Review by BGuerrie
"Go Gadget, Go!"
You see, my friend, there ain't no going back, ya' know? This isn't New York City, or the red-dead West. This is !#@#ing Los Angeles, cabish? Yeah, I know, L.A. Noire isn't all about the Mafia and all, but it just felt right.
The minds behind both superb titles; Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto 4, buddy up with Team Bondi (from the director of The Getaway) to invite gamers into a world in Los Angeles, where crimes (mostly murders) with mobsters and serial killers plague the city (as well as deranged husbands). It is up to LAPD knight-crusader, Cole Phelps, to dig up the tarnished-dark clouds that reign over LA.
A former Marine who fought in World War 2, Phelps uses his force experience to join the police department, who eventually gets himself promoted (rather quickly) into a crime investigator. He's presented with murders, shootings, clues, evidence, interrogationit's as if Pubic Enemy met Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.
Before diving into the gameplay, I must say that Rockstar and Bondi have both created a fantastic cast of characters (who are played and modeled after many real-time actors). The cut scenes, acting, and dialogue make this one of the few games epitomize a Hollywood movie. And the music, giving it as it takes place in the 1940's, feels like Tarantino had some producing contribution.
Much like Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, you have an overworld map of the city of LA, though the "sandbox" open world is much smaller and less interactive. Secret cars and side missions (which are catching crooks on the run) give the non-story departments limitation; there's not much else to do then just engaging in the main plot.
The story mode spans itself into three discs. Pretty nifty indeed, though it does take some time to actually jump-start the real action and the narrators' interests. Over the course of the game, the player indulges into crime scenes where you must navigate and search around for clues and solve some mini-puzzles along the way. As cool as it sounds, it gets old rather expeditious than I'd hope for (Example: A woman murder. Next mission: a woman murder). While locating the same clues, interrogating suspects who mostly lie, and discovering many of the same weapons and tools dreary for each scenario.
You will have to ponder frequently, because the game becomes more challenging into solving the mysteries down the road. Some people may enjoy the challenge, but some of the missions get pretty unyielding (many players will find it difficult to get any further without using a FAQ).
Graphic-wise, Noire represents a moderate imagery. Though the characters (the actors) were well polished, environments, cars, and structures appear a generation behind. And for the record, the original Getaway looked better.
Once again, the controls are a fair nay. As with GTA, you have your sprint button, ability to enter/exit cars, etc. Though Rockstar titles' controls haven't been the best, it seems in this game (if all possible) they've gotten worse. Characters freeze when trying to command them into a car or be almost completely unresponsive. Why shall the player operate a person who appears to be drunk? Believe it or not, though, driving a car has been improved.
Another downfall is the AI. They are brainless as Kelsey's nuts. Partners, on occasion, run in front of you, causing you to put a bullet through their chest. Perhaps they deserved it after a while. Enemies who hide behind barricadeswho seem smart at firstdaydream and do nothing as you flank them from the side (as if they can't see you standing next to them two feet away). Although these flaws are somewhat rare, it will happen. The fighting is relatively simplistic: You have a block button and an attack key. Combat is far more deficient then in most Rockstar adventures.
So what the hell, can I stop talking !#$@ about this game? I will. I apologize. This is a good game, but it depends on your flavor. It's the characters that make the game a blast, and its showcase of the Mob and WW2 veterans fight for an unruly theme of fame/greed (or struggle with the past of traumatized events) can make even the most cold-hearted into a hero. Trust me; it's like playing a movie. Some parts drag on a bit (much like many films), but they also have those memorable scenes that everyone talks about.
Interviewing people was the most entertaining part. You have to read and judge people to see if they are telling the truth or not (while also backing up your words from evidence which you carry and find). And, not to spoiling anything, one case in particular (further into the game), the killer has a psychotic twist of a personality. It reminded me of the Joker from The Dark Knight, or a demented Riddler, if you will. And it's unlike many games; it creates something new and its own genre. Gotta' love the effort and respect for that.
If you like to test your mind and solve puzzles (and do the same repetitive missions), this games for you. Rent it and try before you buy. It's rather a love-or-hate ordeal. I'm just saying.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/09/11, Updated 07/11/12
Game Release: L.A. Noire (US, 05/17/11)
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