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You may be wondering what L.A. Noire is. Well your not the only ones, when I first saw this game, I had no idea what it was about either!
Well, L.A. Noire is a dark and violent crime thriller that will make your spine chill.
Set against the backdrop of 1940's Los Angeles, L.A. Noire blends the breathtaking action of chases and shootouts with true detective work such as criminal interrogations and clue finding. Officer Cole Phelps embarks on an action - packed adventure in the desperate search for truth in a city where evrybody has something to hide.
So join the newly - minted officer on his journey and gradually make your way up through the ranks by showing outstanding police work. 'But it'll be hard, trust me!'
The game can be purchased for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 or PC
L.A. Noire was produced by rockstar Games which are by far the most greatest game producers ever!
The game is only 1 player, Takes up 300KB to save, HDTV 720P / 1080i / 1080P, In game Dolby Digital and
Game content available for download.
Please note that: L.A. Noire contains very strong language, strong violence, sex references and nudity and is only suitable for persons 18 and over!
My personal experience with this world famous game:
The great thing about this game is that it was put through hell in it's design and development stages. However, it was still brought onto the gaming market and surprisingly, it was a common favourite. It is also a very sucessful game!
Another great and tremendous thing about this epic game is that it lets the player interact and engage with the game by letting by letting you examine bodies, possible murder weapons and many different and interesting locations.
It not only lets you see and feel what being a professional detective is like but it also allows you to see what 1940's America was like 'Crime Wise'.
I particularly like the part when you are involved within a vicious and violent gunfight not forgetting the face to face fights too.
So there you have it! I hope I have drawn your full attention towards this thrilling game and I definitely hope you go out and buy it and experience the great things that are involved within professional detective work whether it be in the 1940's or modern detective work.
I purchased my copy from Argos but I'm sure many other retailers including online retailers such Ebay and Amazon will have these products available for you to purchase!
Thank you very very much for reading my review and do hope you have enjoyed reading it too!
After purchasing this game a few months ago, I finally took it out of my library to play, and I'm sure glad I did because this is a very addictive and fun game!
L.A. Noire takes places in Los Angeles, California, during the late 1940's. You take the role of Cole Phelps, a detective in the police force. You always have a partner, but they change depending on how far you are in the game and how many times you have been promoted. The idea of the game is pretty simple. Each chapter you have to solve a crime. You are debriefed in the beginning by your superior, and given a lead to go on. You go to investigate the crime scene, and acquire more leads to go on. It is your job to search the scene for clues, as they aren't always obvious. What I like about the clue searching is that the game allows you to leave the scene if you miss certain clues, so it's up to you to make sure you search EVERYTHING. To me, this is much more exciting and challenging than when a game doesn't let you go off screen until you find anything. This challenge really makes you focus on every detail and play the game as it was meant to be played.
Interviewing and interrogating people are also a big part of the game, which highlights the main bragging point of this game, the facial analysis. The programmers used new technology to use multiple cameras to analyze the actor's face, and can see every facial move they use. When you interrogate people, you can decide if they are telling the truth, doubt them, or call them out on a lie. Watching their facial expressions is the key to solving a crime.
Driving is a pretty big part of this game. There is a large map of the city to give you directions, which is helpful. To me, the driving part is very tedious. The nice thing is that if you hold down the "Y" button next to a car, your partner will drive. This is great because you don't see anything, and just show up at your next planned destination. This is a great time saver and really keeps the plot flowing. I don't suggest doing "auto-pilot" every time though, because on some of your drive scenes, you can do side quests that help you rank up.
There are some action scenes in the game where you have to run down some criminals. This is pretty fun, but nothing too spectacular. Sometimes you can use your gun, sometimes you can't. The action scenes are fun because they add another aspect to the game.
Overall, this is a really fun an addictive game. The story line is intriguing, and really makes you want to continue playing. The game feels a little repetitious after a while, but I think it's still worth going along for the ride. There's a total of 1500 achievement points, and a lot of them happen through normal gameplay
The British games developers Rockstar know how to make a good game, even if they are all set in the US, and LA Noire is no exception.
The game puts you in the shoes of a rookie detective working his way up the ranks of the 1950s LA police force, by solving crimes, collecting evidence and questioning criminaly, not to mention driving around a beautifully designed historically accurate LA map, that is huge, in beautiful classic cars.
The game play can become slow at times, especially when you have to drive for 15 minutes to get to a crime scene. However the storylines are very engaging and the constant cameos from actors you recognise from the TV is entertaining, the character you play is played by an actor who stars in Mad Men. There are a few gruesome bits and you have to really test your patience when questioning the suspects because often it will take multiple tries to get the information you need, and sometimes they wont give it to you at all.
The play is broken up by optional random police missions which involve shoot outs and action, but the bread and butter of the game is slow methodical police work, which is an interesting change. Its a very refreshing concept for a game, and a great start though it could be improved as it is boring in parts and immensely difficult in others, which can be good if your up for a challenge.
All in all a really great game, but we will have to wait for something even better out of rockstar next time for a possible sequel!
Bought to you by Rockstar Games, you will have heard of them if you have ever played a Grand Theft Auto game, the only way this is similar is in themes and game style.
Rather than perpetrating the crimes, you're solving them; building yourself from a flat foot beat copper, to a well known detective.
Something that makes this game a cut above anything you may have played in recent years is that the characters in the game are animated realistically. They are based on real actors, every line of the face, every mole, blemish, and wrinkle represented in near perfect graphics. There are a large number of well known actors who modelled for the game. The facial technology that went into bringing these guys to life is incredible, and you will see for yourself when you buy it, that it really is fantastic how they have caught every minor detail, swallow, twitch and represented it in the game.
The game really draws it's plots from the film noir genre of films, a popular genre back in the mid 1900s, with themes such as murder, crime, sex and morality. Visually, it nods it's head to the style of the films too.
You play as Cole Phelps, a WW2 veteran who joins the police force. As you progress through the game, flash backs envelop him which explains how the decisions he makes are influenced by his past.
He starts off on the traffic desk, which is the small time, and gradually becomes the golden boy who works his way up to bigger cases. Such cases you will investigate are ones like the infamous Black Dahlia murder.
When I played it, I felt like the further he progressed into his career, the darker his life became, and the more good he tried to do, the seedier his actions became.
When you're a little bit tired of flat footing it about, you can take a casual drive around. Sometimes you might come across a crime in progress, and an adrenaline fuelled chase ensues across LA.
The interrogation is brilliant. I truly felt like a real detective, trying to gather information or get someone to confess to a crime. It's like playing a game of poker. You have to watch them like a hawk, as previously mentioned, because their unconscious facial movements will lead you to making your decisions as to whether they are telling the truth or not. You will usually always end up at the right conclusion for each case, but if your interrogation skills aren't top notch, you end up getting a mouthful from your boss, but you're still the department wonder boy, so he can't care that much lol. And you honestly feel frustrated by the end of it too. Sometimes it's not entirely obvious whether someone is lying or not.
Now, this game isn't a Michael Bay game. You won't find explosions and boobies galore. There is action, in the form of shootouts and chases, and there are ladies who would like to find out whether that really is a gun in your pocket or whether you are just happy to see them; just in moderation.
Game length wise, it's pretty decent. I think there are something like four cases per department you work in, and I think there are four or five departments you go through, and each case is reasonably long. Obviously, as you start the game, the cases are short to get you into the swing of things, but as you go, there is much more investigating to do, and many more people to go to talk to.
