in the gaming world. This is a game not to be missed, it may well be a one-off.
The long anticipated LA Noire has finally hit the high streets, and the wait, it seems, has been very much worth it. A game that promised so much as certainly delivered, and is sure to be the start of a gaming evolution.
Firstly, the graphics. Summed up when I was told it was just like watching a film. From the big and detailed buildings, to the small matters such as peoples mouth moving to the words, everything seems so nearly perfect, as perfect as expected in this day of age. The promise of using real facial expressions is certainly evident, and need to be wisely assessed for any success in the game.
The gameplay itself is also very impressive. Not even 50% into the game yet, and I already feel I have had much value for money. The main missions are very in-depth, having to collect the timiest bits of evidence and notice the smallest of give aways from a persons facial expressions during questioning, making it the most realistic detective game of our time. There are plenty of action scenes for those who like a good car chase/gun fight. The little extra missions, solving little street crimes and finiding hidden cars and landmarks, provide some nice breaks from the storyline.
All in all, LA Noire is certainly going to be a front-runner for game of the year, and should start a wave of such in-depth games. It is one that will be copied, but not one that will be easily beaten.
Good detective games are far and few between. There are plenty of mediocre ones hanging around on the budget racks but few that are actually any good. There's the Phoenix Wright games which feature a fair bit of detective work, and the spin-off Ace Attorney Investigations which is entirely based around detective work and is a fantastic game in its own right. But now we have LA Noire a detective game which could be definitely be described as good. Alas, not great, but it's still a heck of a lot better than CSI licensed dross that keeps getting pumped out.
The game is set in Los Angeles in the forties and has you playing as up and coming detective Cole Phelps. The game is split into several sections, each section detailing your experiences as a patrolman, homicide detective, vice squad detective and arson investigator. Each section contains between three and six individual cases where you have to buckle down and do some detective work in order to find the perpetrators of various crimes.
Given that LA Noire is from Rockstar, creators of the Grand Theft Auto series, it's not surprising that you have the freedom to drive around Los Angeles as you please. You can't blow cars up, since you're supposed to be on the side of the law, but you can appropriate vehicles by flashing your badge at the car's driver. I took it upon myself to 'borrow' someone else's car whenever I needed to go anywhere. Which led to a few comedic situations - such as the time I turned up at a crime scene in a pick up truck with a couple of barrels of something foul knocking around on the back. And then proceeded to jump into the coroner's car and drive off in it - it's a small mercy there wasn't an actual body in the back. You don't have to drive to each scene yourself, though - you can have your partner drive, skipping most of the driving sections entirely.
Shenanigans aside, each case typically begins with you turning up at the crime scene and doing some poking around. More often than not, there's a body to examine, as well as a variety of other clues that may be hidden around the crime scene. The game provides musical clues as to when you've got more work to do, and when the crime scene music stops you know you've found every item there is at a crime scene. The same applies when you're nosing around another location such as someone's apartment. This being the forties, you don't have any CSI style techno-wizardy to do. Which is probably a good thing, as CSI is largely science-fiction anyway, despite it's modern setting. Although Grissom et all would probably be mortified to see you handling murder weapons and so forth with your bare hands.
Another other significant part of carrying out an investigation is interviewing people, be they suspects, witnesses or whatever. Whether you're interviewing them at their home, the crime scene or back at the station, the procedure is the same. You ask them something and they'll reply, all the information being stored in your handy notebook. You can then say whether you think they're telling the truth, whether you doubt them, or whether you think they're lying. If you think they're lying you have to back your accusation up with a piece of evidence or a witness statement or something. You can often tell when people are lying because of their body language - one character, for example bites her lip when telling a lie.
And one the cool things about LA Noire is that while most of the game's graphics are simply okay, the facial animation system excels. The characters faces are really expressive, due to some kind of special face mapping technique the designers used. The last time I saw faces this expressive was in Forbidden Siren for the Playstation 2 - although in that case, the designers just projected film footage of the actors onto a flat 2D surface, which meant they looked creepy rather than convincing. LA Noire's approach on the other hand, works really well, and adds to the game's atmosphere - not that the game would be a dud without that.
