LA Noire review: Approach this game as an interactive movie, not as an open world
- Facial expressions on characters are extremely convincing
- Excellent storyline and script
- Cutscenes leave you wanting more
- Lack of freedom
- Evidence gathering and action sequences can sometimes be a bit bland
LA Noire is a groundbreaking game with a gripping story and beautiful presentation that should be appreciated more as an interactive movie than an open world game.
Price$ 108.00 (AUD)
When I began this review, I was ready to let it rip and rant on about how disappointed I was with LA Noire. It had not met my lofty expectations for a detective game despite using new gaming technology in a groundbreaking way.
I was hungry for a game where I would spend hours roaming the city, sniffing out clues and somewhat obsessed with the idea that LA Noire did not provide enough of the “open world” fun I was yearning for.
But a comment from a friend made me approach the game in a whole new light.
“I think you’ve missed the point,” my friend said. “LA Noire isn’t about being an open world game. It’s first and foremost an interactive movie.”
Having been a fan of the GTA series, it was hard to imagine Rockstar producing anything but open world games with ample amounts of freedom. But my friend’s words struck a chord. Because I did think LA Noire was a fantastic interactive movie.
Not only does it feature some of the best graphics technology to make it into a game, it also features better acting — yes, not just voice acting — than most movies, let alone games.
The facial expressions and natural body movements of characters in LA Noire — which have been heavily marketed — are truly captivating. Often I would find myself going “Wow” while watching a character’s face muscles twitch while trying to remind myself this is just a game. I was utterly sucked in by how convincing it was and found myself longing to watch the next cutscene.
With that in mind, I decided to embark on a second attempt at reviewing LA Noire.
LA Noire is set after World War II, in 1947. You control Cole Phelps, a decorated war veteran with a strong sense of justice who has returned home and joined the LAPD. Starting off as a patrolman, you quickly ascend the ranks, eventually working in the Homicide department in pursuit of a serial killer dubbed “The Black Dahlia”.
Phelps is determined to wage a war on crime in LA. But soon realises that some wars just can't be won.
Team Bondi and Rockstar have done a great job with creating 1947 Los Angeles. The environment feels visceral and it was as though I had stepped back in time. The often misogynistic and racist lines uttered by some characters also help with that.
I would expect nothing less from Rockstar. Red Dead Redemption has certainly upped the ante when it comes to immersive worlds.
In terms of graphics, it is hard to fault LA Noire. It doesn’t shy away from the gory details, especially in the homicide missions where Phelps is confronted by stark naked female bodies with blood on their faces. In a lot of ways, LA Noire is reminiscent of Heavy Rain; both games are very much about hunting down clues and chasing down leads to solve a mystery (well in LA Noire's case, mysteries) punctuated with some action sequences. In fact, there was even bit in LA Noire featuring paper cranes which instantly made me think of Heavy Rain's Origami Killer.
A case in LA Noire usually follows the same pattern: A crime is committed. Phelps investigates the scene to collect evidence by interacting with objects pertinent to the case. You can’t miss them since the controller will vibrate when Phelps is close to the limited number of objects he can pick up and inspect. Important points are recorded in a notebook that players can access at any time.
This will then lead to finding people of interest to interview. Players have to determine whether an interviewee is lying by reading his or her facial expressions or through presenting irrefutable evidence. The three selectable options are Truth, Doubt and Lie. Picking the right option will determine whether an interviewee will give you more information that can help with a case.
Intuition points earned through solving cases and can be used when you need some help with interrogating witnesses that are hard to read or if you have hit a wall while hunting for clues.
Team Bondi has done an excellent job replicating the human face and its nuances through MotionScan technology. It seems every muscle on the face have been carefully programmed to mirror a real human countenance.
In other words: Holy crap, it looks like a real human face! You might see some recognisable faces as well, such as John Noble, Erika Heynatz and Brian Krause — Phelps himself is based on the face of Mad Men actor Aaron Staton.
Being able to observe the nuances of people’s faces is the highlight of the crime solving aspect of LA Noire. The rest of the gameplay is fairly straightforward and not too challenging.
Take evidence gathering for example. Sure you can inspect a corpse, but you are restricted to looking at three to four points on the body. Objects Phelps can interact with are limited to the ones he’s allowed to pick up.
Join the newsletter!
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Ballistix Sport AT
Apple iMac Pro
Toys for Boys
ESET Internet Security
ESET Smart Security Premium
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Tivoli PAL BT
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Ransomware has been one of the most prolific malware families for years, generating financial losses for targeted users and organizations, as well as significant revenue for cybercriminals.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 5 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
Latest News Articles
- Fortnite and PUBG could be banned in China
- Epic Games cuts the once-loved 'Infinity Blade' series from the App Store
- Resident Evil 2 Hands On Preview
- Support for AUD finally comes to Steam (with a catch)
- Intel Extreme Masters Sydney returns for the third consecutive year in 2019
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Google Pixel 3 XL review: Ghost in the machine
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies