Home Icon
LA-Noire-01

L.A. Noire

By Max Everingham | 10:45 am 10/06/2011

L.A. Noire, an action adventure game from the people who brought us GTA, is not your usual videogame fare. More exploration and discovery than run and gun, you play most of the game as a rookie detective freshly returned from a harrowing wartime experience, investigating crime scenes, collecting evidence and subsequently questioning suspects.

Most of the challenge lies in this last part; the interrogations have ‘branches’, with the option for the player to tag answers as  ‘lie’, ‘doubt’ or ‘truth’. A musical tone indicates whether you’ve chosen the correct path and the action – the dialogue in particular – plays out slightly differently for each response.

The game’s most outstanding feature is the extraordinary facial animation, with bodily movements that almost keep up, which looks utterly convincing. So confident is developer Rockstar that the virtual actors’ animation is accurate, the game forces the player to pay proper attention to the expressions of your suspects during interviews to determine whether they’re telling the truth or not.

While some of the visual clues can lack subtlety, there’s still a knack to watching your suspects as you question them, delving into your notebook to produce the correct bit of evidence and laying your findings out, which goes far beyond most games of this nature. You can restart a case you mess up, if you’d like to take another crack at it, although the checkpointing will place you right back at the very beginning – and, of course, the in-game stats counter keeps track of your failures regardless.

Aside from the ‘meat’ of the crime solving to complete, there are landmarks, film reels and newspapers to discover, 95 cars to drive and 40 incidental street crimes to tackle. That all results in about 25 hours’ gameplay, maybe a little more if you complete all the street cases – to give an idea, the game was showing 20% complete at the three hour mark, 70% at 17 hours and, for me, about 23.5 hours when all cases were complete.

The script is involving and entertaining and as good, if not better, than most of the filler on TV these days. I switched to a TV show after a few hours’ play and spent the next 30 minutes pondering the clues of the case I’d just left back in the L.A. Noire game!

Replay value, however, is questionable, as the case-based gameplay plays out the same way each time, save perhaps for the questions you didn’t ask the first time around, doing things in a different order or varying camera angles of the same scene. But these differences are largely cosmetic and wouldn’t motivate most players to play them through again.

The mechanics of playing the game aren’t innovative and become pretty routine after the first couple of hours – most of the cases seem to follow the same pattern of a woman victim venting her disappointment with her husband by propping up bars before being horribly murdered – but that’s not what this game is about.

The appeal is in the storytelling; not just the amazing visuals but the convincing script, which in my view is an early warning shot across the bows of Hollywood regarding the direction that movies will take in the future, where it will be possible to dispense with ‘live’ actors entirely.  Rockstar is already ahead of the game with downloadable content, too, making new weapons, clothing and, most critically, cases available now and over the next few months, which should assist with longevity.

L.A. Noire is not as free-roaming as GTA, but it’s an immersive and compelling gaming experience that is unlike anything you’ll have played.

 

Comments are closed.

Price (RRP)

$109.95

Ratings

Overall

Performance

Design

Longevity

Latest reviews

  • Review: KEF M200 in-earphones

    If there’s one thing KEF understands, it’s audio, with the company producing some of the best speakers we’ve ever heard. Unfortunately, we can’t carry big speakers everywhere we go,…
  • Review: Jawbone Up 2

    Need a bit of help getting in shape? Jawbone hopes to have the answer in an update to its Up 24, with the new sequel, the slimmer Up 2.
  • Review: Samsung Gear VR for Galaxy S6/S6 Edge

    With the upcoming releases of the consumer-ready Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive, virtual reality is about ready for use by regular people. Samsung is there now, though, and…
  • Oppo's 4.85mm thin R5 smartphone reviewed

    Apple may lead the smartphone wars with the iPhone, but Oppo is challenging the big A for some inventiveness, finding a way to make mobiles slimmer than ever with…
  • Review: LifeProof FRE Power for iPhone 6 (battery case)

    Smartphone batteries tend not to go for longer than a day, and Apple’s iPhone 6 is no exception, but the latest case from accessory maker LifeProof isn’t just about…
  • Review: Beats Solo 2 Wireless headphones

    Beats has one of those interesting reputations. Kids and young people love ‘em, while the older generation can’t stand them, but the latest pair tries to win over all…
  • Review: Toshiba Satellite Radius L10W

    Smaller computers are ideal for students and people on the go, and when they’re also technically tablets, they can be even better. Is Toshiba’s Radius L10W a hybrid worthy…
  • Review: LG 65 inch Prime 4K UHD TV

    It's not enough to have a big screen, and this year LG's 4K TVs are about more colours, fast operation, and sharp visuals. Does it succeed?
  • Review: HP Spectre X360

    HP's Spectre was one of the surprise laptops from last year, and a return for HP to the quality laptop space. Can the latest generation of Spectre keep the…
  • A comfortable evolution: LG's flagship G4 reviewed

    LG's 2015 flagship is here boasting a large Quad HD display in a smallish body, a camera with manual controls, and a leather back. Can the G4 tackle the…

“How do you stop yourself from being caught out by these scam artists?”

Read More

Tell us…

Which smartwatch are you interested in buying?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

“There’s certainly no doubt that you can find a bargain, but like always, you get what you pay for.”

Read More