While LA Noire doesn't lead you by the hand through each case, the game is actually fairly linear. Certain locations are only accessible once the game decides they should be. I'm not talking about discovering that a location exists - because while it's true that some clues you find unlock locations straight away, there are others that don't give you access to locations until you've completed some other task first. There are also locations that you'd think you'd be able to visit but which you can't. I appreciate that the programmers had to be able to take control of the story but it's still mildly frustrating.
Rockstar deserve kudos for creating stories that are not only compelling but also sometimes surprising. And best of all, you actually feel something for the tragic victims of the crimes you investigate. Aside from sniffing out clues, you also get to chase down suspects, get into gunfights and follow cars. There are typically one or two of these short action sequences. Handily, the game gives you the option to skip them if you fall flat on your face too many times, so you can get on with the detective work. But they're not too hard anyway, so it's unlikely you'll find yourself frustrated by these sequences. It's worth sticking with them to the bitter end.
Speaking of which, one of the problems I have with LA Noire is that once you eventually finish the game there's no real reason to go back to it. Yes, you can replay the cases but given how linear they are nothing is going to change much. I rented LA Noire and while I enjoyed playing it, I've no urge to play through it again. I suspect Rockstar will be releasing more downloadable content for the game, but once again, once you've bought a particular downloadable case and finished it, you're stuck with something you won't want to play through twice. There are a couple of downloadable cases already - and this highlighted a weird problem I encountered playing LA Noire. At the beginning of one chapter, a character bemoaned the fate of a certain person who I'd never heard of. I looked that person up on the LA Noire wiki and found out that character only featured in a downloadable case that I didn't have. This was either a glitch, or a sneaky ploy to get me to buy the new DLC. It didn't work, by the way.
All in all, LA Noire is a pretty good game. While I still prefer Ace Attorney Investigations, LA Noire does a superb job of recreating the atmosphere of noir style detective and police movies and being entertaining with it. It's a joy to play, although don't count on wanting to play it again once you've finished it. LA Noire is definitely a game to rent and enjoy.
(review by me, also posted on Freeola)
There's been plenty of hype and chatter around the new Rockstar game LA Noire in recent weeks. The critics gave it rave reviews and thoroughly good reports all round and you can easily see why. However, I'm not jumping on the "LA Noire is amazing" bandwagon. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad game, but it could have been so much more.
I just completed the game in just over a week. It was, admittedly, quite lengthy and an average gamer would probably spend longer with it. Which is certainly a good thing. Too many games these days cater to the ADHD generation and their need for a quick fix. Classic games like Call of Duty, that used to take months to complete are now over in a matter of hours and leave you feeling both exhausted and bemused, but LA Noire has stuck firmly to the GTA design - lengthy and absorbing. LA Noire however, is not another GTA clone. In fact, it's not even actually made by Rockstar. It was developed by Team Bondi, an Australian design company who were apparently responsible for The Getaway (a classic btw). So, although it looks like GTA and has some of the elements we know and love, it is not GTA. No, LA Noire is a very slightly different monkey.
It's no Grand Theft Auto
The story of LA Noire is a simple one. You play Cole Phelps, an officer of the law in 1940's Los Angeles. An ex-marine, officer Phelps has returned from the war in the Pacific fighting the Japanese to a 'normal' life as an LA police officer. You stalk the mean streets of LA, solving crimes and leaving a trail of body bags in your wake. The main differences between LA Noire and GTA are immediately obvious. You're not there to do whatever you want, shooting up the place, smashing up cars and generally causing a nuisance. No, you're there to stop crime and be a good boy. So, you better drive carefully and avoid mowing down innocent civilians or you'll soon find your record looking a bit shoddy. You can't just pull out your gun and wave it around willy-nilly either. No, Team Bondi will have none of that naughtiness, you're going to be a good cop, whether you like it or not.
