171 of 198 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2011
L.A. Noire is a very good game for the gamer that likes to be analytical, gather clues, and figure things out. It's slow paced, as police work usually is, but it's also very rewarding. The Motion Scan technology in this game is fantastic, and I see it being built upon for future releases of completely different games. The ability to read an actors expression is certainly pushing a new paradigm in games that just hasn't been executed before with any success. Team Bondi delivers here.
The story in this game isn't something new. Allowing the user to be the police officer, and a good one, is for the most part new. There is almost an RPG like feel to the game, with long dialog while you're interrogating people. This may come off as boring to some, but I assure you the scenes aren't just fillers. They're fun, interesting, integral parts of the whole story.
The game is still an open world concept, so you can move around and explore the beautiful old L.A. city that Team Bondi laid out. There are also a number of side missions that you can do.
I gave it a 4 out of 5 because the game can get a bit redundant at times. Don't worry, the story does get varied, but a few of the cases are too similar. The other reason I took a bit off the final score is that there just isn't much room for replay value here. Short of the inevitable game add-on's that you can purchase from the XBox Live Marketplace, there's not going to be much reason to come back once you beat it. I'd put the gameplay at about 15-25 hours. This doesn't take into account how much time you spend exploring away from the main story line and side missions.
L.A. Noire is definitely worthy of your collection. I hope we see more Team Bondi developments produced by Rockstar.
Thank you for reading!
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2011
L.A. NOIRE has so many good things going for it that it's a shame the game ends up being so disappointing.
-Fantastic motion-capture performances from terrific actors, including Mad Men cast members
-Game play mechanics aren't particularly fun and are simplistic
-After playing through several cases you'll learn that you've already played everything L.A. NOIRE has to offer. The hours to come are simple variations on the same theme (go to the crime scene, interview suspects, drive around, then catch a fleeing suspect or enter a shootout). There's almost no variety.
-Stupid story with unsatisfying dramatic payoff
-Side "street missions" are completely disposable, most are brief shootouts or other "chases" that are over fast
-Big city with very little to do
Overall this game has an extremely low "fun factor." It's unfortunate that Rockstar and the developers went to so much trouble to recreate the era, only to drag it down with game mechanics that are simplistic and ultimately repetitive.
344 of 439 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2011
Before I begin, I just want to say I have a feeling people are going to vote down this review without reading it or taking in the arguments just because it doesn't fit the popular view of this game. However If I can convince just one person to not buy into the hype and consider both the deserved praise and, more importantly, the legitimate criticisms against this game, I'll be happy. This review isn't for the fans, its for potential players who want an honest review.
Something about LA Noire captured my imagination months before it was released. It featured a new technology called "motion scan" which allowed for it to have the most realistic facial animations I'd ever seen. When I saw the motion scan demonstration, I was floored. I saw it as a huge step forward for narratives in games and if it was done right could make games rival or even surpass movies in terms of emotional investment.
And what a seemingly great way to show it off! A game about a detective who has to read people's intentions through their facial cues? It has all the makings of an incredible game. It also takes place in my hometown and in one of my favorite time periods. And its Rockstar! There's no way they could screw this up!
I was (and still am) so tired of games with immature and underdeveloped stories. I was ready for a game with a mature story not just for its own sake, but one that integrated itself with gameplay in such a way that it couldn't have been done in any other medium. Finally a game that understands that interactivity is the key to making games into a unique art form.
And then the game pretty much ruined everything it had going for it. Motion scan ruined by having a boring and unlikeable protagonist. Integration of gameplay and narrative ruined by making the player's choices mean absolutely nothing. The prospect of at least having an interesting plot was ruined by having an unremarkable story with a bad ending.
After the initial sparkle of everything wore off, I realized nothing about the game is fun to play at all. Investigations are boring and repetitive. Interrogations look nice thanks to motion scan but I might as well have been watching a movie due to the limited gameplay involved. Chase scenes are too heavily scripted to be exciting, and gunplay is pretty unremarkable considering every other action game this generation has done it and done it better.