In short, the game is like playing a really good 1940's detective tv drama, clothes, cars, shop fronts, even characters attitudes and feelings are what I think would be spot on. I feel that the way things are handled, are exactly as things would have been done back then.
It's not a game you can finish in a day. It's got a reasonably slow pace at times, and I think this will probably trip people up and annoy them, but the game does require a certain need to slow down and think about things
Set in a post WWII Los Angeles, LA Noire puts the player in the well polished shoes of Cole Phelps, a WWII veteran who has recently joined the LAPD and quickly makes a name for himself. It's not long before Phelps finds himself investigating grizzly murders that take place across the city of angels.
LA Noire is a one of a kind in terms of genre and something that most would no expect to be published by Rockstar games. Rockstar are known for their lush, open world shooters in which the player can go anywhere and do anything, LA Noire is unfortunately not the same type of dog. Instead the game keeps a focus directly on the storyline and as a officer of the LAPD you can't go around shooting people and taking cars. Instead you can commandeer vehicles while drawing your pistol is only available when completing a mission.
Fans of the Grand Theft Auto series that were hoping for a "more of the same" vibe with LA Noire would be highly disappointed that this isn't the open world they were hoping for. But while LA Noire isn't Grand Theft Auto, it does an amazing job of what it has set out to do. Engrossing the player in a seedy underworld where murderers walk the streets and cops take a blind eye for a payout, you'll find yourself heavily invested in every case you take up.
Helping you crack each case is the facial capture technology which is able to take an actors face and put it directly into the game. This is a big part of the game as it's heavily relied upon on telling whether the suspect is telling the truth or not. You've to watch for facial ticks, seeming anxiety or an all round feeling of being uncomfortable to seek the truth from the facade.
For the most part you're stuck in corridor and are constantly being forced down a single, story driven path. But on route to said investigations you can also pick up side missions in the form of an APB (all-points bulletin). These little distractions usually take no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete and for the most part feel almost unnecessary. You'll rarely find yourself invested in the nutjob that just killed someone right in front of you or the two gangs that decided to have a war in the middle of the town.
Overall LA Noire does a good job of engrossing players into the world, but with so little else to be done in LA, the re-playability is almost a zero. LA Noire gets 3.8/5
LA Noire has been long in the depths of development hell. Announced back in 2005 as a PS3 Exclusive, under the publishing wings of Sony, it was picked up by Rockstar and spread around to 360 and recently PC. Usually when a game stooges around for that long in development, it can mean one of two things. Either it ends up being incredibly polished, due to the amount of time it's been in the making, or it ends up a complete disjointed mess as it jumps around from studio to studio...*cough, Duke Nukem Forever, cough*. But thankfully, LA Noire manages to avoid the latter, with compelling cases, a large city to play with and memorable interrogations.
You play the role of Cole Phelps, an LAPD detective who starts on the Patrol Desk. After a few missions, you are promoted to the rank of Traffic. From here, you work your way up (and in one case, down) through the ranks of the police force, completing cases for each desk. You go through Traffic, Arson, Homicide and Vice, and each case pits you with a different partner. Throughout each mission, you find traces of Phelps' involvement in World War II, and how the events that took place there have after-effects on what is happening now. Many twists, turns, bumps and shocks come your way through the game, though the general story is somewhat jarring because a majority of each desk is spent solving cases which don't tie to the main story. But the final desk is completely engaging, with each case playing an important part. You become attached to Phelps and many other characters, which mean it hurts when some characters stab Phelps in the back. The ending is completely tragic, and a sad end to an amazing story.
So as stated, you move through the game via the different sections of the police. You start in Patrol, which serves as the game's tutorial missions in essence, and there is no impact in making mistakes at this point. However, after this point, each case grades you on a rating from 1 to 5 stars. Make the right choices in questioning, find all the clues on each crime scene and don't arrest the wrong man, and you should be home safe with 5 stars. But, you can also lose stars for driving recklessly, and destroying property or harming civilians. You can be the best detective in the world, but drive like a moron and you'll shop yourself with 4 stars instead of 5. But there's no real penalty for getting less than 5, other than losing out on an achievement and 100% Game Completion.
The cases vary depending on which desk you sit at. Traffic is vehicle related accidents, Homicide is straight up murder, Vice is relating to drugs (and specifically surplus morphine found on multiple victims) and Arson is fire-related crimes. Each case usually starts with you examining the body, and searching nearby areas for clues. Once then, you are free to conduct your investigation however you choose. Obviously finding clues in the area will help you attain a 5* rating, but you can pretty much get to the conclusion skipping half the clues. Obviously, you probably won't get anywhere without finding key clues to give you leads, but there is a lot of freedom in how you conduct yourself in the cases of LA Noire. At some points, you even have choice on which suspect you want to charge.
What makes LA Noire engaging is that you'll want to find every clue possible. It's incredibly satisfying to discover a key piece of evidence, and later use it in questioning. Because as you go through the game, you'll come across key people who are lying to you. In fact, I'm pretty sure I only met a couple of people in the game's entirety that weren't concealing something. When you ask a person your question, 3 key responses will come up - truth, doubt and lie. Truth just means they aren't hiding anything, doubt is when you feel they're lying but have no physical proof, and lie is when you bring in hard evidence to get the truth out of them. The game doesn't let you try again if you mess up, so you must choose wisely for face penalties on your case rank.
You do have some aid for you though in the form of intuition points. These are acquired when you level up. Levelling up comes after you complete questioning, finish cases and more. When you level up you gain intuition points. These can be used for a variety of things. In a crime scene, you can reveal all the clues in the area, meaning you won't miss any key items. And in questioning, you can use it to either remove one of the options, meaning you only have to choose from two of the three choices or 'ask the community', which basically gives you a percentage on what people have used in the past, meaning most likely it's that option. You do have to work for intuition points, so they don't feel like a cheap way of revealing the game to you, but it's nice to have an option if one case is completely boggling your mind.
Though LA Noire is primarily an adventure game, in a way, as you play detective trying to find the clues to the case, there are other elements to LA Noire. Most prevalent will be driving. As you are clued in to your next location, you can either opt to drive yourself or have your partner drive for you. The latter is good if you're a lousy driver and don't want to rack up penalties in damage. There's a huge amount of perfectly replicated 1940's cars to choose from, including varieties of police cars, sport cars and even ambulance trucks if you feel obligated. The cars handle very well, though due to the period cars feel pretty darn slow, but that's to be expected.
You will also have to engage in varieties of combat situations. You will gain access to fire arms, including pistols, shotguns, BARs and even a flame thrower specific to the last level. The shooting uses an auto-aim system not too uncommon from GTA IV, and combat is pretty straight forward. One cool aspect is that instead of health meters, you take visible damage on Phelps and the screen starts to turn black and white. It adds a nice level of immersion. You also have fist fights, where the game uses a button-bashing system with A to punch, X to dodge and Y to grapple. Pretty straightforward too, and most enemies are cake. You may also have to pursuit suspects, and you can stop them in multiple ways. You can fire a warning shot by aiming your gun long enough to fill the aiming reticule white, try and catch up to them and tackle them to the ground, or they may stop anyways and knock you out in the process by hiding around a corner.