So yes, as you can see, it's already sounding pretty restrictive. Go from A to B (driving bloody carefully to get there), find clues at B, drive carefully to C, accuse suspect of crime and make arrest. I'm dumbing it down a bit, but not much to be honest. Unlike GTA, there isn't much you can actually do outside of the main storyline in LA Noire. There are "street crimes" that need solving and these pop up as you drive about, but even they are specific set-pieces which I can't help but feel they could have done more with. There are hidden items scattered around the game - cars, newspapers, film reels, but unless you have OCD and feel the need to complete every challenge and achievement in a game, you probably wont care and it won't add anything to the value. It certainly didn't for me. Even a 'hidden' 1940's car is still a 1940's car. Don't expect 1000hp and nitros to go tearing around the LA streets with. Besides which, you're mostly better off sticking with your police car so you have the sirens to get people out of the way and the radio to find other street crimes (there's only 40 anyway).
No, the main selling point of LA Noire is not the sandbox style of play you've come to know and love from GTA but the innovations in facial mapping and graphics.
Truth or Dare
LA-Noire-Tech4The thing that has everyone excited about LA Noire is the way they've used technology to put actors into the game. You can see why people are excited, it is pretty innovative and very impressive. You'll spy actors you recognise, remarkably rendered and reformed in the game world. And the faces truly are fantastic (can't say the same for the hands, bodies and movement though). The idea behind this is simple, you're going to solve crime by deciding whether someone is lying based on their facial expressions, eye-movement and facial twitches.
When investigating a crime, Cole Phelps will naturally have to question both witnesses and suspects to decide whodunnit. And that's what this game essentially is. A virtual whodunnit. And no, it wasn't the butler in the parlour with the candlestick.
When talking to people, you have three options to choose from based on their answers to your questions. Truth, doubt or lie. Seems straightforward enough, but what you'll soon learn is that you can't accuse someone of lying without some proof to back it up. So you better make sure you thoroughly investigate the scene before you start questioning anyone. You can find clues by vibrations in the controller and audio cues from the game (a ping). Not everything is relevant, but a blood stained knife in a bin might be a helpful clue as to what really happened. Once you have the evidence, you can start probing the witnesses.
The thing I found on first play through is everyone looks guilty. Even when they haven't done anything wrong. This can make the truth, doubt or lie guessing game a bit frustrating. I suppose people probably do look a bit uncomfortable when talking to the police though, so it's a fair representation. To start with, I got most of the questions wrong and was accusing everyone of being a liar even when they weren't. Then I realised you need the evidence to back up a lie, so in most cases (unless you have the proof) it's either doubt or truth. So what initially feels like investigative freedom, is actually far more restricted. It is logical though, the law is innocent until proven guilty after all, the burden of proving the crime is on you. Of course there is always 'intuition' - a sort of six sense you can use to either find more clues or cut down on the potential answers to your questions. Using it will (for example) leave you to pick between two options instead of three (out of truth, doubt or lie). This might help or it might not, but intuition points are limited and you can only earn more by climbing the ranks.
This whole element of the game is truthfully quite well done. The faces are excellent and when I saw the actor John Noble (who plays Walter Bishop in Fringe) portraying one of the bad-guys I had to take a snap on my phone and send it to my wife. The likenesses are excellent because it is literally them - recorded and manipulated into the gaming world. Their voices, their faces, their expressions and mannerisms, all in pixelated form. Magnificent. Trying to decipher who is lying and who isn't is fun. But I do have some complaints. The number of questions you can ask a suspect or witness is restricted, usually to just two or three questions and what you can ask is also limited. There isn't much choice here and frankly I feel that an RPG style question and answer style might have been better. I'm also sure that genuine LA police officers would ask more than just two questions of a potential murder suspect.
Climbing the ranks
Anyway, you start off as a lowly traffic cop and work your way through various departments, solving cases and making a name for yourself. Homicide squad finds you investigating the Black Dahlia murders, which is certainly a nice edge to the storyline. While Vice and Arson have their own interesting cases, most of which seem to lead to one big conspiracy. I don't want to spoil the story for you, but I wouldn't have to anyway, as the main story is quite obvious after getting about half way through the game. This is a bit frustrating, with cut-scenes and extra 'back story' videos you find in the game, you - the player, know what's going on before your character does and I started to feel like I was just going through the motions before I could arrest the big fish, which was annoying. But that's detective work I suppose.
