Earlier in the week I had posted a brief early thought on Rockstar’s latest hit LA Noire. My early thoughts were mired in speculation and awe. It was tough to decipher the actual intent of the game. Typically you play an outcast who ends up caught in between two worlds in some way having to choose between the two or something like that, that’s your GTA series in a nut shell. Or you play the guy who is trying to make up for past mistakes, RDR. But this game has you as a war hero cop. A strange development for Rockstar. Do they hit the home run or miss the mark? I’ll tell you in this spoiler free review.
LA Noire is one of the most hyped up games possibly of all time, I say this due to the technical advancements we can see here, the facial capturing and what not. This game boasts the full arsenal of Rockstar’s talents. Let’s start with the pros of the game.
The dialogue is typical Rockstar writing style. The only difference is that it is tailored to the time period which they do well in other games like RDR. Is the game’s dialogue the best part? Of course not. But you can figure out everything you need to based on the dialouge. From time to time you have to read between the lines very carefully. The thing though is with the writing, mainly the spoken words is that the facial expressions go hand in hand with it. But we aren’t jumping that ship yet, I want to stay focused on one part of the game at a time.
Since we are talking writing let’s talk story. The game doesn’t have one main story precisely. You get the backstory in flashbacks after cases, any plot development happens in nice cut scenes but we don’t get a full on story. You have certain elements established from desk to desk, such as the morphine and the Doctor and other characters. Most of the story is developed in newspapers that you collect in each case for a total of 13 in all.
Each desk is designed to either weave one large grandiose tale or just be several small serials. The point of it is once you get past the fact that the story is nothing like GTA then you can accept it for what it truly is. The game is trying to recreate (in it’s own mocking way) the old cop dramas of old. Each case plays out like a cop movie. There is the typical investigation following the actual crime and it feels certainly like a movie.
The first desk you go through is the Traffic desk. All of the crimes here involve a car accident or something similar to it. It’s only a few cases before you get the big gig, homicide. What I really like about this desk is that they play in to history in this desk. The Black Dahlia murders seemingly play out right in front of you and just when you think that the one case is closed it turns out you were wrong and are lead on a goose chase to get the real killer.
After homicide is Ad Vice. This desk felt really short as you peddled a drug ring around that was tied into the mob. Unfortunately nothing ever comes of this development as you are demoted to Arson before wrapping up the whole mob for the drugs that are on the street. Arson plays out uniquely because the whole thing blows up into the last segment of the game and the ultimate conclusion.
I really think a huge con though of the game is the ending. It feels like a cop out and it really doesn’t do much for the gamer other than frustrate them. Multiple reviews have stated that the end is weak, and that it isn’t as amazing as it should have been. But then again if you think about it, it’s supposed to be lame and corny. Oh well.
The graphics are what you would expect out of a game of this caliber. It literally looks like a step below the awesome graphics that were RDR but it feels on par with GTA IV. Maybe that’s just me. Fortunately I don’t place high faith in graphics for games that are multiconsole. The City of Angels looks beautiful as you zip on by in whatever 1940’s vehicle you are driving at the time and I think that’s what really matters. I found myself getting into multiple accidents because sometimes I was just staring at the scenery as compared to actually looking at the road.
The way the faces look through the game is probably the most impressive thing about it. You get reactions to accusations as well as if they are withholding evidence or anything from you. As you sit there and stare at the almost perfectly shaped and molded human faces you have to wonder how much money they sank into this. As I went about doing investigations I was aghast with how many times I was wrong with doubting them or what not because I went by the evidence and sometimes just by the facial expressions. Rockstar has seemingly captured the human essence in a game like this that just seems like it would flop if it weren’t for that.
The gameplay gets a tad repetitive at a certain point but it’s not as bad as it is with some of games. Why? Well you have 21 story cases and they tend to play out the same everytime. This isn’t like a typical Rockstar game where you can run around with a gun in your hand and fire away like a crazy retard. No you only have a gun when the game dictates it to be so. With that being the case at times it feels like the game is holding your hand and walks you through the entire thing but that’s okay sometimes the cases just feel a bit more compelling than you would think.
So it seems Rockstar has made a hit if you ignore the shoddy ending and the short duration of the game (I got about 80% of everything done in the game within 24 hours) but it’s still a fun romp to say the least. My original vote was to hand the game an 8 but it has the ability to be replayed, although you will solve the case no matter what at least you can do it differently each time. LA Noire gets a nice solid 8.9/10 from this satisfied gamer. Maybe they should make the DLC free to make our wallets not cry in agony.