LA Noire isn't really a sandbox game in the sense that you don't free-roam during cases really. You can, but then you can't do anything destructive unless you want to face penalty. However, once you finish each desk of the game, you can then enter a 'Streets of LA' free-roam session. In these, you can do as you please. There are a variety of collectables to be found in the big city. There are 95 individual cars to find and drive, 50 Golden Film Reels to collect and 30 Landmarks located around the City of Angels. These all contribute to a 100% Game Completion, along with completing the cases with 5 stars. If you can pull it off, you can pretty much earn all the game's Gamerscore/Trophies.
LA Noire is extremely good value for money. The game is splashed across 3 discs, and unlike Rage, it's definitely content over technology. The main missions take about 20 hours to do, and gaining all the collectables in Free Roam will take a good amount of time too. If you're done with that, there are also 4 more downloadable cases to chew into. A Slip of the Tongue puts you in Traffic where a big theft racket is exposed, The Naked City revolves around the murder of a young fashion model, Reefer Madness has you discovering a city-wide Marijuana ring from the tip of a snitch and Nicholson Electroplating has you investigating an explosive which is on the scale of a nuclear bomb. You can pick up all these packs and more for about 1600 MSP, or you can buy them separate for about 320 points each. It's very good value for money considering it adds a good six or so hours of gameplay from all four cases. Unfortunately, don't expect any more content as Team Bondi, the studio behind LA Noire, has been closed.
One of the coolest things about LA Noire is its high-tech use of motion capture. You'll notice quickly that the face of Cole Phelps also has the face of Aaron Staton, whom you may recognise from Mad Men on TV. There are a few other characters you may recognise from their real-life counter parts, and every single character has been mo-capped in the game. It's a bit strange, and sometimes the lips can become blurry, but this is a very cool and well executed idea. Granted, this doesn't make LA Noire the prettiest game. Though the faces are real almost, the hair on these character's is usually blurry and pixelated. The game also struggles to keep running at a constant clip, with a lot of frame rate stutters in tight situations. Thankfully, the City of LA is, though not perfect, recreated very well. You'll obviously see the historic Egyptian Theatre, as well as many landmarks, and Bondi are so confident they got it right that when you see a Landmark you can hold B and take a picture of it.
Sound is stellar in LA Noire. The voice work, as mentioned, has famous and less famous actors suck as Staton, and it is all good. It combines very well with the mo-cap to help characters become very easy to attach yourself to. The game uses a piano key to let you know if you've successful or unsuccessfully questioned a person, fitting in and helping players through their story. The music is a selection of upbeat classics played in this era, which complement the driving pretty well. In those tense scenes, sweeping orchestral music takes its place, making for much better brands of atmospheric music. The guns sound good enough, though a couple of them feel pretty weak. The fist-fights hit hard though.
Overall, LA Noire stands out as a highlight of 2011. It's a very engaging game - whether it's finding every clue in the case, experiencing what happens at each twist and turn with these almost human-like characters or just roaming the streets of LA, taking in the sights and responding to any crimes reported over the radio. Its use of motion capture is awesome, though the rest of the graphics somewhat fall short. But LA Noire is engaging, great value for money especially as it is around £20 these days, and a mighty production. If you love some detective work to take up a lot of your time, look no further than this.
When I decided to buy L.A Noire I was dubious. Rockstar are the brains behind the Grand Theft Auto games and even though this one is set in a different era you still feel the sense of satisfaction as you did running around endless streets jacking cars and putting your foot to the floor.
L.A Noire seperates itself away from the 'violent sandbox' game Grand Theft Auto became known for.
The game is set in 1940's in Los Angeles and has you playing as LAPD Police Officer Cole Phelps, who later advances from being a uniformed police officer to Traffic, Homicide, Vice and Arson. The game itself ties elements of sandbox with mystery and crime (think GTA meets CSI).
Personally if you enjoy sandbox games with plenty to see and do then you'll most probably enjoy this. Team Bondi and Rockstar have made a enjoyable game and even swapping over the three dics isn't really that much of a chore. What you get are brilliant plots, twists and drama. The only con to this game I can comment on is the fact you have three discs which is really no big deal. For all the time you're sitting down glued to the game it's nice to be able to take a toilet break and stretch your legs.
If you want a game that has a long play life then this is worth spending money on.
== L.A. NOIRE ==
L.A. Noire is a 2011 dark crime video game for the Xbox 360. The game is published by Rockstar who are most famous for their GTA series of games. The game is also developed by Team Bondi. L.A. Noire is a little similar to the GTA games with the style of free roaming around the city but this game does feature a lot more variety especially in the missions. L.A. Noire on the Xbox 360 is 3 discs which can be a little annoying because of the need to swap the discs after finishing each one where as on the PS3 its only 1 disc. The downside of not having the ability of Blu-ray for Xbox. L.A. Noire is of course set in Los Angeles but way back in 1947 and to be fair this put me off the game for a long time because i'm not a big fan of games set in the past. I would much rather play a game set in the unrealistic future. However after starting to play it more often it grew on me really fast and it works really well in my opinion. The game has a lot of great points about the game. Read on for more info.
=== THE STORY ===
L.A. Noire has been really well worked on especially with the story. It is simply brilliant and the story is one of the best to feature in a game. The story is really compelling and certainly drags you in. One of my favourite parts to the game is how the story is brought forward. You take the role as a Los Angeles Police Department Detective called Cole Phelps. Cole joins the LAPD because of what happened in his past in World War II. At first you don't know what has gone on but as you progress you learn the truth. Now Cole Phelps is a police detective and must solve crime in the streets of Los Angeles. Help Cole solve mysterious murders and other crimes in this thrilling, chilling and very brutal video game. There are numerous missions which all have a little storyline to them to enjoy.
=== GAMEPLAY ===
L.A. Noire has some very intriguing gameplay. You only play as Cole Phelps in the game and at first before I bought the game I actually thought he was a boring character from the previews and trailers but he is actually a really interesting and strong character to play. As Cole Phelps you have to do your missions that are assigned to you and work your way through the ranks in the LAPD. The game plays very much like a Grand Theft Auto (GTA) game with the layout of the city but obviously L.A. Noire is set in 1947. You can go around and explore the city looking for crime. Walk up to people driving show your badge and take their cars. Every so often street crime appears and you have the choice of going to tackle this crime and bring the perpetrator to justice. These side missions are great and can pop up almost anytime when your driving to your proper main mission. The side missions are really good and there are a total of 40 street crime missions to tackle. Most are easy and they start off fairly small and simple but as you get further into these missions they seem to last longer and involve more variety and get a little harder.
I love the main story missions because they involve you doing so much different things. For example most missions would involve doing things like driving to certain places, looking for clues, questioning victims and witnesses, chasing suspects on foot and in car or even shoot outs with enemies. I love all of these things especially when your chasing down a suspect on foot because sometimes it will lead into them giving up or trying to kill you. Also when you question people you are given three options. You can believe what they say, doubt what they say or tell them they are lying. However you must be cautious and watch there every movement because its always best to pick the correct option. Choosing the wrong options can lead to the failure of missions or false information. The best thing is the fact you have to watch the people your questioning especially their face to work out if there telling the truth or not. There facial expressions tell you everything you need to know. There are so many options available for each thing you do. Your detective roles come into play and you must search very thoroughly to find clues on who committed the crimes.
