L.A. Noire

The city of angels holds many demons.

By canana, Posted 22 May 2011

L.A. Noire, Rockstar Games’s latest release, with developer Team Bondi at the helm, aims to shift paradigms and create new gameplay trends. In recent months, the developer has created a huge hype about the game and after a few minutes driving through the streets of an almost exact rendition of Los Angeles, you'll understand why. L.A. Noire is unlike anything you've ever played. You play as Cole Phelps, a former soldier who returns to his hometown after the end of World War II and becomes a policeman. His history as a police officer is short-lived and soon he is invited to be a detective with the LAPD.

Besides the main story, where you try to find the solution to many crimes, there is also a side story element that is told through flashbacks, tailing Phelps' moments during the war. But rest assured, we will not reveal anything between about the relationship between the two stories, so you’ll have to figure out the rest of it during the game. L.A. Noire is a game with a lot of research crafted into it, with a mix of harassment and confrontations with criminals. Do not be fooled into thinking this is just a police version of Grand Theft Auto; the games have some similar features, but you can’t just go around guns blazing. This game is a cop procedural, so you’re expected to behave as such. The game also boasts a well-detailed open world there are primary and secondary missions to tackle. The city is great to move around in and you will constantly drive cool 40’s era cars.

To create a favorable scenario for the game, L.A. Noire possesses a faithful reconstruction of Los Angeles from the 40's. It’s so intricately detailed that the player has a perfect ambiance of the era, as well as its culture and customs. Expressions, clothes, cars and music of the decade are featured in an incredible game. In addition to that, you have the option to play all this great experience in black and white. You can do so by activating a menu option in the game at any time.

L.A. Noire, Review

As we are in an open world where evidence could be hidden in any part of the city, L.A. Noire has an interesting system to indicate whether there is evidence yet to be discovered at the crime scene, which is the music. While a suspenseful tone plays as you scan a particular area, you can still find new evidence. Furthermore, to differentiate an irrelevant object of the relevant object, the DualShock controller is your friend here, as the vibration is also a good indicator of that.

We can say that the great innovation of the game is the player’s need to use Cole’s intuition to solve cases. A case boils down to analyze the crime scene and the victim, seek and gather evidence, interrogate potential witnesses and suspects, and finally obtaining confessions from criminals. However, to complete these cases you must figure out if a person is lying or not, and take out necessary information from them to progress through the current cast. All characters that are interrogated always hide or omit the truth - whether through involvement in crime, either by fear - and you have to notice the reaction of each of them to get out if the suspect is lying or leaving out relevant facts. Thanks to Team Bondi’s work in regards to the facial capture system every expression that tells your character looks incredible and believable. You will have to analyze these expressions to determine if the character is actually speaking the truth. You'll be amazed at the quality of facial expressions and speaking the truth. You'll be amazed at the quality of facial expressions and how they can represent exactly what the character is trying to hide or transmit during an interrogation.

Should you find yourself stuck in a rut, you can use your intuition to eliminate the wrong answers and narrow down the right answer to every single transition. Your intuition won’t always lead you to find the solution, however, as there are several possibilities in that aspect. Getting all these things together will lead you to getting the truth from the suspect. Another important factor is that any small detail discovered during an investigation might make significant progress to the case at hand, whether it’s a small piece of paper found in the victim's pocket or a gun hidden in the trash can. As an investigator you must find and gather all these details to solve the case.

L.A. Noire, Review

Your biggest helper throughout the story is your notebook, which will keep all information from each of the cases that you investigate. Information includes the profile of each character that you talked in the game, objects found in crime scenes and locations that you visited that might otherwise complete the investigation. Other than reading notes, your notebook will also serve as a crucial tool to interrogate a suspect or a witness, that through him you will choose the subject that should be considered or even the evidence that will incriminate the suspect.

Another thing to note is that it’s impossible to fail any of the main story missions. Not getting the truth from someone just means that it will take you longer than usual to finish the case, though you will eventually succeed in doing so. Without restarting any mission, it will take about 15 hours to finish the main story without completing the side quests available.