The idea of interrogations is that after each question you ask a suspect you are given three options to proceed: assume they are telling the truth, accuse them of lying, and the ambiguous "doubt". This seems intuitive in theory, but in practice each choice is fairly arbitrary and differs from case to case. Doubting could mean coax the suspect a little bit to if you know they are holding out, or it could mean wild accusations which make the suspect unwilling to respond. It is impossible to tell what the choices will result in. There is only one correct answer, meaning there is no freedom to approach the cases in any way but the arbitrary one the designer wanted. The choices would seem to indicate that there may be different outcomes to each case depending on the player's choices, but this is not the case. The plot will continue in the same way no matter how well or poorly the player does. So what, then, is the point of this gameplay mechanic which is purely based on choice if the player's choices don't matter and the game is going to continue on the same regardless? What makes games so unique as a story-telling medium is interactivity and gameplay, and this is where LA Noire could have really shined and instead dropped the ball big time.
The game tries to mask it's shortcomings with an expansive and admittedly beautiful recreation of 1940's Los Angeles. However there was literally nothing to do in this open world outside of the main story besides drive around, sight-see, and heavily-scripted side-missions which didn't require an open world, nor were very fun to begin with. Why tease us with such a large and beautiful world and then make the world so void of activities? Surely it would have made more sense to make the game more linear and save the no doubt immense amount of resources making the world so huge and instead use them to polish out the other aspects of the game to make them more, you know, FUN?
To say LA Noire was disappointing is an understatement. Maybe I was asking a little too much of it to begin with, but in my mind it didn't deliver on a single one of it's selling points and that is what made it such a disaster for me. The game is by no means unplayable, in fact many will probably buy it and be perfectly content with its great visuals, particularly the facial animations, detailed world, great characters, and overall uniqueness. But strip all the aesthetic stuff away and you're left with a mediocre story and a game that just isn't very fun to play.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2011
I just finished LA Noire on the Xbox 360 and I decided to come on here and immediately give a review. First off, ignore the one and two star reviews. They're ridiculous. This game is by no means a one or two star game. I think the problem that many people had was they expected a game like Grand Theft Auto and that simply is not what this game is about. This is a thinking man's game with plenty of action. Yes, there are shootouts. Yes, there are firefights inside buildings. Yes, there are car chases. But there are also crimes scenes. Looking for clues. Examining bodies. Interviewing suspects and witnesses. The action is put in for a reason, not just because they want to give the player something to shoot at.
Like the title says, this game is the way games should be made. It has a captivating story to it. It's about investigating crimes the way they used to do it in the 40's. Back then they didn't have DNA evidence. They solved crimes through real police work.
Let me tell you a little about the game, without giving too much away. You get to play a detective. You go from being a traffic detective, solving hit and run cases, to a homicide detective, where you get to track down a serial killer, to a vice detective where you get to investigate drug deaths, to an arson detective. In each of these sub-stories, there's a larger story that it adds a piece to until the very end. As you're traveling to your destination, many times you'll hear over the radio that an officer is requesting assistance and you get the choice to go and help them or continue on with the main story. Now these side stories tend to be action oriented, like a bank robbery or a hostage situation. So like I said, there's plenty of action in the game, it's just not Grand Theft Auto and I'm thankful for that because it would have ruined the game.
When you're interviewing people, you get the choice to either believe them (truth), try to get more information out of them if you think they're not being truthful (doubt) or accuse them of lying if you have a piece of evidence that directly contradicts what they're saying (lie). You can help make your choice based on what the character does, such as not making eye contact or fidgeting. Now let me tell you, there are some good liars in this game who will look you straight in the eye and lie to you.. You really need to be on top of things to be successful at this. It sounds easy but it's not.
If you're the type of person who likes a good story and likes to be immersed into the character that you're playing, this is the game for you. If you just want to shoot stuff and don't care about the story, you might like this game but you'd probably be happier with another Halo game.
