By Sam Coles:
There are those one off games that you really want a sequel to but unfortunately it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. L.A Noire is one of those games that got a lot of praise with its fantastic story with a new twist on the point and click adventure genre with action segments to the interrogation scenes as you evaluate the evidence. Due to the expensive production Team Bondi had to close its doors and a sequel doesn’t look hopeful.
L.A Noire takes place during the late 1940’s during the golden age of Hollywood with society trying to rebuild itself after the horrors of the Second World War. You play as Cole Phelps a fresh face in the L.A.P.D he is a war veteran who trying to make a fresh start in society with the classic American dream with his wife and the quite literal white picket fence. He is recognised for his investigation skills and it’s not long before he is promoted to detective and is working in Traffic.
The gameplay is what you would expect in a Rockstar production where you traverse an open world to get to your next missions while completing side activities and looking for secrets. The open world just serves as the aesthetic more than anything you’ll be focusing on the crime scenes you travel to where you are examining evidence whether it is burn out cars or to mangled and deformed corpses. The pacing is great in this game because it is varied with different segments from investigating crime scenes, shootouts with criminals, car chases and crimes in progress it breaks up the game and keeps you invested. In terms of the gunplay it will be very familiar if you have played Red Dead Redemption and GTA IV as it basically has the same control scheme.
The great aspect in this game is that you’re not investigating the same thing all the time because as you progress through the story you’ll be promoted to different branches in the department from Traffic, Homicide, Vice and then you’re demoted to Arson in the story which I will not spoil. This game does stretch across three discs on 360 because the scale of the game and the visuals.
The presentation is amazing! Even for a game that came out on the Xbox 360 and PS3 5 years ago it still holds up with a great recreation of 1940’s Los Angles. They used a great technique called motion scanning where they got the actor and recorded his or her face when he or she were reading their dialogue and at the time it was the most convincing visual performance. You see each detail of their face from a subtle eye brow raise to a grimace. The detail in crime scenes is insane especially with the corpses this game is not for the squeamish because it very graphic with the bodies with detailed lacerations and bruising.
The only problem I have with this game applies to most games from Rockstar from this period and that is controlling someone on foot is a pain because it can feel like you turning a wheelbarrow filled with depleted uranium and you end up getting stuck in doorways a lot.
LA Noire is a dark and grim tale with great investigation gameplay and is a definitely not for children, it shows that video games have evolved to an adult medium with an intelligent and mature story with great gameplay. It’s a shame that there won’t be a sequel anytime soon but the one hit wonders are generally the best.