XBox 360 Reviews
L.A. Noire Review (Xbox 360)
By Hector Cortez Apr 17, 2012, 22:46 GMT
L.A. Noire places you in the shoes of LAPD detective Cole Phelps, a war veteran with a knack for busting cases wide open.
Set in 1940s Los Angeles, L.A. Noire places you in the shoes of LAPD detective Cole Phelps, a war veteran with a knack for busting cases wide open. You'll start off as a rookie cop, assigned to menial cases that allow you the opportunity to build your street cred. But before you know it, you'll be promoted to more respected departments and take on cases that require a deeper level of investigative skills.
The goal of the game is to solve cases ranging from theft and missing persons, to drug trafficking and murder. The game’s difficulty is dependent on your performance and each completed case earns you skill points. The better you perform, as determined by the game's star rating system, the easier it'll be to crack the following cases.
The story is told through cut-scene animations presented in a cinematic fashion, complete with performances from actual Hollywood actors including Aaron Staton of Mad Men fame as detective Phelps. Adding to the game's cinematic feel is a technology developed specifically for L.A. Noire called MotionScan. This technology, comprised of 32 cameras, captured every nuance of the actors' faces as they read their lines. Information and footage gathered from these sessions were the basis from which the developers worked. What came of it is an incredibly realistic portrayal of the human face that adds a unique layer of immersion to the game's investigative experience.
Throughout the game you will question suspects either on location or at the police station. The key to a successful case is to observe closely the body language of each suspect. When you ask them a question, do their eyes shift nervously from side to side? Do they suddenly become tense? Perhaps they become agitated and experience slight facial spasms. These reactions affect your questioning and level of intensity. You can choose to be the good cop, never accusing or intimidating the suspect, or you can choose to be the bad cop and risk not being able to solve the case.
An interrogation consists of three possible choices: truth, doubt, and lie. After you have searched a location for clues, you’ll question a suspect and use said clues to gain any valuable information, or better yet, an actual confession. Choosing one of the listed prompts will pressure the suspect to answer truthfully or suspiciously. It’s up to you to decide if the suspect is telling the truth, if you doubt them, or if you flat-out believe they’re lying. The first two options move the investigation forward without extra effort, while the latter option requires you to present an actual piece of physical evidence that proves the suspect’s dishonesty.
The majority of the game consists of arriving at a location, searching for clues, and questioning suspects. To break up this repetitiveness, you can also drive around the city and answer police radio calls. These side missions are fun and easy to complete and serve as a welcome break from the investigative grind. While on radio patrol, you’ll usually respond to robberies or assaults in progress and other crimes where the culprits are caught red-handed, thus requiring no interrogation.
Visually, the game is very impressive. The previously mentioned MotionScan technology is astonishing and is truly a leap forward in video game technology. The facial animations bring to life the characters of L.A. Noire and breathe authenticity into the City of Angels. Streets teem with people and cars, all going about their business. Everywhere you look there is great attention to detail. From the buildings and street signs, to the clothes and vernacular, L.A. Noire delivers a captivating, albeit not completely historically accurate, representation of life in 1940s Los Angeles.
With lots of hours of game play, an immersive interrogation feature, and a large city to explore, L.A. Noire is a game that should not be missed by fans of third-person action games. I highly recommend checking this one out.