This particular review was from a website that i used to write for. Since they won't except it, its going here @ Videogames 4 Gamerz. LA Noire is a crime drama videogame developed by Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games. You play the role of Cole Phelps brilliant detective often flawed husband and father. Phelps was a WW2 hero and initially promoted right away into the LAPD. L.A Noire doesn't have a typical videogame story.
The story is broken down into different cases's that makes up the majority of L.A Noire's story. L.A Noire's story is told not only through its cases and cutscenes but also through "behind the story" cutscenes when you collect certain collectibles like newspapers. You can choose to watch cutscenes that fade from black and white to color that tells the story in video.
I personally enjoyed LA Noire's story it had intrigue, suspense, adultery, murder, fraud and much more. Everything a great videogame story should have is here imo. I don't have any logical complaints i can think of regarding the story. It all came together to produce a dramatic and memorable ending that was fitting.
The visuals were a mixed bag. There were weird glitches present in L.A Noire. A cutscene froze then skipped. The physics seemed weird at times during the game as i seen cars sitting directly on one another. One instance, i hit a street lamp with my car and the pole flew so far it went into the pacific ocean. Merging of vehicles were also present. Maybe its just bad collision coding. I could randomly drive around from time to time and i would see two separate cars fused together. L.A Noire did freeze once during gameplay as well and I had to pull my power plug out of my Playstation 3 and start over.
Motion Scan used in L.A Noire was hyped and deservingly so. It is a new technology introduced to videogames. Motion Scan did immerse me while questioning suspects, witnesses etc. i was impressed with it. The motion scan technology used on faces was a double edged sword sat times because it made the rest of L.A Noire look really average. The overall texture work and colors were used and implemented well into the sandbox. The atmosphere in L.A Noire is as good as it gets for videogames. Driving around L.A with the top down was fun. The trolleys, pedestrians and trains gave the city life. Great face visuals great art style and great use of colors but average everything else.
The noire inspired orchestra tunes immersed me from beginning to end. The tunes on the radio were all standard "1940s" fair. The sound design in the city, pedestrians and vehicles all contributed into a multi layered videogaming experience. Not only did the voice actors do a really job but the actual actors as well. Remember its basically an actor talking using they're real faces in L.A Noire. The dialog while performing investigations was fitting and seemed realistic. During interrogations of suspects dialog became repetitive at times and made Cole seem like a psycho. For the most part the dialog was really good in L.A Noire. It sound and seemed "real" and kept my attention throughout the entire game.
L.A Noire is the only videogame i ever played that really made me feel like a Detective. Much of that has to do the immersion the game thrives on. Much of L.A Noire's story and gameplay has to do with Cole investigating Story Cases. There are 21 different story cases spread out over 5 Desks. The desks include Patrol, Traffic, Homicide, Vice and Arson. Each case for the most part you're investigating crime scenes, looking for clues, questioning witnesses or suspects and trying to get a confession or conviction.
Street crimes get radioed in from dispatch as your leisurely driving around. You can except or ignore the radio your choice. But completing the street crime will net you experience points which helps Cole rank up. Street crimes are fun to solve and have there own story. From stopping a man from leaping to his death to arresting a mental patient with a frying pan taped to his head. I had fun solving street crimes and they do in fact have their own little entertaining stories accompanying them.
Driving in L.A Noire is pretty straightforward. The vehicle doesn't blow up if you crash. The driving is tight which is good since there are quite a few chase scenes where you have to bump cars or shoot their tires out. You can also do a fast travel by leaving down "Triangle" (your partner takes control). The shooting and actual combat does happen in L.A Noire but not often. Auto aiming and shooting feels similar to Red Dead Redemption and GTA IV. I enjoyed the combat and shooting in L.A Noire. When you stand next to a trunk of a police car and press X you can change weapons from a handgun to a shotgun.
L.A Noire lasted around 20 hours for me with 70% total game completed. 9-40 street crimes completed, 20-30 landmarks discovered, 0-50 film reels found, 38-95 vehicle types. In the "Cases" menu at the title screen you can play a mode called "The Streets of L.A". The latter is a free roam mode where you can drive around L.A and collect collectibles.
L.A Noire is an inspiring tale of drama, murder and intrigue. LA Noire does have problems, it isn't perfect. With that said, L.A Noire is the first great game i have played this year and its in the GOTY running.