Doing well in the game - getting questions right, finding clues, avoiding causing too much damage to your car, pedestrians or the city, earns you points and rank. Rank earns you new suits. Some of these suits have perks - like being able to take more damage or shoot straighter, but otherwise are just ways to make your character look nice. There's no pimping your man here. You can't just go shopping for new threads, you have to earn them.
Good cop, bad cop
I can't help but feel that LA Noire could have been so much more. A little more freedom would have been nice. The chance perhaps, to choose a path for your character as well. Corruption was rife at that time and Team Bondi obviously wanted you to be good, but I really think giving the player the choice could have been a welcome addition. You should have the option to go Serpico on the LA Police department or start lining your pockets with cash from dead stiffs and shaking people down. These elements (if they existed) could have effected the storyline and how people reacted to your character. That would have worked really well with the interview/interrogation elements the game is famous for and is a point the designers missed completely.
Having said all that, LA Noire is still an excellent game. It packs a punch in the graphics department and will hopefully make other designers up their game. You do feel like you're immersed in a film a lot of the time and the interactive nature makes it thoroughly enjoyable. I would recommend it to friends, but don't expect to be blown away like everyone else is promising.
I bought LA Noire because of the Rockstar heritage with the GTA series, and indeed, it's easy to see it as the 'good guy' version of GTA. You are Cole Phelps, an ex war hero starting as a rookie cop. As soon as the game starts, you're called to your first murder case as a rookie. The controls are fluid and easy, and any GTA player will feel immediately at home. Unlike GTA, you're expected to be a good cop. Running over pedestrians is frowned upon, and it seems to require a higher standard of driving - jumping a red light while tailing a suspect can easily alert him to your presence.
As a 1940's detective, your work involves a lot of driving to locations. Thankfully, you always have a partner, and you can get him to drive instead if you just want to press ahead with the action. At the crime scene, you look around, gathering as much evidence as you can. Here is perhaps one of the downsides of the game - there are a number of things you can look at, but sometimes things you think you should be able to look at, you can't. Small details like that cause the game to feel a little too penned in. Equally, there's a degree of inconsistency in the real world objects - some drainpipes you can climb, others you can't. The same goes for walls - you can jump them at one point, but a little further away you can't jump a wall of the same height.
Once your clues are gathered, it gets interesting. You need to go and question people, and this is where Rockstars new MotionScan technology comes into its own. Basically, this means that when a character talks, you see the actual lip movements and facial expressions made by the actor. This makes the whole thing feel more 'real', and blurs the edges between the cut scenes and the game further. It also means you can base your reactions to someone's response on their body language or facial expression, which can be far more subtle than an entirely computer-generated expression.
For each response, you need to decide whether the response is truthful, a lie, or doubtful. If you accuse someone of lying, you're going to need evidence to back that up, and a lot of the skill element of the game is pairing the right piece of evidence to rebuke a response given by a witness or a suspect. You also earn 'intuition' points, which can help you over the course of the game by giving you game-show style options such as 'Ask the Community', which tells you what decisions other people gave to the same question, and 'Remove an incorrect option', which is fairly self-explanatory.
During the course of your work, you'll often hear calls for assistance over the radio. These are optional sub-missions which you can choose to ignore, but you may well find something useful at them.
One thing that GTA fans will miss is the free-roaming world which has largely disappeared in LA Noire. Sure, you can still choose to drive around as much as you like, and there's plenty to find, but the storyline is far more linear - there's much less opportunity to have 3-4 missions waiting for you to choose from. There's also no multiplayer, which given the beautifully detailed city available as a playground, is a shame.
Nonetheless, LA Noire is a fantastic game, and one that will easily swallow up hours of your life without a thought. It draws inspiration from a number of sources, but can't really be compared to any - it's a totally new angle. The best I can come up with is a "GTA4, but with more brains".