Also, I don't know where people are getting that this game is too short. I looked at my stats and around the end of the game, I was already on 22 hours of pure gameplay. It's not a short game and I got everything I paid for it. If you're a more mature gamer, I think you will appreciate this game and I could not recommend it enough. Buy the game!
145 of 185 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2011
I'm enjoying playing this game (I think), but I'm finding it a bit clunky and frustrating in all the places it shouldn't be. And in far too many places I'm thinking "Is that all there is?"
I have framerate issues in some outdoors areas. Also, I'm experiencing annoyance caused by the fact that in some areas I can't climb low walls. Sometimes I can scale fences, sometimes I can't. The developers only made some features climbable. The Assassin's Creed series gets this right. This game, not so much. If you're going to make certain things climbable, make them all climbable. Don't make a fence climbable in one spot, but 20 yards away the same height fence is not. Nothing breaks the sense of 'suspension of disbelief' more than having your game character running in place when faced with a hose line or a 2ft high wall that the game developers forgot to allow you to negotiate.
Then there's the actual gameplay. It often seems to me that this is more a walkthrough than a game, as each game decision is virtually handed to you on a platter. Then, if you get a decision wrong, it hands you the right answer anyway. So none of the decisions you make actually affect the outcome of the game. It's essentially a linear game that's pretending to have a branching storyline that your decisions affect.
Then there's clunky gameplay factors like the investigations. You seem to spend most of your time running around interior walls waiting for a tell-tale controller rumble that tells you that you're in the vicinity of a clue - but try to pick it up and you find yourself stumbling about trying to find the exact spot the game wants you to be in to collect it.
When you get a suspect in for interrogation, often the question doesn't match the answer you give, and rambles on about other issues so that you can forget what the question was about. Then if you choose that they're lying, it's that much harder to figure out what it was they were lying about. Also, sometimes they're telling the truth, but the 'correct' choice was to say they were lying. How does that make any sense? In short, the interrogation system is poorly implemented and confusing.
When you get your partner to drive, there's no option to watch the action as there is in Red Dead Redemption. Although your character says "I'd like to check my notes" there's no option to do that. It just fades to the destination.
I do like the option the game gives to skip a sequence that you're having a hard time with. I wish the GTA series had this. Unfortunately, this game is so easy that I've not needed it so far.
Another annoyance is that the game's revolvers can take out a criminal at 300 yards. Your character has the ability to aim and fire a police issue pistol with the accuracy and range of a sniper rifle. On the other hand, you can hit a guy in the head or shoot him in the chest with no effect (they won't ever go down on the first shot). It's things like this - silly nonsense - that makes the game so annoying.
Finally, although I didn't expect this game to be GTA or Red Dead Redemption, I did hope for some of the usual stuff you get in a sandbox game. What this game offers is a few samey side quests and a few cars to collect. The side quests are all variations on the same theme - shoot the cop killers/bank robbers, and collecting cars has no purpose - they don't go faster, they don't have extra radio stations - nothing. Going by landmarks 'unlocks' the landmark, but for what purpose (other than a few game points) I don't know.
In general, the game seems unfinished. It's fun for a while, but the game features all seem to be floundering in search of some kind of focus. Also, you find yourself in a vast area of Los Angeles, but there's very little to actually do there. You can't go to movies, you can't do any mini-games. It just seems like this game spent all its time on graphics and had no time left over to flesh out the gameplay.
46 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2011
First off... LA Noire is NOT a clone of GTA 4 nor Red Dead Redemption. Yes it is an open world game but it has its limits. You can not recklessly do things the way you would in other Rockstar games. Younger people may not appreciate this games worth. You are a cop and things should be the way they are in this story.
Some of the primary features from the other games are here. The 3rd person view, open world but the controls are slightly different. Nothing impossible to get used to though. The car controls are very sensitive. The car moves on the slightest touch of the analog stick, your car will move a little more than you may have wanted it to. (UPDATE- After playing some more, I was able to experience more vehicles. Not all of the cars are as sensitive to steering as the one you start off with. Which I think makes the game better as the cars have diversity as they would in reality.) During the interrogations the it's mainly just button prompts. All in all the controls work fine.