L.A. Noire is brilliant for gameplay features even though you can only play the one game mode and it doesn't feature any kind of multiplayer modes or online options. There is enough in the game to suit almost everyone's needs. There are a lot of different buildings in the city that can be entered but most of them come into play as you take on the missions. Along with objects and other bits to pick up and inspect some of them are useless and are only there to fool you. Cole Phelps has a notebook which you will use frequently in the game. You can use this to set destinations on your map to help you find your way. You can also use this to go over case notes and other bits and bobs. Other bits in the game you can do are things like fight hand to hand combat which works tremendously well especially the way you can duck your enemies attacks and counter them with your own. Plus the way your attacks make contact is brilliantly done. L.A. Noire is certainly one of the better games for gameplay features and it certainly is enjoyable.
=== GRAPHICS & SOUND EFFECTS ===
What can I say about the graphics? They are simply breathtaking. I have to say that L.A. Noire is the most beautiful game I have ever seen in my life so far to date. The best thing about it is all of the character in the game are superbly designed but the facial expressions they make are phenomenal. You have to pay close attention most of the time. Even when characters are talking and the mood there in really shows from this. Even the buildings in the city are perfectly designed for a game set in 1947 its really impressive. The only little downside to the graphics are the design of the cars but to be fair its probably because its set in 1947. I did like the way the day changes into night which is pretty much perfect and also the game rarely has any glitches which is very impressive. Overall I love the graphics and the main reason is because of the facial expressions.
The sound to the game is also really good. All the characters are voiced so there's no writing to read. The shooting sound effects that come into play a lot is fantastic and it certainly livens the game up. The music is a little disappointing and did get on my nerves quite a lot especially the radio that's in the cars because the music is obviously old and in my eyes has no class. I love the sound effects overall especially when your running after suspects or driving after them. The sound effects are great and almost as good as the graphics to the game!
=== DIFFICULTY & LONGEVITY ===
To be fair I feel the game could of been a little harder as well as longer. The controls to the game are fairly simple but the fighting controls are a little tricky because fights don't come too often. When I got in a fight later in the game I could hardly remember what the controls were due to the length of not having a fight. Other controls are great and easily remembered. I think the game overall is fairly simple. The hardest part of the game is probably interrogating the suspects and so on. Either that or some of the side missions that can cause a few problems. I didn't really find the game at all difficult and feel most gamers will crack this in no time as well.
The length of the game sound fantastic doesn't it? 3 discs...wow! Okay this is the biggest let down of all. 3 discs and I expected a good 50 hours worth of gameplay but in fact your looking at 15 hours tops. I found myself on disc 3 of the game after only about 6 or 7 hours. This is extremely poor for a game like this and for a 3 disc game. Although the game is small it is worth replaying because its a lot of fun and beautiful. I think the 3 discs is because of the beautiful graphics. Overall the game is fairly simple just not as long as I would of liked.
=== ACHIEVEMENTS ===
L.A. Noire has a total of 60 achievements which is absolutely fantastic. Most of the achievements in the game are easily gotten by doing certain missions or so many missions. Others include finding certain clues or solving certain things. The achievements on the game are really varied which is great and they certainly take a while to get them all. 60 is the perfect amount for this type of game.
=== PROS ===
*The game features some chilling and thrilling cases and missions.
*Some beautifully detailed things in the game like the characters.
*60 achievements and you can play the game and rarely get bored of it.
*The game can be picked up for a reasonable amount.
*Lots of variety with solving, fighting, shooting and driving in the game.
=== CONS ===
*No multiplayer options.
*The game is far too short and was a little easy for me.
*Some of the music in the game lacks any real quality.
*I thought the controls were a little dodgy sometimes with the fights.
*3 discs is pointless and it should be bigger.
=== FINAL THOUGHT ===
L.A. Noire is a fantastic crime game and in my opinion its a mix between GTA and CSI but without the modern day technology and the updated vehicles. I really enjoyed playing this game because of the variety and the stunning graphics. Its definitely something different and new.
I would recommend the game because its enjoyable and I feel it has enough in it to make other enjoy the game as well. Even though its not a massive game it can still be replayed and different things can happen. If your a fan of the GTA and CSI games then this would be perfect for your because its got a bit of each mixed in. Also if you like games such as The Godfather or The Mafia then you'll love this.
The game has an age rating of 18+ and I know this without even looking because of the extremely violence, sex reference, nudity and very strong language. The game manual is pretty good to the game but lacks a few things.
I think the game is value for money considering its not been out a very long time. I won the game on eBay for £12 including packaging which is one of the best prices for the game because it usually retails around the £20 mark for a second hand version. Other places sell the game for around £30-£35 brand new.
I loved it and would give the game a very strong 8/10!
Review also on Ciao under the username: MrBrightside1987!
L.A. Noire is a crime based game based on the streets of Los Angeles back in the 1950's. You play the game as Cole Phelps; an army hero and now member of the L.A.P.D. You begin the game as a patrol officer and then progress to help with larger cases such as traffic, homicide, vice, and arson. As the game progresses it turns out that not everything in L.A. is as it seems and that just after the war, everything has changed.
In terms of gameplay it is nowhere near a walk in the park. For each case (which last around half an hour each) there are up to 23 clues dotted around the crime scenes and numerous other persons and residences have to be investigated. The cases do sometimes become a little complicated but they prove a challenge and prolong the life of the game. The gameplay itself is amazing. New technology has been implemented whereby facial expressions and character behaviours are ridiculously life like and can help when deciding whether to accuse a suspect or not.
Downloadable content is also available. This provides 4 more cases to be solved (which by my reckoning meant I had another 2 hours+ of gameplay time) as well as extra weapons and outfits for Cole Phelps.
Other challenges within the game include trying to find 90 golden film reels dotted around the game map aswell as driving as many different cars as possible and finding secret hidden cars. "Street crimes" are also to be complete and these can be solved whilst driving from one destination to another whilst on a case or during free roam mode.
L.A. Noire (Xbox360, Playstation 3 & PC)
Tested and reviewed based on the Xbox360 version.
Review by Ben Nacca
(Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BenNacca )
XBL GT: Darkeyes2k7 PSN ID: Darkeyes2k11
When it comes to open world realism in gaming, I think Rockstar are at the forefront of people's minds. With experience in that genre with the Grand Theft Auto series and Red Dead series, not to mention the success in those series, it is pretty clear that they know their stuff. So what happens when you put Team Bondi with them on a project? L.A. Noire is born.
Set in 1947, shortly after the World War 2, L.A. Noire follows the career of LAPD office, and later detective, Cole Phelps as the player must find clues, solve cases and rise up the ranks of the LAPD while locking up criminals along the way. So imagine Grand Theft Auto but this time you are the police and the men in blue must behave accordingly. The open world of Los Angeles from the city centre to Hollywood is yours to explore and it is worth doing. With over 100 different vehicles and over 20 cases to solve as you progress through the story, L.A. Noire has more than enough to hold your attention.
So what makes this different? Team Bondi used a new piece of technology, well new in gaming anyway, called Motionscan. This is where the real life actors sit in the chair and have 32 cameras all around them pointing in their direction. It can then capture expressions from every angle so while the actors say their lines, it will pick up, if they can act, lies, doubt, honesty and other emotions pinnacle to solving crime mysteries. The result is that you get some of the most realistic and life like looking characters ever seen in a game and the fact you can clearly recognize some of the actors based on the Motionscan just shows this technology is the way forward.
