Craig Baker On May - 18 - 2011

After nearly eight years in development the time has finally come and we as gamers get to play the 1940’s detective epic that is LA Noire. There aren’t going to be many opportunities for us as gamers to experience a completely new genre of gaming. LA Noire offers this and much more in a familiar style of gameplay. Noire may be an open world game, but it is nothing like its GTA counterpart or last years smash hit Red Dead Redemption.

In LA Noire you play as Cole Phelps, a decorated World War II veteran and a young beat cop on the rise. You begin your journey as a relative noob on the job as you walk the beat playing a uniformed police officer. Things start to change quickly for Cole as he gains notoriety for his ability to put the pieces together from a crime scene and incredible interrogation skills. After solving a couple of murders you get a promotion and a new partner and begin working as a detective within the Los Angeles Police Department.

What LA Noire does different from other Rockstar titles is that it’s much more narrative driven. There is a great story to be told and Team Bondi didn’t want us straying to far off course. So if the elements of GTA like being able to do whatever you want than Noire might not be for you. You don’t go out bowling or playing pool with your cousin Roman and you certainly don’t go around shooting civilians for the fuck of it. But that isn’t to say you can’t do a bit of exploring. The boys over at Team Bondi have done an incredible job recreating 1940’s Los Angeles. You can drive around all 8 square miles of this marvelous city. Playing the game almost makes me wish I was from LA just so I could visit the street I lived on and see what certain areas looked like back in the day.

Other than the main story which should take around 15-20 hours to complete there are 40 side missions which are street crimes. You receive these missions as you drive around the city over your car radio. These can involve anything from bank robberies, suicide jumpers, and a man wearing a pot on his head to block radio waves from seeing his thoughts while beating a gas station attendant to death with a baseball bat. All of the side missions only take but a few minutes to complete, but some of them are rather memorable. You can also go around and find collectibles in the city to extend the life of the game and replaying missions to get a perfect score is important if you plan on getting all the achievements.

Enough really can’t be said about the graphics in this game. The character models faces are stunning. Rockstar has set the bar and over the next few years I would expect nothing less than this type of technology being in every game. There is so much information from the graphics alone that the game spans over 3 discs on the Xbox 360 version while the PS3 is on a single blu ray. I am reviewing the 360 version and I have noticed a few times where the frame rate dipped and some tearing was visible. I have installed all three discs to my hdd and it took up over 20 gigs of space. I can’t speak for the PS3 version as to whether these graphical hiccups are taking place, but hopefully this can be sorted out down the line with a patch.

When it comes to the audio side of things LA Noire comes up aces in all categories. The voice acting is top notch and probably some of the best ever to be featured in a video game. Smooth jazz and other music of the 1940’s fills the air creating a beautiful atmosphere to immerse yourself in. All the cars and weapons also sound great, with one exception. As part of my pre order bonus I received a code for the Chicago Piano Gun which is basically a Thompson with a drum magazine. The first time I pulled it from the trunk of my car and fired it the audio never stopped playing. I reloaded the gun and then threw it on the ground but the audio glitched or something and I repeatedly had to hear the gun firing until I restarted the disc.

Overall I have to say I am really enjoying LA Noire. Rockstar games have been getting better with each title they put out and it’s the same this time around. I do recognize that this game isn’t for everybody, but if you ever wanted to be “that guy” who solves murders and gets the bad guy at the end of the day than LA Noire is for you. I for one love watching police dramas like Law and Order or CSI, so far me this game is right up my alley. You can pick up LA Noire now for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in America. If you live in the UK or anywhere else in Europe you will have to wait until Friday the 20th to get your hands on this goodness.

Review

ProsCons
Beautifully recreated 1940's Los Angeles, Amazing Graphics, Intense and Rich StorytellingA few graphical bugs, Cases can become repetitive
Rating
98%
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