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LA Noire Review by schlittmehr

This is a discussion on LA Noire Review by schlittmehr within the L.A. Noire forum, part of the L; Unofficial L.A.Noire Review by schlittmehr Basic Information: Developers: Team Bondi and Rockstar Games Publisher: Rockstar Games North American Release Date: ...

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    LA Noire Review by schlittmehr



    Unofficial L.A.Noire Review
    by schlittmehr

    Basic Information:
    Developers: Team Bondi and Rockstar Games
    Publisher: Rockstar Games
    North American Release Date: 17th May 2011
    European Release Date: 20th May 2011
    Trophies: 1 , 4 , 10 and 26

    Overview:
    L.A.Noire is Rockstar's most recent title and is set in post war 1940s Los Angeles. It is labelled as a 'crime thriller', and the player takes the role of War Hero turned Police Officer Cole Phelps as he enters the dark and mysterious world of detective work.


    Gameplay:
    The games style of play is similar to previous titles from Rockstar, and quite early on the player will feel the likenesses to title such as Grand Theft Auto 4 and Red Dead Redemption, however it has been tweaked here and there to provide a much more realistic feel for the time period in which it is set.

    While on foot, the player has the option of walking or running, but is not given the capacity to wield his firearm unless in a necessary situation. This promotes the realism of being a police officer, as one cannot simply shoot passers by in the street as was possible in Grand Theft Auto.

    Players generally will find that they cannot efficiently get around on foot, making the usage of automobiles paramount. The vehicles in this game when first used, have a somewhat difficult to control feel about them, with slight nudges to the analogue sticks producing a reasonably large response, however again, this should be considered as adding to the realism of the fact that the suspension, cornering and weight distribution of a 1947 vehicle may not be as perfected as it perhaps is today.


    realism is important in all aspects of this game

    There are a total of 95 vehicles present around the streets of L.A. in this game, and each has been painstakingly researched before being beautifully modelled for the final product.

    Aside from simply getting around the city, there are three other main areas of the game; 'action sequences' interrogations and clue gathering. I will first analyse the latter:

    As a detective on a case, it is very important to be able to peice together evidence to lead you to the conviction that you need. The mechanics of this in L.A.Noire have not been seen before. When attending a crime scene, Detective Music will play in the background, indicating to the player that clues are present in this area. When searching, chimes will appear within the backing music to indicate that you are near a clue. Once a clue is picked up or observed, it will be commented on by Phelps, who will then add it to the clue section of his notebook, for potential use in latter interrogations.

    Though at first glance this appears a good and sensible way to set up this aspect of the game. Later on, the player will come to realise that if they look around an area of interest long enough they will always find all the clues, perhaps making it slightly too easy. There is an option to discourage this however, as one can simply turn off the musical help.

    The interrogation part of this game is, in my opinion, done very well. Playing off the excellent graphics (which will be discussed later), the player must use their ability to read facial expressions, tone of voice and also to be able to effectively apply the evidence they have collected. It is far from easy even then, and a player must immerse themselves in the story to attempt to crack every case.

    The action sequences are fairly standard and on a par with previous Rockstar games, though the new brawling mechanics are a welcome addition to this title. There is a lack of weapon range, and the guns are a little unbalanced, but it does not overly impact the game due to not being an integral part of the gameplay.

    Singleplayer:
    As this game offers no multiplayer, the singleplayer needs to be up to scratch, and it delivers pretty well. The story is very well put together despite a slightly cliched ending, which I won't give away. It is nicely separated into four different departmental sections so that the player knows exactly what their objectives are from start to finish. It is immersive enough to hold the attention of the gamer until the end, while at the same time not swamping them with information.

    The game is a decent length without falling into the trap of being too long, as I would perhaps say that some previous Rockstar titles have been.

    The characters are very well acted, with a fair few reasonably well known people portraying them. This is helped massively by the new face capture technology employed for this title. You genuinely do find yourself forming opinions about each character as you meet and talk to them, which in my opinion is the mark of good charcter design.

