It seems like each year Rockstar continues to push the envelope. Last year we saw one of the most impressive open world games ever in Red Dead Redemption. It would also be counter intuitive not to mention the immense success of their Grand Theft Auto franchise. However there was a ton of questions surrounding this years big release L.A. Noire a sort of side step in their open world gaming dominance. Does Rockstar have the talent to pull it off? Read our full review to find out.
The fact of the matter is I have never played a game like L.A. Noire and chances are unless we may not again for a while, which after my countless hours with the game is a real shame. L.A. Noire has you take the roll of Cole Phelps (who you may recognize if you watch the TV show “Mad Men”) and his journey through the ranks of the L.A.PD. You start with him recently returning from the war and starting his career in L.A.w enforcement during a very dark time in the history of Los Angeles.
Much of the game follows a pattern. You get a case from the boss, visit the crime scene and look for clues, follow up on leads, interview witnesses, and try and solve the case. The crux of the game however is in the crime solving and more importantly the interrogations. Rockstar is using brand new facial recognition software that is downright amazing. It is with the use of this technology that the game tasks you with trying to determine the truthfulness of those that you are interviewing.
I really figured that there would be a “game” tell that would make it easy to see if the person your interviewing is telling the truth or not, but that is far from the truth. There was so many times that I felt passionately that a person was lying and was far from it. The game however doesn’t have this be a stopping point as you can still solve the case even if you don’t get all the answers right. This formula is incredible and works beautifully with an extremely immersive story.
Although L.A. Noire takes place in an open sandbox style system it isn’t huge on emphasizing exploration like in a GTA or Red Dead title. Instead the game follows a much stricter narrative and works beautifully. You do have the ability to take on 40 side missions while your driving from different areas in the game that are great ways to earn intuition points which help make better decisions during interrogations.
All in all I cannot say enough about what is a very unique video game experience. It’s not a GTA Copy in L.A. nor is it a Heavy Rain clone. This is a very unique and well-developed title that is very heavy on both narrative and discovery two things that are done to near perfection.
One of the areas that I thought the game could have used a bit more work was in the visual department. First off the facial motion capture technology that went into this game was incredible. I have never in my years of reviewing video games seen such a well-implemented feature in a video game. Everything else in the game looks good but nothing stands out with as much detail as we saw in a game like Red Dead Redemption.
I literally had no idea what to expect from L.A. Noire. It just never seemed like this was in Rockstars wheelhouse when they talked about it during the development. However within a few minutes of pL.A.ying the game you could see right away that this was something special. The game is not only one of the best narrative driven games it is just so different then anything else on the market today. When we have just an absolute ton of shooters out there this brings an even more breath of fresh air.
L.A. Noire is not a game for everyone. For those expecting a GTA style experience then you may be disappointed with the outcome. However if your open to a new experience then this is one game that you shouldn’t miss.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.