As far as gameplay goes. This isn't really action driven and it shouldn't be. In order to solve cases, you have to interrogate and search for clues. The authenticity of those activities is amazing. There are shootouts and sometimes you may have to make the tough decision shoot someone but it does a great job of making you feel as you have to deal with that decision. They go a long way trying to make it as authentic as possible even making a black and white mode.
I'm only 22 so I wouldn't know how 40's music was, lol. But from what I've heard in movies and older tv shows. It seems very authentic and gives you the vibe of watching a movie set in the 40's. And the voice over work is very good with some great actors. It's only complimented with the new technology Rockstar has used to portray the expressions and moods of the characters in the game.
I don't want to make this review really long so I'll end on this note. LA Noire is not going to be for everyone. It's not heavy on action. I can almost compare this game to Heavy Rain. At time it feels as if you a playing a interactive movie. A really great one at that. Here you will be rewarded with a great game, story, cases and re playability when you want to try to do things right.
30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Be honest: At some point of your lifetime, you always wanted to be a detective. If you still have that feeling inside, then this is definitely a must buy for you. If you have played Grand Theft Auto before, then you are already set to go as the game uses pretty much the same controls and mechanics scheme from previous GTA games. Unlike many gaming companies, Rockstar has figured it out: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. True, they are still trying to make us forget that they have released a table tennis game in 2006, but this title alone makes up for it big time. One thing I must mention is that you get three disks in Xbox360 version. My suggestion is to install all three on your hard drive before diving in to make the game run smoother, save some time and to take the pressure off your Xbox, not to mention make it much quieter. As it will probably take you around half-hour to install the disks, use that time to flip through the game's manual.
For the first time, Rockstar introduces us to MotionScan technology, which translates into excellent facial animations from characters. I have been playing video games since the 80s and I have never seen anything quite like this. At this point, I'm not even sure how much more life-like can these animations get. MotionScan plays a huge role here, but more of that later on(See "Gameplay.") Other than that, graphics fit very well with the 1940s theme and the noire-style filming, which is not too colorful, but just right to give you that 1940s nostalgic feel. In fact, if you are feeling very nostalgic, you can go all the way by going to options menu and make the game black-and-white entirely.
The sound mechanics are very well done as well and music changes based on what you are currently doing in the game. If looking for clues, you get a soft tune in the background. If you start chasing someone, a more dramatic tune kicks in. Also, whenever you are driving in a car, you can hear some vintage songs and news being played on the radio(Another beloved GTA feature.)
As mentioned earlier, if you have already played Grand Theft Auto on 360 in the past, you have already been briefed on most of the mechanics in the controls department. The overall gameplay consists of multiple parts and is very-well organized. You start off as a rookie cop as you are trying to make a name for yourself and move up in the ranks. As soon as you pick a case, there are multiple parts to sift through. You start off examining a crime scene and start searching for clues. It is not as tedious as it sounds because when you are near a clue, a soft tone will be subtly played in the background to give you a hint that you are near something interesting. If this sounds too easy for you, feel free to turn that feature off in the options menu. Not all clues will be valuable. Some clues are "dummy clues" and will be irrelevant to you in the case(pack of cigarettes or empty beer bottle with no fingerprints, for example.)
As soon as you collected some clues, you move on to questions and locating people of interest. As you question them, this is where the MotionScan technology comes into play. You must carefully listen and look at their facial expressions at the time to figure out if they are telling you the truth or not. You pretty much use your common sense, instincts and evidence you collected to see if they are telling the truth or not. For example if they tell you that there were no gun shots at a crime scene and you have found empty shell casings, you can use that to accuse them of lying.
