Thursday, May 22, 2014

L.A. Noire

"In the Marine Corps, you deal with a chain of command. You know what you're fighting for and that you're on the same team. You never know if the guy you're talking to is on the pad, or whether it's your partner, or maybe even the watch commander. So who do you trust Cole?"

Yes, I know the game is old, but I prefer older games, so meh. ;p


The story of L.A. Noire is not at first apparent, in the beginning it's mostly told through newspapers you can find scattered around LA. The game places in 1947 L.A. as Officer Cole Phelps, a rookie cop, you are charged with investigating a murder with your partner. It quickly becomes apparent that Phelps has a keen eye for investigation work.

Phelps is charged with more cases, as well as promotions for his excellent case solving abilities, until he learns that members of his old Marine Corp group are being hunted and assassinated for seemingly unknown reasons. Phelps then begins investigating the slayings of his old unit, finding that money and personal gain in LA have more influence than anything else.


L.A. Noire made a huge leap in graphics in games, they used some high end tech to not simply make face, but to replicate them using something called MotionScan, which uses several cameras (up to 32) taking images of the actor and allows a incredibly accurate 3D image to be displayed, motion and all. This is why Noire focuses so much on people's subtle facial expressions during investigations.

Phelps' actor, Aaron Staton and Cole Phelps
While faces are obviously superb, probably the best I've EVER seen in a game, other areas shouldn't be forgotten. I've never really stopped to stare at the side of a wall on Noire, but in the passing, I can tell they are solid (no pun), the graphics in Noire are pretty solid and if a sequel is made for next gen (current gen), I'm sure we won't even be able to tell the difference (it's already hard with some games).

Staton in the MotionScan room


The controls in L.A. Noire are bland, you use X/Square to talk, dodge in fights and talk to your partner, A/X
is used to investigate clues and punch, Y/Triangle is to get in a car and grapple.... pretty standard stuff, nothing worth noting. Here's a layout for reference (it's Xbox, but you can figure it out on the PS3 by looking at it too).


Voice acting is very well done, as it should be, there are literally several hours of VO. Some parts seem out of place due to changes in wording in the game (like Phelps when he 'Doubts' someone, sounds like he is yelling at them, this was because 'Doubt' was originally 'Coerce').

Gun shots, engine sounds and ambient sound effects are a par for the course, as they are with most other games. They won't stand out much, maybe a few things here and there, but nothing special.


There are many collectibles in the game, so if your aim is a full 1,000 or a Platinum, keep a list handy, you'll need it. Unlike previous Rockstar games, there's no online, so no need to grind to the highest rank, though there is a Achievement/Trophy for reaching the highest in Single Player, though this is easy if you are aiming for the other Achievements/Trophies, so no worries.

The game is not very action packed, it IS a crime investigation game, so don't expect a bunch of gun fights and fisticuffs.

The city of L.A. was replicated quite well, the designers used aerial photos (as well as still photos like those below) taken by Robert Spence in the 1920's to design the city of L.A. Noire, obviously adding a few things here and there to exercise some creativity.

Hall of Records circa 1946
Hall of Records in Noire

RKO Hillstreet circa 1945
RKO Hillstreet in Noire

When the game is finished, you can use the Case Select to replay cases to get a higher rating (for the all 5 star award, or to find certain weapons and vehicles), there's also Free Roam, where you can explore and do Street Crimes at your leisure.


L.A. Noire CAN be a bunch of fun if you give it a chance, the lack of free choice, or the lack of side-effects of being wrong, are a tad disappointing, but aren't a game breaker.


- Amazingly accurate facial construction
- Great VO
- Fun story (when you actually start piecing it together)

- Story DOES take a while to become apparent
- Little to no replay value
- Investigations can sometimes be repetitive