This technology is integral to the interrogation mechanics within L.A. Noire. Players are needed to question suspects, witnesses and murderers, while needing to find out which one is telling the truth. The scenes are set out nicely so while interrogating someone, you can then choose from your notebook, what question to ask them. Then, you can press A for truth, X for doubt or Y for Lie. Only one, usually, of these is the correct one. At which point there will be a chime of sorts to confirm, you then can subsequently answer more questions and get your answers slowly. There is no going back so if you get a question wrong, the witness will keep quiet about it or potentially leave the interrogation early or start fighting depending on their temperament.
Each case is marked out of 5 stars, so getting all the questions right contributes to this. As does talking to all suspects, visiting the right places, finding all the clues etc. There is a nice replay case feature from the main menu as well so don't panic if you want to go through later and complete them all because you are feeling a bit detective savvy. With the promise of further DLC cases being made available, L.A. Noire is full of life.
Within these cases and your promotions through the ranks of LAPD, there is an underlying plot of which telling anything about it would potentially spoil the story for you. What must be said is that the L.A. Noire story is fairly linear. There are times where you can charge up to three people for the murder and it does not matter, apart from in game dialogue with your partner, which one. There is no feeling of right and wrong and with that, comes a dire sense of complacency because unless you do so bad that you fail the case, you can always complete it and throw someone in the cells.
Where L.A. Noire gets its open world feel is with the city itself. When in a police car, you can respond to sub missions, which vary from on foot chases to clearing out robbers in a bank and so on. The game really intertwines the interrogation mechanic with hand to hand combat, weapons, car chases, foot chases, investigation and cutscenes to make and all round grossly entertaining cinematic treat. From what I have heard from other people, the reception is so varied that some people get bored of the game and find it too liner, detective games aren't their thing and they expected GTA but as a police officer. Other people couldn't put it down and found the game enjoyable from start to finish. It is a personal preference and I thoroughly enjoyed it but it does have its flaws where stuff can be a bit repetitive.
That said, the cases are well thought out and some of them are so genuinely intriguing, plotted with red herrings and false suspects that you actually don't know and just have to make a judgement call. It's a perfect blend of investigation, action and interrogation that make L.A. Noire so riveting from start to finish.
The driving is superb as well, with wide turning cars realistic to the era and as mentioned above, with over 100 in the game, there is plenty of variety to keep you going. There are also collection items in the form of movie reels and famous landmarks in LA to find as well once the story has finished. Also, fear not, if you do finish the story, you can go back and select the free roam option to run around at the end of the game doing all these things without the story harassing you.
The audio is sublime, with voice acting from the actors being a particular highlight. It had to be where it is so pinnacle to the game and with so many different actors across the 25 hour plus game, it is a statement of achievement for what Team Bondi and Rockstar have created. The music in game is reminiscent to the era with a jazz edge to the entire game really, playing the noir feel where the game obviously gets the name. There is an option to even play the game in black and white for that extra point of realism.
Achievements comprise of earning promotions, completing tasks and doing certain things in some missions to the time consuming finding all movie reels, driving all cars, earning 5 stars in all cases etc. A nice list that is making you try EVERY aspect of the game and for those completion-ists, as long as you enjoy the game, it should not be a burden at all.
With no multiplayer, co-op or much to do after everything is done, you will be waiting purely on the DLC packs to come out with more cases. At current, there are about 3 or 4 that are available to download and complete and for most part, are as detailed and intricate as the ones on the discs. Let's hope Rockstar continue to support L.A. Noire with more DLC in the future.
A superb achievement with the Motionscan has made me feel like any other game characters in other games are now not detailed enough and too fake looking for my liking. L.A. Noire has placed real actors into the game environment and it is glorious. Best of all, no lip syncing issues as the actor is speaking when the voice is heard. Bonus! Can have a few rendering problems here and there but overall, very nicely done and well polished.
The audio is great, with a decent backing track and voice work that is going to be hard to topple, L.A Noire ticks all the boxes here and sounds thrilling throughout.
With the driving being smooth, running, covering and gunplay all neat and controlled, L.A. Noire plays very well. The cases are involving and thought provoking but can be repetitive if it isn't your kind of thing.
The side missions help to add life to the game that already clocks in at around 25 hours and the collection achievements will keep you busy if you are intent on having 100% completion on this game. With a case replay option, free roam mode after the story ends and plenty of DLC on the horizon, L.A. Noire should keep your attention for quite some time.
L.A. Noire is a new era of gaming, with surely more and more studios taking up on the Motionscan feature in the future when the demand for graphics gets even bigger. Overall, L.A. Noire is an entertaining experience but most of all, it is something different that hasn't really be done to this level before. You are bound to enjoy it but rent first to see if it's your type of game.
This guide is the property of Ben Nacca and is for the sole use of www.lanraiders.co.uk, www.dooyoo.co.uk and www.ciao.co.uk. No copying to other websites or other mediums without written permission first.
In L.A Noire you play as war veteran Cole Phelps as he begins his career as greenhorn cop. During the game you will work your way up the ranks of the L.A.P.D, starting on the Patrol desk and culminating in the arson desk. During missions you will visit crime scenes, interrogate witnesses and suspects alike, give chase to criminals by both car and by foot and engage in gunfights.
There is no disputing the fact that, on a technical level at least, L.A Noire is a beautifully crafted game; the character's faces are brilliantly rendered, the environments are a joy to look at and the interiors of buildings are painstakingly crafted. Not to mention the voice acting is among the best you will ever hear in a game, each line delivered with real genuine pathos.
Unfortunately, that's where the good ends and the failings of the game become apparent. The game turns out to be not so much a video game but instead more of an interactive movie. The game refuses to let go of your hand at any point. It leads you from scene to scene, mollycoddling you to the extreme. I have never played a game that wraps you in so much cotton wool. You can't truly fail the interrogation sections. Even if you do get questions wrong the story invariably advances regardless of your decisions. Because of this you end of feeling like the whole process is more or less pointless as you are not rewarded for successfully conducting an interrogation.
Furthermore, episodes of gun combat are often painfully easy and on the whole are far and few between. It ends up being apparent that 'missions' rarely go beyond the simple formula of 'go to crime scene'; 'find some clues' 'talk to witness/suspect'; 'chase suspect down an alleyway and/or in a car'.
At the end of it all one can't help but feel majorly disappointed with what this game could have been. It's just not worth the current retail price. If you are a casual gamer you might enjoy the manner in which the game babys you throughout the whole thing, making you feel like you are watching a somewhat interactive TV show, but for someone who likes to be left on their own and given the freedom adventure of the beaten track, creating their own story, this isn't the game for you.
Final piece of advice: perhaps worth a rental or a purchase if cheap. Alternatively, you could just wait for Grand Theft Auto V.
I was one of the many who went out and bought this game for over £40 in the first week of release, and the first thing I want to say is that I wish I had waited a while. Two weeks in, I'd pretty much completed it, with a few remaining achievements that were pretty much boring the pants off me and that I eventually just left. It's currently selling for a far more reasonable £25-£30, which is a fair price I think. The game comes as three discs which you insert concurrently at various intervals - I found this a bit annoying when I had completed the main storyline and had to keep changing discs when I wanted to go back and revisit certain levels.