    A big problem with the single player however, is the level variety. Every case, the user needs to do pretty much the same exact thing. Go to a crime scene, find clues, get a lead, find the lead, interrogate the lead. There are nearly 20 story missions, and each one follows this same exact pattern. It is a problem that I suppose must be inherent for a title like this, because realistically speaking that is what would happen on a case. Sadly it does feel a little repetitive, although the deep plotline masks it fairly well.

    Another problem I found with this game was that it marketed as a game which you could play it over and over and not have the same experience twice. When it comes down to it though, you could fail a few interrogations, or miss finding a lead, and then your partner would just say, 'maybe we should investigate here....'. I found this a little annoying because it basically made me feel like I didn't even need to be playing myself, I could have deliberately failed everything and still been able to catch the criminal. I think what needs to rectified for future titles is that it is possible to fail the game if you miss something important.

    Nevertheless a thouroughly enjoyable singleplayer campaign.

    Technical:
    If there is one thing that is absolutely brilliant about this game, it is the technical section. The new facial animation technology is simply extraordinary, and something that we have never seen the like of which in a video game before. Not only during the interrogation scenes, but on every NPC standing on every street corner, the facial acting really is top-notch.


    Incredibly realistic face and voice acting

    The method by which the animations are achieved means that the entire game needs to be proffesionally acted out, making the vocals equally as fantastic.
    The games controls integrate seamlessly with the surroundings, and the textures on the surrounding city of Los Angeles are finished in exquisite detail.

    At the current time, you would be hard pressed to find a prettier game anywhere.


    Trophies:
    The platinum trophy for this game is not too hard, and is enjoyable to earn. There are a couple of collectable trophies which some people may find tiring to achieve. It's not the easiest plat you'll ever get, but it's certainly not the hardest.

    Closing Thoughts:
    On release day I was unsure about what to expect from this game. I was worried that I was simply buying into the hype of the new facial animations at the expense of gameplay, but as it turns out, I got a game that was as playable as Red Dead Redemption and GTA4, and looked even better.
    The game has a few faults to be sure, but not enough to keep you from missing out on a peice of video game history.

    Scores:

    Gameplay: 8/10
    - A few flaws in the system of clue gathering, but otherwise very good

    Singleplayer: 7/10
    - A very deep story and immersive characters cannot entirely mask a slightly repetitive feeling.

    Technical: 10/10
    -Literally the benchmark of computer games!

    Overall: 8.3/10
    Check out my awesome trophy checklist: Platinum Display Cabinet - by schlittmehr


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    Good review, its made me really wanna pick the game up again! I loved the whole feel of the game and now you mention it, I really liked the driving mechanics. It really made it feel like you were driving an older car (Or so I'd imagine)

    I don't completely agree with what you're saying but obviously it's two different opinions. I can see what you mean about repeated missions etc. But I had that much fun playing them that I didn't seem to care too much. The ending however, is another matter. After all of that building up the character I felt a little let down by how rushed the last five or so missions felt, especially in terms of story.

    Well written review, I enjoyed reading it, and I especially agree with the comments on the graphics, they're awesome! Especially the character/facial animations!

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    Very nice review schlittmehr, I have yet to play this game. Always did look like a GTA set in the '40s, but Rockstar has that style of games, which they develop incredibly.

    This review does make me want to pick the game up (as I believe it is quite cheap now) and try for myself.

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    Overall I give it a 9.0

    Very solid from top to bottom, yes it has a few flaws (but don't most of them all), I love the style. era, voice acting, the cinematic look, of the game very top notch.

    You are a crime scene investigator, you go to a crime scene, and investigate it, and try to figure out who done it. And for some this can be to repetitive, but so far I have loved every second of it. I love shows like CSI and if you get down to the nuts and bolts of the show, your doing the same thing over and over but it's still good as hell.

    If your looking to play something different, then give it a shot. But if your looking for GT4 in the 40's, then this ain't it. It's more like Heavy Rain with some live action senescence's thrown in.

    I would highly recommend it, for me it's been nothing but superb so far.

    L.A. Noire has quickly become one of my favorite games.
    Last edited by JD-WELLS48; 07-19-2012 at 01:30 PM.



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