Developer: Team Bondi
Platform: PlayStation 3 / XBOX 360
Genre: Historical Police Procedural Action Adventure
OFLC Rating: MA
LA Noire is a game that dramatically reinvents a classical genre from the eighties and nineties, the “Point & Click” Adventure or (more commonly known as) Quest Games. This game was built using the same engine used for the recent Grand Theft Auto installments and plays in a similar fashion for the most part. However expecting to jump into Noire and play a 1947 themed GTA as a cop and you will find yourself failing to appreciate the game to its fullest degree. Unlike GTA where you a free to roam an open world environment at your leisure, you will find yourself progressing from case to case in progressive linear fashion. However during cases you will practically have full access to the open world of (recreated) 1947 Los Angeles where you have the opportunity to attend dispatch callouts. That is about as far a the similarities between Noire and GTA go. For the most part of the game you will be questioning suspects and witnesses alike, along with performing your fair share of crime scene investigations. Like the Grand Theft Auto games you will be presented with a rich story and a cast of well developed characters (no to mention the actors voicing them). LA Noire puts you in the shows of the good cop Cole Phelps whom you will see ascend from the beat to major case detective, which is played out over five different departments or “Desks”. As indicated before the story is set in Post World War II Los Angeles (1947) and you will be present throughout the story with clips from Cole’s past. When you are questioning (witnesses and suspects) you can respond in one of three ways with the corresponding button press – Truth, Doubt and Lie. To explain this here’s an reference for each one. Follow (Truth) further into what the witness/suspect is saying. Confront (Lie) with the appropriate evidence if the suspect/witness is lying. Push (Doubt) suspect/witness for the truth when you know their lying and have no real evidence to prove that.
You may be wondering how is that possible (aside from listening/reading what is being said). Noire uses advanced motion capture technology that reproduces facial expressions of the actors, giving you a close to lifelike experience when interacting with others. After a few face to face conversations, you will eventually develop a knack for reading peoples faces. When someone is being honest, the will generally look you in the eyes and keep a consistent tone when speaking. On the other hand when they’re lying, people will not keep consistent eye contact. Noire’s motion capture you will see every emotion as you would in reality, especially when there is action.
Like Grand Theft Auto you have a degree of combat sequences, in Noire these commonly unfold where perpetrators are resisting arrest. Unarmed fight sequences are quite interesting and relatively fluid, given that the character uses boxing and a couple of judo techniques. However firefights are by far the most satisfying with some fairly simple aim and cover mechanics with some serious gunplay. Though these combat sequences can be shot in most cases they are surprisingly satisfying.
Driving is a lot like GTA as it used for general transportation and various pursuits. Like GTA you can in fact take other vehicles not belonging to you, but instead of stealing your character identifies himself as police and officially commandeers the vehicle, although if you’re looking to reach for a weapon from the trunk of your car sticking with Police vehicles is the best option. While driving during cases you will receive random calls from dispatch (via radio) in relation to a disturbance in which you are prompted to respond, but can easily ignore if you so choose. For those who like to get from “Point A” to “Point B” quickly as possible, there is a “Quick-Travel” option by way of pressing and holding the Interact button on the car your entering in which your partner will drive at your request, however you will not be able to respond to call-outs.
Like any roleplaying game Noire has an experience system in which accumulates with everything you do thereby progressing in level. Whilst on the subject of RPG this game has unlockable outfits which grant your character with certain buffs, for example the “Chicago Lightning” (reward for joining Rockstar Social Club) offers increased accuracy with Thomspon SMG, BAR and Shotguns.
LA Noire summed up is very much like a well presented interactive motion picture offering a rich story. This is a game definitely well worth hunting for especially if you are a connoisseur of “Quest” games and Film Noire.