Possibly my most anticipated game of 2011, LA Noire is the latest effort from Rockstar – the same guys responsible for the seminal Grand Theft Auto series and last year’s old western smash, Red Dead Redemption.
With Rockstar having already brought us games set in a variety of settings (an 80s Miami Vice inspired city, the old west and, um, a boarding school), 1940s LA seems like a natural fit for them.
They have proved themselves capable of handling large environments, both modern and old, so it’s understandable that they would want to try their craft at a genre quite often overlooked in the gaming world.
LA Noire is very much a labour of love.
The attention to detail is quite frankly staggering and visually the game is nothing short of breath taking.
From the cars to the outfits, the developers have done their homework here – making sure that the game provides an authentic and cinematically realistic experience.
The game puts you into the shoes of beat cop, Cole Phelps (no relation to Fred Phelps) and sees you progress with your crime fighting career as you get promoted through the ranks, solving cases as you go.
Being a detective story, the game features a lot of investigating. From examining crime scenes, corpses and interrogating people, with each case there is plenty for you to consider. The game quite often requires you to put two and two together and regularly requires you to use your head more than you firearm.
Reading people’s reactions during interrogations is a lot of fun – with each answer, the game gives you the option to believe them, doubt them or just label them a liar.
Unfortunately however, Cole’s questioning can quite often be a bit tougher than expected and on numerous occasions my Cole made some fragile individuals cry when I merely doubted their answers – on one occasion he accused a grieving woman of having no alibi!
It’s not all investigation though. Scattered through out the game are various side missions to complete. Answering calls, you’ll more often than not find yourself chasing down petty thieves, capturing them or either gunning them down.
The cases themselves also have a fair bit of action – gun fights, fisticuffs, the usual thing for a homicide detective. Being a Rockstar game, if you’re familiar with the Grand Theft Auto series, then you’ll have no trouble here.
Musically, the game hits all the right notes and plays an important part during the investigation process. When examining crime scenes, the music will stop playing once you have discovered all the clues and play a little cue that serves as a reminder that your work in the area is done. It also gives the game a certain TV movie of the week feeling.
All in all, LA Noire is quite a solid, character driven game that blends the best elements of the likes of Heavy Rain and throws them into the Rockstar sandbox blender.
If you’ve not managed to check it out yet, you really don’t want to find yourself guilty on missing out on this little gem.
Verdict: 8.5 out of 10
Familiar thanks to Rockstar’s previous games
Questioning can be off
Takes a little while to get going