The main feature of the game is probably the graphics, rendering and huge voice cast. It's clear that Rockstar have taken a lot of time and effort on this aspect, however they dont quite do enough, and for characters who aren't Cole Phelps (that's you, dear reader) the movements can seem a little clunky and hard-edged. They could also have put a few more of those funky 40s tracks in, as the music grates after a while until you just want to fast-drive everywhere.
The plot of the game is basically that you are a brand new police officer in 1940's Los Angeles, who works his way up the ranks by solving crimes. Think a more structured GTA, where you are presented with each case after you have solved the previous one, although you do have limited scope to go off on side-missions and achievements. You solve cases by collecting clues at the various scenes, speaking to witnesses and people of interest, and eventually interviewing suspects. I found this a little dumbed-down, giving you a choice of three "responses" to each thing that the interviewee tells you - believe them, doubt them or outright call them a liar. That said, several of the achievements are based on these interviews going perfectly, so it's probably better not to have made them too difficult!
During some missions there is gunfighting, an interesting aspect but again one that I feel was dumbed down, with auto-aim - although you can avoid using this, the temptation just always got me, so it was impossible not to end up shooting people really! The controls are basic and easy to grasp - I found the right control-stick camera function quite handy when searching areas for clues.
The missions themselves were challenging enough to hold my attention, and there are a couple of vaguely interesting subplots going on, but I wish the game had lasted longer really. Although there is no online gameplay there is an interesting "ask the audience" feature that you can use during the interviews - I never got around to signing up to try this myself but I can see how players might benefit from that.
So here it is, then. The latest revolution in gaming is upon us. Yours for a mere £40.
LA Noire is co-developed by Rockstar Games, previously responsible for the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption franchises. LA Noire is a detective game in which you play as Cole Phelps, up and coming LA police officer, solving cases and working your way up from uniform to coveted posts on the Homicide and Hollywood Vice desks. It plays heavily with film noir tropes. Probably inevitably, though, it's most influenced by the neo-noir novels of James Ellroy, and especially the film adaptation of LA Confidential; with a bit of Polanski's Chinatown thrown in.
For years games have been getting more and more confident in terms of plot. People used to sneer at the idea that a video game could provide a plot as dense and satisfying as that of a movie. I don't think they're sneering any more. Video games haven't yet given us anything as complicated as a really *good* movie. But they're just as good at creating coherent worlds as films are, and at their best, games can certainly be better than, say, the latest tired attempt to wring money out of drunk pirate/boy wizard/teen vampire franchises. And they have the added advantage that they're interactive, and therefore way more fun. Take that, Spielberg!
LA Noire is being sold on its plot in a big way - the reviews I've read really go overboard in praising it (the comparison is usually with TV rather than movies, as LA Noire is made up of episodic cases with an over-arching plot gradually becoming clear). And for once, I'd have to agree - the plot of this game is incredibly nicely done. There are standalone cases, but most cases tie together in ways that are obvious to the player but not to the characters.
Your character, Phelps, is a decorated war hero, and cut scenes between cases fill us in on his wartime experiences. Other cut scenes you unlock through finding certain clues give us parts of back story that Phelps isn't privy to. These occasionally mean that you, the player, know that there are factors at play in a case that Phelps doesn't know about. You sometimes find yourself having to charge people you know are innocent, because Phelps doesn't know as much as you do about a case - this is, as far as I know, a first. Having a character who gets things wrong, with you knowing they're wrong but unable to stop him, is a bold move, especially as the game will especially appeal to a completist mindset that will resent not being able to get everything right.
I can't tell you anything about the plot; it's best discovered for yourself. It plays out in ways that are often genuinely surprising, and while it contains most of the clichés you'd hope for in a detective game, it deploys them cleverly enough that you'll smile along with it. It gets pretty nasty at times. If it lacks the foetid stench of Ellroy, or the sheer sense of evil of Chinatown, it still goes to some surprisingly dark places. Taking in underage rape, hideously burned arson victims, and naked female corpses, it's certainly not for the kiddies, and the 18 rating should be taken seriously.
It's appropriate that, with a great story, the dialogue is also very strong. Characters talk like people in movies from the 40s, but a bit more sweary (and with a smattering of James Ellroy buzzwords like 'shitbird' or 'copacetic'). You have various different partners as you progress through the game, and they all have convincing personalities, with their relationship to Phelps changing as they get to know him. The Irish boss detective is a bit too obviously drawn from LA Confidential, but otherwise this trades on familiarity with the genre without just openly ripping anything off. You'll meet idealistic Reds, damaged ex-marines, creepy necrophiles and corrupt politicos; they all sound convincing.
The weakness in the dialogue is perhaps that it's not brutal enough. Characters who are racist refer to black characters as 'negroes', which feels almost respectful in the context (not that one *wants* to hear worse racial abuse, but it feels likely that we would). There's also a joke about Richard Nixon, which feels out of place - Nixon only got famous in 1948.
The main part of gameplay is detective work. You'll spend a lot of time sifting through the detritus of crime scenes in search of clues. Corpses will be probed, coroners questioned, and background checks made on suspects. You can interact with all kinds of objects at crime scenes, only some of which will be relevant (your controller will rumble when you find something of interest, and musical stings also provide guidance). Check everything - the bloody knife in the trashcan, sure, but also the note on the fridge, the shoes by the door, the empty jewelry box on the dresser. They can all be clues.
And once you've gathered enough clues, you can use them to trip up witnesses, or expose a suspect's lies. The game's biggest selling point is MotionScan technology, which allows human faces to be mapped realistically. The upshot is that the characters - while still looking like people you find in video games - have very real facial expressions. You can tell when someone's lying as they'll fail to meet your eye, or grimace, or just look shifty. If you can prove someone's lying, they'll reward you with another snippet of information that goes towards solving the case. The acting - both the facial acting and the voices - is appropriately good.
It's not that difficult, which is the main criticism. There are usually a few ways to solve a case, and some cases seem to have more than one 'correct' solution. How well you get to the solution determines your star rating for each case, but muddling through on guesswork won't actually change the storyline as far as I can tell. If you screw up an interrogation, chances are you'll still be OK, and sometimes clues are dropped rather clumsily into your lap if you're stuck. Although you can replay cases, presumably with an eye to boosting your score, I'm not sure this is going to prove to have much replay value. If you love achievements then you'll doubtless play through bits of it a few times; otherwise, when you know how it ends, you probably won't need to revisit it.
Another criticism is that it's very linear. Perhaps they were so excited about their motion capture technology that they forgot that games don't have to plod from A to C via B. It feels like they just need to crack that and we'll finally have the elusive Citizen Kane of video games, but this will do fine for now.
Although you can drive around LA (apparently a convincing replica of the city as it was in 1947), there's not a huge amount to do. There are side missions that will crop up - you can respond to calls for assistance from other police officers. But they're not very good, all involving car chases, gunfights or punch-ups. These elements seem to have been included just to pad the game out a bit. The gunfights are quite badly done - you hide behind something, you pop out and shoot a couple of bad guys, then you hide again.
The car chases are likewise not so good. The way the cars move reminded me of old clunker The Godfather, and as in that game, I knocked over lampposts/pedestrians pretty much every time I turned a corner, with no apparent consequences. You occasionally wreck a car, but you never seem to hurt anyone, least of all yourself. Above all, it never feels like you're really controlling a vehicle that convincingly belongs in the game's world. The cars seem to float just above the road, the odd tire track or controller-rumble notwithstanding.
