Hello everyone this is Meg with another current release game review and today I’ll be talking about L.A. Noire! This has taken me a while, but better late than never!
System: PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Third-person Shooter, Action-Adventure
Release dates: May 17th 2011 (USA), May 20th 2011 (EU, AUS)
Players: Single player
Developer: Team Bondi, Rockstar Games
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Origin: America, Australia
Rating: ESRB: M, BBFC: 18, PEGI: 18
Here is the L.A. Noire video review!
It would be great to hear your thoughts on the game in the comments section below.
Music from the game used in the review:
All the songs are purchased from Official Soundtracks. Here are the track names in the order they appear:
Now for the review scores:
Set in the 1940’s the story follows Cole Phelps an ex-soldier as he works his way up the ranks of the L.A.P.D. Each chapter is set up via a variety of missions seemingly random at the beginning then weaving together later.
There are flashbacks and a whole separate narrative that can be seen through newspapers you collect that also tie into the over-arching story. And that’s L.A. Noire, a bundle of seemingly unrelated narratives, woven together to form one. It’s not overly complicated in its formula but its effective.
The verse of L.A. Noire focussed on the cops of that time period; the politics, the corrupt nature of the force. It looks at drugs, murder, booze – you know everything associated with a Noir title, whould’ve thunk?
I personally loved the missions and the feeling that each investigation is a new story with fresh new characters and challenges, and a chance to see different areas (and sides) of the city. It made a nice change to many other games on the shelves.
However, there was something missing with the central character. Even with the flashbacks, I felt Cole Phelps was lacking in noticeable development. There was no real relationship because of this between the player and the PC.
I personally grew more (or less) attached to Phelp’s partners; love them or hate them at least you have an opinion, but I didn’t really have much of an opinion on Cole.
Overall it deserves its Noir title it is a Noir piece. This is a very familiar genre though so don’t expect anything too radically unusual here. It does what it says on the tin but does it well.
Now this is the category I’ve got to make sure I don’t rant about. I am going to make my point simple. In this department, L.A. Noire is frustratingly 50/50, and here’s why.
There are some fairly innovative ideas here; the ability to interrogate people and suspects by acting on their reactions is genius. And the motion capture in the face department allows you to really get stuck into this feature. Some interrogations are fairly straightforward, but for every easy one there’s an actress!
The idea that you can check over a crime scene and search for (sometimes unfound) evidence, took a big leaf out of Heavy Rain’s ARI-book, but it worked out well. It also accompanied the interrogations brilliantly.
For example, having found and recorded evidence makes it easier to tell if a person is lying or not. When someone says “we had a perfect marriage” but you found the divorce papers earlier, you know they’re lying like a cheap watch.
But here’s the problem. For every innovative idea, they undercut it with something that you have seen in many other games – only they did it better.
The driving for example, was practically identical to Mafia 2 or the newer Grand Theft Auto games; only at least in those games the controls were user-friendly!
It was meant to be a sandbox game. But the only time you need venture out into the city was to answer radio dispatch calls. And why would you want to do that when A) you’ve got a murder case to solve? And B) you have to drive miles away from an already selected destination?
The shooting sections were good – nothing we haven’t seen before – but after spending hours interrogating, or trying to drive to your destination without killing anyone, the gunplay almost interrupted the flow.
Whilst collecting evidence, the use of fingerprints was never used despite the fact it would’ve been used at the time. Yet in some scenes the bigwigs to determine certain facts use it.
Overall, it would’ve been so much better if they had stuck with their innovative ideas instead of muddying it with other, ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt’ mechanics.
The graphics are on a very similar page to the Gameplay.
The faces were wonderful and although sometimes they mis-matched on the base-model, it really looked realistic. Each character looked interesting and some you could point out from TV shows and films!
But the backgrounds and objects were on the same level as most other games. Just think how good those faces would have looked with faultless, realistic looking surrounding graphics and textures! It may have taken a lot longer to get there but hey!
The animation was all right – a little wooden at times but nothing too dramatic.
So all in all the graphics were okay, I just think it would’ve been great to see the backgrounds and textures reach some new level that had been achieved with the facial motion capture.
It sounded very, capital NOIR! It created a dark, moody atmosphere. Some tracks from the time were put in there too though it wasn’t used to quite the same effect as in Mafia 2 for example. Out of the entire soundtrack the songs sung by Claudia are possibly the best.
Because they had been created specifically for the game, it made it feel as though it were in its own verse – despite being set in a ‘real’ time and place. Still it added to the suspension of disbelief. Guilty, and the Torched Song are my favourites and ones I sing a lot in the shower!
OVERALL FUN-FACTOR — 8.5
Overall I personally would give it an 8.5. I like the game a lot, it wouldn’t deserve a game of the year title but its technological advances and innovative ideas cannot be ignored – despite being a little thing on the ground.
Think I missed something or you want to express your own opinions? Feel free to leave a comment. All constructive comments are welcome :3