Hey guys! Symbo here. I've started up a little blog and I thought I'd share my first review with my favourite forum! The aim of my blog is to take a look at a game after five hours of playtime. I'll try to keep this at least a weekly thing. Hope you guys enjoy.
I thought for my first review I would take a look at the 2011 release; L.A Noire.
L.A Noire is…well a noire styled third-person detective game, developed by Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games. You play as an upstart police officer, Cole Phelps and follow his rise through the Los Angeles Police Department. Now the formalities are done with, into the nitty-gritty.
The first thing I noticed about L.A Noire was its sense of nostalgia. Now I’ve never been to the United States and I certainly wasn’t around in the mid-90s. But this game just radiates atmosphere. The setting, the characters, even the music just screams authenticity. There’s even an option to change the colour setting top black and white (now I’m one for atmosphere but I passed on this). The developers really did do a fantastic job in creating such a believable world.
Any fans of the Grand Theft Auto or True Crime franchises will find this a real hit. What really makes this game stand out is its storyline and the legitimacy of the setting. The episodic nature of the missions (cases, if we’re thinking like detectives here) gives the game a movie-like quality. The introduction to each stage being introduced like a real noire style film (it almost became too cheesy for me).
Players shouldn’t fear that this is just a linear game. Based on your investigating skills and analysis (and a handy little chime at important moments), the outcome of the case can turn out slightly different. Which is really refreshing. Except in the cases where somebody walks and you have your captain shouting at you (particularly Captain Donnelly, voiced by Andrew Connolly…now he scared me into doing things right).
Donnelly Telling Phelps how it is
Getting a good outcome is usually based on picking up meaningless objects (Phelps will verify this) until something important crops up. Another key element is the questioning of witnesses and suspects. You as the player have to decide whether the person is telling the truth or lying, in which case backing it up with evidence if you have any. Now this concept I loved. I liked the idea of catching somebody out and solving a case…however I also found it quite infuriating. Don’t get me wrong, the facial detail of the characters is amazing…but I can’t be the only one to think that they had a 1940s equivalent of a bad curry the night before. Trying to get me to tell whether a character is lying when all I can think they’re guilty of is silently letting one rip.
Should not have eaten that
Now the handling of the game is just like the most recent GTA games. One thing I liked was the fact I could make my partner drive to a particular destination as a mode of fast travel (specifically when it was the mortuary vehicle and listening to their disgust). At times driving myself felt a little clunky…well skiddy to be exact (there may be a little bit of toilet humor popping up around here). Driving was when I’d run into the most graphical errors also. Overall though the gameplay is great and the uniqueness of the cases and occasional side missions kept it from going stale.
Just notice the graphical errors and not my driving please
Now onto the storyline. This game is absolutely full of little treats that help to build the story and the characters in it. Flashbacks of Phelps’s time in the army help to build depth…and depth this game has when it comes to its characters. The dialogue between Phelps and his varying partners as you progress also adds to the story. I’m not talking about your generic NPC sat-nav chatter like; “let’s go this way”, or “I can’t carry anymore” (not that I subject my companions in other games into being my pack mules...except Lydia…). I’m talking about real dialogue and communication. They talk about how the cases went/are currently going, about their lives outside the force, it really added a greater sense of realism to the game. One of my favorite moments has to be when Phelps’s partner Stefan Begowsky doesn't take a particular shine to an arrogant suspect. Turning to Phelps he says “mind if I shoot this guy?” with a smirk on his face. Its little moments like that that really bring the game to life and make it stand out. So sweeping the constipated looks under the toilet cover, L.A Noire has the story, gameplay and looks to hold itself up as a real gem so far for me.
Overall looking back at the time I’ve played, I think to myself…yes I have done a lot of the same tasks. I’ve chased criminals on foot, in cars, questioned queasy looking people, picked up about five bottles on a single crime scene…is it getting repetitive yet through? The answer so far for me is no. The developers really made a game that has the same basic elements, but makes each one feel unique. L.A Noire really delivers as a fantastic game here and I look forward to playing it further.
A parting shot:
Rusty really hated driving this
Take it easy guys! Till next time.