There are a few glitches. I didn't experience any of the widely reported hardware problems, but the game stuttered a couple of times. On a couple of occasions my partner somehow got stuck and wouldn't move; I had to replay whole sequences to get him walking around again. There are plenty of cutscenes, which for once isn't a problem as they're very good, but it would be nice to have more freedom to skip them, especially when replaying missions.
The game is on three disks, which is pretty damn big; presumably most of that is for the dialogue. I couldn't install this to my hard drive - not enough space - and loading times were a bit slow.
This looks and sounds great. 1940s LA looks right, even if the advertisements are for made-up products (a missed opportunity for some retro product placement). Your car has a radio, and you get songs from the day, and snippets of real radio programmes (not enough, though. I heard the same clip about the president's wife and daughter launching a polio vaccination campaign several times). Otherwise the incidental music pastiches film noir deftly enough.
Every cinema you drive past is showing a classic film noir, which is a nice touch, I guess. The insurance company's offices look just like the offices from Double Indemnity, and I'm sure there are plenty of other references in there if you're looking out for them. The clothes, the corpses, the decor - everything looks just right.
The only complaints are that ears and often noses don't look right; and that no one has long hair - not even the women. Presumably long hair doesn't look convincing. You can overlook this.
This isn't a completely top notch game, as it lacks replayability and some of the cases are a bit samey. But as big 'event' games go, it's certainly better than most, and perhaps more than any other game it has a story you'll want to know the ending of. Once I'd started it I couldn't stop until I'd finished, and it draws you into its world very well. I hope the sequel can find a way to build on this, rather than just giving us a slightly louder replay.
Games company Rockstar have seen themselves spawn several successful games over the past decade or so. Perhaps most known for it's Grand Theft Auto series, they have since gone on to produce the hit western shooter Red Dead Redemption last year, a game which managed to combine a compelling story with gritty action. Now, L.A. Noire, released in May 2011 has arrived for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 owners. Promising to up the story telling, and provide an intriguing and cinematic homage to the detective genre, or in other words the black and white film noire films which were hugely popular during the 1940s and 1950s in particular. Thankfully though, Rockstar go above the expectations, and provide not only a hugely compelling game which betters the already excellent Red Dead Redemption, but a largely cinematic one also.
L.A. Noire for the Xbox 360 is spread across 3 discs. While this may seem like a lot, in reality, the game is actually rather short. Expect to complete the main storyline within 15 hours. This may seem quite long to a lot of people, but there have been a few games that are 3 to 4 discs long on the Xbox 360 which have taken a lot longer. For instance Lost Odyssey is a 4 disc epic that takes over 60 hours to fully complete. You will be pleased to know that for the most part the controls are very simple to operate, especially after you have been through the tutorial. The trickiest part for me was the driving, which luckily you get used to a lot more as you progress through the game (and there is always the option to allow your PC-controlled partner take the wheel instead). L.A. Noire focuses on Cole Phelps, an ex-marine who has just returned to the war. Phelps has been re-instated in his position in the police, and throughout the course of the game you steer him through promotions, demotions, grisly murders, drug crimes, government officials and police corruption, and turmoil in his private life. Although this re-imagining of 1940's Los Angeles may look glamorous, especially at night around the Hollywood area with all the twinkling lights, but this is far from the case. The game exposes the seedier side of life in this area, and Phelps finds himself being thrown deeper and deeper into it.
The game is split into five sections. You begin the game in a tutorial style level which has been set up purely to allow you to grab the basics of the game. After solving a brief case, you will be promoted to the Traffic police. Finish all the investigations in this section, and you'll then move up to Homicide, then Vice, and finally, Arson. The game handles the same in each section. You will have to investigate crime scenes, track down information, chase down criminals and look for crucial evidence which will help you improve your end of case rating. However, this does not for a second make the game feel samey. Each case is incredibly intriguing, and a rewarding feeling comes with locking away the correct suspect after painstakingly looking for vital evidence. The interrogation sequences are incredibly fun and also rather challenging. You will ask your suspect a series of questions, which they will then proceed to answer. Pay close attention to their facial expressions-you will be able to sometimes tell if someone is lying if they are not giving you eye contact! Once they have answered, you have the choice to answer with Truth, Doubt or Lie. If it is a lie you are accusing them of, you must have the evidence collected to back up your claim, otherwise it could all go horribly wrong. The game changes each time you play it, depending on if you guessed their answers correctly or not. You may even end up jailing the wrong person based on enough incorrect answers! This is a game which tests how much you pay attention to all the little details, and being logical helps a lot too.
Those expecting a 1940's version of Grand Theft Auto will be hugely disappointed. L.A. Noire is a game like no other. Playing as a policeman, you will be heavily penalised if you decide to drive around the streets running people over and damaging property. You will not have any access to weapons whilst you are driving around or walking down the street, unless you are currently making your way through a shoot-off either in the car or on foot. Shooting innocents will only make you fail the case, so you have been warned! People wishing to create havoc in the streets will be disappointed that this game is lacking in this department, but in all honesty, it is not necessary. There is plenty here to keep you entertained.
The game pays homage to hard-boiled crime stories from the likes of Raymond Chandler and Hammett, and fans of this genre may recognise the various recreations and nods towards some of the more well known works. Each case is based on a real-life crime which has taken place in America around the same time the game is set. However, the cases in the game are not totally accurate to the real crimes, as characters have been changed and some aspects have been changed to flow with the games overall plot, but it is interesting to read up on Rockstar's website about the real crimes and how they influenced the investigations in game.
From start to finish, L.A. Noire looks and feels like a film. Thirty two cameras filmed every angle of each actors face, so the likeness, and their expressions are incredibly spot on. The game is full of celebrity names, including several members of hit US TV series Mad Men. For instance, Aaron Staton (Ken Cosgrove in Mad Men) leant his likeness and voice to the games protagonist, Cole Phelps, who looks and acts so much like him, you actually have to remind yourself that this is not actually the real guy! The attention to detail is very impressive, with 1947 Los Angeles faithfully being restored. According to Rockstar's official website, over 95% of the landscape in L.A. Noire has been based on original places in Los Angeles. The attention to detail increases when you stop and peer into house or shop windows in game. You will find that some of the time you cannot enter these places (unless you have to for part of an investigation), but yet the inside of each building has been decorated considerably, even down to flicking candles! These are aspects that people may not even think of looking in on, so it is very impressive.
Sadly, the main story is over within 15 hours, which, if I am sure many of you will find, or have already, is not very long, considering the game-play is very addictive. It is very easy to start off L.A. Noire with the intention of playing it for 30 minutes or so, only to glance at your clock and find four hours have passed in what feels like no time at all. However, after the main story is complete, there is plenty of other things to get on with. The obligatory Rockstar "collecting items" achievements are here once again, and this time around you have the option to collect film reels (named after real Noire movies), discover real Los Angeles landmarks and discover a multitude or authentic 1940s cars which are scattered throughout the city. Cases can be re-played again if you want to improve your rating, and you will get calls from the police radio via despatch to any street crimes in L.A. that you can solve. Fear not, after all this, there is still more! Downloadable content is currently available, which adds more cases, new un-lockable costumes for Phelps and another collecting achievement for all you hoarders. There is more downloadable content coming in the foreseeable months, so do not despair, you will get another crime fix soon enough. L.A. Noire does not contain an online play mode though, unlike most other games out for the Xbox at the moment. However, online play for this game would only feel pretty unnecessary, and I certainly didn't miss it when I played this. You get too wrapped up in the crime solving to even think about the possibility of playing against someone online.
