L.A. Noire is the most original, innovative, and praise worthy game i have played in a long time. Team Bondi and Rockstar have out done themselves, making one of the best and most thrilling stories combined with outstanding gameplay and all wrapped in a super polished package.
Noire has you taking the role of Cole Phelps an LAPD officer in his rise from standard issue cop to star detective. You do this by solving cases, convicting people, and slowly moving from Traffic department to Homicide, Vice, and Arson. Allthe while you will slowly getting glimpses into Phelps dark past in World War II. You will also want to pick up every Newspaper you find, each will give you a glimpse into a sub plot that wont seem important until the final hours of the game. As you solve crimes you will find that all is not as it seems and many cases may just be connected, and only you can put together the evidence to find the real criminal. In your career you will see crime, corruption, good cops, bad cops, love and disaster. And Noire has one of the best endings i have seen in a long time, leaving you on your ass wondering how it all could have happened like it did.
Like most of Rockstars games Noire is an open world style game, however its 100% liner, there are no side missions to do, you are mostly driving from place to place solving the case at hand. However while driving from place to place you may hear an emergency ove the police radio you can chose to respond to. There are 40 of these street crimes and they offer a nice break from the repetition of the main gameplay.
Core game play in Noire comes down to finding clues, interrogation, and the occasional shootout or chase. Clue hunting is simple, you walk around and hit X when you feel your controller vibrate. Things like hairbrushes or magazines wont be of much help but a message scribed on the back of a picture might be the key to the case. You will come across many names and clues in each case and Phelps keeps them all in his handy dandy notebook. This tool will prove to be invaluable and many times i had forgotten one clue or name. It is also worth noting that everything said in the game can be found in the start menu under Log, this is super helpful if you miss something someone just said,
Interrogation is where Noire shines, the amazing facial capture technology means that every face you speak to is as close to human as we have seen in games. You ask a question, and the person responds. You then can chose between Truth, Doubt, or Lie. If you call a lie you need evidence to back it up or the person will lock up and you may be screwed. The same is true if you believe them and they are lying. Doupt is for when you know they are lying but don't have proof. Some suspects are super easy to read, and others have poker faces that will have you scratching your head. When you get a question right you will unlock new evidence in your case, but if you get one wrong you wont ever get a second chance. This lead to me quickly quiting the game and going back in to dodge the auto save and try an interrogation a second, third, and even fourth time.
There is also a super useful feature for Social Club members. Called Intuition you get 1 intuition point as you level up in the social club mechanic. You can spend these points at any time by either showing all clues on your map, elimination one of the 3 interrogation options during a question, or in a SUPER COOL who wants to be a millionaire esc move you can see what the community chose, this will dipsaly a percent next the Truth Doupt and Lie buttons depdning on how other players have played.
Chases are frequent, suspects just dont want to go to jail. Foot chases are simple and will have you following the person until you tackle them down, get sucker punched into a fist fight, or if your really good fire a warning shot freezing them in place.
There are also times where diplomatic solutions fail and you are in a shootout, during these times Noire uses the same cover based shooting we have seen in GTA IV and RDR. However these are few and far in between, this is a game about being a detective not Niko. You are also an LAPD officer and as such any damage you do to cars, the city, or pedstirans will count AGAINST your final case score. No rampaging across LA.
L.A. Noire looks good, really good. The 1950's LA has been painstakingly recreated and every inch fits the setting. Characters are fleshed out, feel real, and look even realer thanks to the crazy motion capture done on the faces. Noire looks damn good.
Noire is a big big game. It takes 3 discs on Xbox, and fills the blue ray disc to the brim on PS3. In fact it is so big theytook out parts to be implemented into DLC. It took me about 3 and a half days to beat Noire, and thats playing from waking up to going to bed, and skipping a good ammount of the 40 street crimes. This game will give you your moneys worth and then some.
My final game time for Noire was: 17 Hours 39 Minutes 20 seconds
Like any puzzle game Noire wont be as good the second time through as you will have the answers, and know who done it. However you will probably want to go back and play again to get all the clues, get all the answers out of people, and collect some of the games hidden goodies. Its also worth noteing that you an completely skrew up a case and send the wrong guy to jail. At the end of the case you will get an ear full from your boss, get a one star on your case file, and look like a moron. You can replay any cases via the menu if you want.
L.A. Noire is trying to do something different from most games, exploring an unknown genera and showing new waysgames can tell stories. It shares this element with two of my favorite games, Portal 2 and Heavy Rain. Like Portal 2 as you solve puzzles you feel smart, and accomplished when you solve a case, and much like in Heavy Rain its satisfying to find out who done it, with what, and why. These elements make Noire special and regardless of its final rating or your prior impressions of the game i would encourage everyone to try Noire of themselves. Its not another copy paste FPS, its not another copy and paste platfomer or GTA clone. This is an innovative game and deserves your attention becauseits games like this ladys and gentelman that will push the video game industry forward and challenge what gaming as a and media can give us.
- It seems Noire has a black and white mode option in the menu, most Noire films are black and white and many are saying the game is actually better in black and white, while i didnt play with it on i figured i would let people know.
Overall Score: 8.5 out of 10