We have seen video games that tested the wits and response of the player and such is the foundation that makes a title interesting. Rockstar’s latest creation – L.A. Noire is a title that sets differences among the rest, our review copy was on PlayStation 3 and we take a look at how the game fares on the overall.
Unlike previous Rockstar titles, you are a good decent character with a strong sense of justice. You are Cole Phelps, an eager policeman to uphold justice in the streets of 1940s Los Angeles and you will find yourself rising in the ranks and becoming a detective. There is more to this rising legend however, he was a war hero back in World War II and his return to America as an upholder of justice has something more than that. The game will unravel his past as you make your hurdles through a different variety of crime cases in violent Los Angeles.
Peace is a mere fabricated front amongst the people who lived there, the underside of the city is filled with filth and corruption but luckily, you will begin the game with a steady pace picking up minor crimes before proceeding to serious types that requires some thinking. A typical case in L.A. Noire requires combing the crime scene for clues and tell-tale signs of violence before making interviews with witnesses and suspects as part of the routine. Putting evidence and the information gathered makes the game so compelling that it forms the heart of the entire story.
Gameplay and Story
L.A. Noire is still quite of an open-world game although there is a different touch to it compared to the likes of Grand Theft Auto, you are still able to roam freely around the city with the occasional radio calls for single missions such as stopping a bank robbery and more. There is plenty of excitement going on apart from solving your case, many side quest achievements can be found in the game and I am pretty enjoying driving those different cars in-game.
The game brings out a certain excitement of the dark and brooding underside of old Los Angeles. Playing the story is pretty much a detective thriller itself. The game’s interrogative system puts the player into making critical decisions to assume if your suspect is lying or telling the truth by judging from their facial expressions and how they talk. Try accusing someone lying and they will demand evidence with utmost sarcasm or perhaps even arrogance. A flopped interrogation process could result in lack of clues and even jailing the wrong person! (and yet continuing the story)
Fortunately, L.A Noire introduces a intuition system that you can use for a narrowing your possible answer. If that does not help, you can even ask online to the community from the game. Of course, these are optional if you are up to the challenge of finding all the clues and getting your answers right.
The game keeps track of your stats in the game, Phelps’s trusty notebook will be your greatest tool when playing L.A. Noire, all your clues and new point of interests are recorded in it. It is also a fundamental element that you will use to interview witnesses or question your suspects too. The other is your personal stats recorded as you progressed in the game, from car speeds, total mileage and your completion rate. Completionists who also want to get the best record will love such a tracking system.
Having said that, the game is not without flaws. While players tries to solve every case, you will notice a certain repeating trend in some of cases. Not a bad thing as I will encourage you to continue further as the plot thickens and this is where L.A. Noire shines.
Visuals and Audio
The game uses a technology known as Motionscan which delivers the realistic facial emotions from a team of actors. The replication of the actors’ facial emotions form part of core gameplay which is to determine if witnesses or suspects are telling the truth by looking at their expressions. A twitch of an eye, shifty looks and many others are signs of lying, one of the features that I love while playing the game. While visuals are amazing, we did notice some stuttering in certain scenes and a few glitches in the game that cause frame rates to drop a little. Nothing major as it still appeals.
Los Angeles in its 1940s is beautifully made in the game and it does not hurt to explore the city sometimes. Everything is presented in proper and there wans’t much to pick on while playing the game. Pairing it with the scores of oldies, the city in its classic beauty is created right down from language of the streets, the jazzy ambiance to the inequality treatment of women and minority races. The soundtrack of the game simply blows and together with the brilliant voice acting which is entertaining and engaging, it brings about the emotions of the characters that I have to remind myself I am playing a game, not watching a drama series.
From Wiki: L.A. Noire’s soundtrack comprised an original score by Andrew Hale, original 1940s style songs composed by The Real Tuesday Weld and sung by Claudia Brücken as well as recordings by artists of the period, such as Billie Holiday,Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Many cases of L.A.Noire are engaging at most and it compels me to keep going, it is not possible without an amazing music score and voice acting too. I will encourage players to take your time when playing, it is revolutionary in its own way to tell a story and having a sandbox-like gameplay as well. It is one of the firsts in console gaming and I am hoping for a sequel already or at least, using the technology behind to make new game franchises.
Additional DLC content is available now from your respective console network, the content include extra story scenarios
L.A. Noire is available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, it is a single-player game and available on retail now.