L.A Noire is set amid the post-war boom of Hollywood’s golden age in the year 1947. L.A has had a long and varied history and in that long history the year 1947 sits has one of the most interesting periods as it was one of the darkest years in the city’s history as crime hit it’s peak that instantly began 15 days into the New Year.
L.A Noire is a very different beast of a game. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen or very unusual to something that Rockstar tends to put out. You’re a cop, a good guy for once, who is determined to clean up the streets of Los Angeles after his return stateside at the end of World War II.
L.A Noire is a different type of game and that is one of the reasons why it landed on my top 20 games of all time back in 2011, it’s a slow-paced and sometimes boring game but that’s the way it was designed. The focus is on your investigative skills to determine who’s lying or not and not on the quickness of your trigger finger, L.A Noire used MotionScan which delivers pure performances from those within the game and hasn’t been used since it’s original release. Every wrinkle, twitch, facial movements, and swallows are captured and shown onscreen. It’s striking and something that videogames need to help push and handhold videogames closer to being more of a cinematic experience and this is where L.A Noire shines, especially now that it has been remastered for a new generation of hardware. The interrogations shine and they’re captivating because of this technology that’s been out for the past six years and this is the bread and butter of L.A Noire.
This isn’t like any other type of game, you play as Cole Phelps, a newly minted detective whose job is to search and scour crime scenes for clues and when you question witnesses or people of interest, you have to think less like a gamer and more like a detective and it’s not easy. It’s no easy task. It’s a real challenge to judge how trustworthy the witness is and the trustworthiness of his or her’s statement. The doubt and lie options are very grey and the line is slit narrow. I managed to fail to deduce some witnesses’ statements because the facial recognition is so detailed. After every question, you get a response from the suspect and then you must select three options: Truth, Doubt, and Lie and as soon as you get it right you’ll get more answers. The better you do, you’ll get better results and the worse you do, it’ll be much harder to get to the truth.
L.A Noire isn’t just about capturing criminals. This is very much an open world game, you’re free to go wherever you want in this faithfully recreated Los Angeles in 1947, you can tackle more action orienteted side-missions or see the sights like the RKO Theater or the Roosevelt Hotel and you can also find hidden cars which you gives XP. Unlike the original game which looked good, the open world here looks better and the attention to detail is brought to life in ways that the original release wished it had done. Thanks to the extra power inside the Xbox One X, L.A Noire’s open world is brought to life, all the small details that you could usually look over like advertising billboards or how different cars look will look alot better, almost PC-like graphic settings that just brings the world to life.
L.A Noire isn’t a perfect game but there are moments that brings everything together like when multiple storylines converge together that lead to a darker route but more often does the game replicate actual police work which is one of the things that I initially liked about it; it’s repetitive, redundant, and tries to mirror actual police work. However, as a result, the game kind of drags on and overstays it’s welcome. I knew what to expect once I was promoted to the Homicide Desk but that’s maybe because I already played the initial game back in 2011 although the last mission in Homicide was a welcome surprise as I had to go around the city solving puzzles and I dug up a notebook that had all of the locations and clues that I managed to write down in 2011 so I could go through the case a bit more easier without looking up a wikiguide.
Even with it’s issues, L.A Noire is a one of a kind game and one that ultimately comes once under a blue moon. It’s not everyday that you see a game like L.A Noire, it’s not just the acting that makes it shine but the voice acting and the mannerisms of the actors that translate into the game; small details like how the face of an actor changes when he or she is hiding something or how their mouths move. The story however remains the same, it’s a perfect noire story but ultimately it falls short because of that weird ending. There are some stuff in there that is never even talked about like Cole’s wife or his kids, it’s mostly the same stuff that was seen in the original release. L.A Noire has issues but it’s a perfect noire story that is unique up until the ending, it’s also a bold and unique take on gaming which I hope more games of this nature tries to pursue.
I love L.A Noire, it has a unique and perfect noire story with a weak ending and all the pieces come together for a unique and entertaining game although it’s not a perfect 10/10 game. L.A Noire is a fresh and unique take on the medium and offers something fresh and different and ultimately something that may not never come again. It’s a game that everyone needs to try out.