Please note that this game is an 18 certificate, and contains violence, drug and sex references, murder, rape and so on. While this is all expected of a game about crimes, especially one with a homicide section, some people may not realise how grisly this game actually is. Due to the amazing graphics, details are very fine here, and so some of the murder scenes you encounter may unsettle the squeamish. To those with an aversion to gore, I would suggest steering clear of this! As the certificate suggests (but not everybody listens to!), an this game is definitely not for children, so please bare this in mind!
L.A. Noire is one of the most engaging, and refreshing games I have played in years. It makes a change to play on the police side investigating crime scenes, rather than being the enemy who has to cause them in the first place. It is great seeing Los Angeles faithfully restored to it's 1947 state, and the motion capture technology they have used to capture the actors expressions and voice is outstanding. This is definitely a new technology that we will see a lot more in the future. The graphics are stunning, and are probably the best graphics I have seen in a game so far. Yes, that is a big claim to make, but the motion capture technology and attention to detail within really help to put this above the rest. The crime scene investigation is incredibly exciting, and the overall storyline is very compelling. The sequel to this already hugely successful game has already been announced, and I await with baited breath for this, as I am sure many others are too.
*This review is also on Ciao, under "MonsoonBaby88"*
Also on my blog here: http://8-bitgirl.blogspot.com/2011/06/la-noire-worthy-of-all-hype.html
Back in 2001, Rockstar Games stood at the fore of one of the most groundbreaking changes in the games industry with their impressive GTA 3. With LA Noire, Rockstar teamed up with the young Team Bondi (headed by the main developer of the brilliant PS2 Getaway series) to push the boundaries of gaming once again. For once, Rockstar offers us the chance to side with the law, in a quest for redemption and justice which spans an impressive 21 hours of gameplay.
You assume the role of Detective Cole Phelps, a World War Two veteran who fought against the Japanese and who post-war is plying his trade as an up-and-coming detective of the LAPD. Your task is basically the same as what an LA detective's task would have been at the time, scouring the crime scenes themselves, amassing evidence and, crucially, interrogating people to bring justice to the City of Angels. However, as the film noir allusions imply, not all is as it seems, and Phelps's quest will have him unearth grim secrets about both the city and his own past...
The game is essentially divided into four sections, aptly organised as a transition between four crime desks - traffic, homicide, vice and arson. As you progress through the story, the movements between the two are well explained and the story acts as a bridge between each of the crime investigation departments. Moreover, the tasks on each desk feel sufficiently fresh to keep the game feeling innovative throughout.
Just like they did in 2001, Rockstar has pushed the envelope for video game realism, with two innovations of note marking this game as one of the most unique to have emerged on next gen consoles. Indeed, as a police detective, the crime scene investigations had to be pulled off and, due to the immense attention to detail and care accorded to these sequences, they are simply jaw-dropping. Feeling just like an interactive detective film or TV series, Phelps has to find clues by walking around a crime scene, searching the area meticulously to amass evidence which will offer clues to finding the culprit. Find them all and your leads will multiply, leading to a faster and more astute decision. Leave evidence behind, and you'll be running all around LA to find your man.
Most importantly of all, Bondi and Rockstar absolutely nailed the presentation of these investigations. The cases are introduced like a TV episode, with impressive titles and music giving some character to the cases you undertake. After a brief glimpse of the case in hand, the cut-scenes begin at the station, where you hear the crime details and then venture out to the scene. When there, locate a piece of evidence and it doesn't just magic into your hand but Phelps actually picks it up, clasping it and allowing the gamer to examine it carefully for clues. Here, the incredible detail will have you in awe, with Phelps's hand looking jaw-droppingly realistic and the evidence looking plucked out of the real world. The importance of such details in a game which relies so heavily on evidence cannot be overstated - you really fell immersed in the game's narrative when the interactive crime scenes are pulled off so well.
Of course, the fanfare around the game has centred on the motion capture technology created by Bondi and implemented in the game. Using 32 HD cameras to map actors' faces (yes, real actors not just voice actors) every character you meet in the game has a real face with real expressions. For the first time in a game, cut-scenes are not a chore, as the facial animation is literally true to life. Yes, it may still seem a tad cartoony, but watching a cut-scene in full-flow can trick you into thinking you're watching a film or crime series. In an unprecedented move, Bondi and Rockstar have managed to portray characters' emotions to gamers for the first time. You'll see Phelps' chuffed expression as he earns a promotion, his fear as he comes under fire and his grimaces as he accuses suspects .
And that is the next innovation in the game, the focus on reaching your objectives through measured thought. Indeed, Bondi's main developer explained to interviewers prior to release that his primary aim was to have Phelps identify suspects through observation, and not solely hard evidence. The result is that the gamer has to look closely at the suspects' reactions to lines of questioning and either conclude that they're telling the truth, that there's room for doubt or that they're lying to you. This is crucial to making the detective experience feel realistic, as if you decide to jump in and accuse someone of lying, lacking the evidence to back such a statement up will offer the suspect an excuse to stay silent rather than cough up important information. Posing such a question will bring up the wonderfully implemented Detective's notebook, again graphically realistic, which sees Phelps highlight lines of questioning with his pencil and cross them off one by one.
This notebook is also an ever-present source of information for Phelps, containing all the clues pertaining to a case and, crucially, the locations to visit to gather more evidence. Unlike in GTA, you most often have a partner in LA Noire, a fact which allowed Rockstar and Bondi to allow the gamer to skip to destinations rather than drive through LA by asking your right-hand man to take the wheel. Yes, I know some readers will wonder: it's a free-roam game, so why not drive? Well, if any criticism is to be levelled at the game, it is the repetition of 'find evidence - locate suspect - drive there' with such long drives becoming tiresome given the expanse of the game world, especially when the vehicle AI is so idiotic. Moreover, when the cut-scenes are so good, you'll find yourself skipping some of the gameplay simply to revel in the performances, and, given the expanse of the game and the cases themselves (some last over an hour), it's a welcome addition.
Of course, innovation would be nothing without a story solid enough to implement it well and, crucially, it delivers. Personally, the second third of the game lost a bit of momentum, but the pulsating finale more than made up for it, tying together the various plot strands revealed during the game in a satisfying conclusion. Although your tasks have basically the same structure on every desk, the different crimes - all inspired by real-life events plucked from 1947 LA papers - always leave your detective juices flowing and the excellent voice-work and acting performances make for one of the most immersive and realistic narratives to emerge from a game on next gen consoles.
LA Noire feels and plays more like an interactive film than a game, but this is by no means a bad thing. In fact, in spite of certain weaknesses (maybe there are too many mundane chase scenes and the vehicle AI could be better) the game delivers due to its successful implementation of the detective genre on next-gen consoles. Scouring scenes for clues, observing your notebook for leads and, most satisfying of all, interrogating suspects by looking for visual tells are all wonderfully implemented around a core story which is as compelling as any detective film or series you're ever likely to watch. Highly recommended.