As already mentioned, the big highlight of the game is the characters’ facial expressions. But L.A. Noire is much more than how advanced the technology is. All details of the game were created in a brilliant way and the player, when comparing the game with Grand Theft Auto IV, will find an evolution in the graphics quality. It’s not as on-par as PlayStation 3 exclusive games such as Killzone or Uncharted, but it can be superior to other multi-platform games. The city is well represented, the characters were brilliantly designed, the cars have interesting collisions, various effects, and even the objects found during an investigation bring minimal details that make all the difference.

The game has many hours of cut scenes, and cases for investigation and graphic quality of these animations are as good as the graphics in the game itself. Moreover, in many cases you will have aerial views of Los Angeles to give you a wider perspective and detail about the areas you need to search. All of this is also accompanied by great voice work. During a questionnaire you should be able tell by tone of voice asked if the interrogator is angry, nervous or even lying. Its sound effects are also pleasing in a residential neighborhood so you can easily notice the birds singing in an industrial neighborhood.

L.A. Noire, Review

You'll also hear more noises and cars passing on the street. During shootouts every weapon has a unique sound when fired; explosions and other effects are also well represented. Since L.A. Noire is set in the '40s, so you'll hear a lot of jazz and blues that were successful and relevant at the time. The soundtrack is not exciting for some because it is comprised of old songs you might not be familiar with, but it fits the setting the game is based on.

L.A. Noire is a great game, but it is not without its flaws. During an investigation you should find evidence and analyze the victims, it is used a point and confirm system and your character will perform an action. The system works well, but it doesn’t always illicit the exact movement. So instead of opening the left pocket of Cole’s jacket, you might accidentally open the right pocket. The research system is very interesting but a bit slow and sometimes you have to wait a few seconds to drop or pick up any object that may have relevance to the case.

During hot pursuits there aren’t many options for controlling your character, just running in the right direction. Actions such as jumping, climbing or descending stairs, are performed automatically. That makes gameplay easier for the player but takes away your freedom to take actions at the time you want. Players will also find some difficulty in controlling the vehicle, because controls are not as accurate as we would like and therefore will require some adjustments.

L.A. Noire, Review

L.A. Noire does not have multiplayer. The second is needed because, as all cases are performed by the main character and his partner, the second could help during the cases. However, you can access Rockstar Social Club online, and can serve as a hint system or guide. For inquiries you can exchange your points earned with your rank progress for answers from the community. Also, you can see its evolution in the game and your profile containing the number of solved cases, the average grade obtained in these cases and some other interesting information.

The incredible motion capture system used in the game is one of the big reasons to play L.A. Noire. The graphics are above average in all factors and to tour the city of Los Angeles as we imagine will be the next Grand Theft Auto.

We consider L.A. Noire an excellent game that will please the vast majority of players. But be aware that L.A. Noire is mostly an investigative game and for this reason does not have as much action as some players would like it to have. If you are looking for lots of action and shooting in the 40s, L.A. Noire is not the game that you seek. However, if you are in the mood to spend hours looking for objects, analyzing, interrogating suspects and victims and occasionally take part in shootings or car chases, congratulations, you have won the jackpot.

Marco Cecilio, NoobFeed

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  • The system of indicating whether there is evidence or not though music is quite interesting but I find it very lame. And only a 15 hours story seems fair to me but I was expecting more since the hype meter was about to burst for this title. Good thing that it's an open world game with lots of side missions. Then again it's funny that you don't get to do you own actions while on pursuits. Beside te story and characterizations, I honestly don't see how it has scored a 90 in here and same in gamespot (9/10), ign (8.5/10) and giantbomb (5/5)!


    Posted May 23, 2011

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General Information

L.A. Noire

90/100

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher(s): Rockstar Games
Developer(s): Team Bondi
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Third-Person Shooter
Release Date: 2011-05-17

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