From the now-defunct Team Bondi comes L.A. Noire. Utilizing the very-most advanced facial technology, they were able to bring Cole Phillips rise to glory to life, with very-well done facial acting, as well as phenomenal voice-acting, and an absolutely perfect rendition of Los Angeles, right down to the last spilled can of Cola King (most of the development time went into the amazing detail). Any inconsistency you find here (such as the set of Intolerance being around in 1947, even though the set was destroyed in 1919) was intentional, for rule of cool, so the developers could put you in the coolest historical set-pieces they could imagine.
Cole Phillips is a married man, to both his wife and the force. He is an officer of the law, there to protect the inhabitants of L.A. with little compromise; who is given the chance to rise up in the ranks, and takes it. With each successive desk, you will be greeted by a new partner; conversations with them provide some of the best dialogue in the game (including a conversation about events that may or may not have happened, depending on whether or not you played the DLC), and more thrilling cases, with more badass set-pieces and mysteries. These desks are Traffic, Homicide, Vice, and Arson; two were cut from the final version of the game, as they would have had difficulty fitting it on one Blu-Ray disc (the Xbox 360 version already takes 3 discs); these desks were Bunco and Burglary. Littered around the game’s environment are newspapers which, when picked up, will show a little cinematic, which is absolutely imperative to fully understanding the story. They’re usually not too far off the beaten path, so you would do good to pick them up.
Aside from the story cases, you can also participate in Street Crimes, some random crimes which sometimes tie into earlier cases, which give a perfect excuse to explore this perfect rendition of 1947 Los Angeles. Sleepless nights were put into research, so they could bring us as much detail as they could, when most people won’t see half of it, anyway.
Those nights were also put into perfecting the facial technology that the perfectionists at Team Bondi couldn’t live without. It is as close to real human flesh as video games have ever come to (no, Sega CD games do not count). The realism of the facial twitches is how you can tell if someone is lying during an interrogation. The realism of the faces does make the body look a bit dead by comparison, however.
Depending on what clues you have found, you can ask the interviewee different questions, and judging on your evidence, and their facial expression; you can either believe them, doubt them, or call them liars, and shove the evidence in their face (in case you screw up the accusal of lying, you can back out of it with no reprecussions).
Even though it’s under the Rockstar Games logo, you can’t just screw around like in Grand Theft Auto. You can only pull your gun out in the right circumstances, and it’s really hard (not impossible) to smash into pedestrians with your vehicles. Also, besides the Street Crimes and finding special vehicles and collecting golden reels (both of which are nigh-impossible to do without help from a wiki, and even then…), or just looking at scenery, there’s really not much to do in this town; compared to GTA or Red Dead Redemption, or the real-life L.A. for that matter. You most likely won’t even go into half the town! A little bit more to do, spread over the game-world would have been nice.
Perhaps the best part of this game is it’s soundtrack. From the old-timey music and radio dramas, to the incredible voice-acting, this game’s aural mood is great, and will put you in the mood to solve crimes. At a crime scene, a wonderful little score plays to help with clue-finding (finding every clue is a necessity for getting 100% for your case), as in once the score stops, you’ve found all the clues in that crime scene.
The game plays around with history, such as the identity of The Black Dahlia Killer (AKA The Werewolf), who to this day has never been caught (and you’ll find out why).
Even though they cut out 2 desks, and 11 cases overall to allow the game to fit on one Blu-Ray (and 3 DVDs for Xbox), a couple of cases were removed from the game and repackaged as DLC, one of which is exclusive to the PS3 version, and only available for Xbox via the Complete Edition, which comes with all the DLC, and is the version you should buy.
L.A. Noire is a thrilling police procedural, with a lot of twists and turns, that concludes in a commendable way (especially if you collected the newspapers). It may bore some of the ADHD gamers of the world, but for those who are patient, they may find it rewarding and interesting to play on the opposite side of the law for once.
- $20 ($30 Complete Edition)
My tastes in games breach all genres, though my fortes are platformers and first-person shooters. My favorite game series is probably Super Mario, specifically the 3D games. I also love Rayman, Hitman, Bioshock, Half-Life/Portal, Uncharted, and Grand Theft Auto. As for my favorite game, it's hard to say: I love Portal 2, Shadow of the Colossus, Half-Life 2, Bioshock, Resident Evil 4, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Rayman Legends, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Grand Theft Auto IV, L.A. Noire, Fallout 3, Journey, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence all so damn much.
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