Ok, let’s get this out of the way, to begin with. This isn’t Grand Theft Auto for the 40s. L.A. Noire is not about running over pedestrians. It is a little more highbrow in fact. From the setting through to the story-telling via the gameplay, it all feels fresh, and yet strangely familiar.
Welcome to 1947 Los Angeles. You assume the role of a detective. Solving cases and swigging coffee are your forte, and you’re there to get the job done. You spend most of your time talking to witnesses and searching for clues, trying to solve cases of Arson, Vice and Homicide.
While you can hijack cars and explore the city, the main focus of the game is its strong narrative. This is beautifully complemented by the animation and voice acting. Talking about the animation specifically, Rockstar made use of the impressive MotionScan technology that really captures minute facial expressions, taking virtual acting to another level.
The cutscenes were tightened and more polished than the Grand Theft Auto series too. All of these improvements mean the narrative, was and is, conveyed in a sublime fashion.
But how does the gameplay fair? Well, oddly enough the advanced animation actually becomes crucial here, especially when talking to witnesses. You have to examine witnesses movements and facial expressions when talking to them, trying to figure out if they’re lying. This sort of concentration the game demands only serves to further draw you into the compelling plot.
Comparisons may be drawn with past PlayStation 3 hitter Heavy Rain, in the sense that if you do read the situation wrongly, it can impact your progress within the game. But unlike the BAFTA-winning hit, LA Noire seems to take the complete experience to another level. The action sequences that complement the investigative gameplay work very well too, (as you’d expect from Rockstar).
Even though it felt more like LA Confidential as opposed to film noir, it was an awfully good game (haters begone!).