Accidentally accusing someone of lying when they are not will make the person of interest very angry and uncooperative or going along with a liar will also point your case into the wrong direction. The genius part of this game is that you only game one save slot, which automatically auto-saves after pretty much every move you make. This way you cannot cheat yourself and reload the game immediately after making a wrong decision. If you do not like the outcome of the case or if you wish to take another path to see how it plays out, you have the option of replaying the case later on.
As you level up, you earn intuition points, which can help you in the game big time. If you decide to use your points during investigation, it will show you all the clues on the map. If you decide to use it in the interrogation, you have a couple of choices here, which will remind you of that show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." You can either remove one wrong answer(truth, lie or doubt) or "Ask the Community" which will tell you which is the most popular answer amongst the Xbox live community. You only have a few intuition points to spare, so use them wisely!
If the story line alone doesn't satisfy your appetite, there are many side quests and collectibles to be found: Random street crimes, discovering vehicles and locating landmarks just to name a few. Also there are detective suits to collect as well, where each will give you a different benefit throughout your adventure. Also caution to parents: This game contains violence(fist fights and gun fights,) gruesome crime scenes(poking through a dead body,) and strong language(not just your average F-words, but racial slurs as well.) Rockstar has certainly hit yet another jackpot with the release of LA Noire, which will probably translate into a sequel in the future.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2011
L.A. Noir is another phenomenal title from the ever awesome Rockstar Games. I traded my garbage copy of BRINK (a day after it was released) up to this and let me just say, it was TOTALLY worth it!
Just like Grand Theft Auto 4 and Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar continues to deliver that "plays out like a movie" feel in L.A. Noir. The game takes place in 1940's Los Angeles and you start off as a simple cop that works his way up the rungs of the L.A.P.D career ladder. Along the way you meet some interesting characters, solve gruesome crimes, chase criminals, collect cars, hold shootouts, and more.
1. Graphics - First off, this game is BEAUTIFUL. Awesome draw distances let the player seemingly see into infinity. The game uses some very awe inspiring facial mapping and animation techniques that I definitely see becoming a standard for future games.
2. Gameplay - Although this game is very similar to Red Dead Redemption and GTA4, please keep in mind that it is NOT those games. Sometimes it plays like them, but L.A. Noir is a game all of it's own. You won't always be hunkered down behind a crate, gunning your way out of some lowlife infested warehouse or speeding down the streets of L.A. in hot pursuit. The majority of this game will be spent gathering clues and interrogating witnesses. You'll have to use your better judgment in making accusations and deciding whether of not someone is lying or what clues will add up with others. It is definitely somewhat psychological and if you're looking for more of a Crackdown style open world experience, this game probably isn't the game for you. I, however, love the way this game plays. I definitely haven't played anything like it since way, WAY back in the day (Bladerunner for the PC.)
3. Controls - The controls are pretty similar to Red Dead Redemption. R-Trigger for Run, L-Trigger + R-Trigger for shooting, R-Bumper for cover, A for sprint, etc. They are very simple and I picked them up instantly when I popped the disc in my 360.
4. Music/Sound - The music really brings you into the era. Driving around in your patrol car, listening to the radio play songs like "smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette" and other 1940's music is pretty cool, and takes me back to the days of playing Fallout 3 until 6:00am. The ambient music also has a 1940's flare to it as well, using a lot of strong brass and acoustic instruments typical of the 40's. The voice acting is pretty on point too, which is important since it's the voice overs coupled with facial expressions that hint the player as to whether or not a suspect is lying. Rockstar definitely managed to bite off more than what most dev's can chew, and totally swallowed it. Kudos Rockstar!
Cons (but not really):
This game is not without it's frustrating moments, but what game isn't? There are moments in this game that are kind of difficult. Trying to chase down enemies that just get away from you like professional Nascar drivers, or knowing when a suspect is lying, but having no way to back it up because there was a clue you didn't find, even though you completely scoured the crime scene with a magnifying glass and a white glove. Like I said in the title though, these aren't really cons. I actually like the challenging game play elements, but I can see that some players could possibly be put-off by them.
To finish, I just wanna say that I rated this game 5 stars for fun, and 4 stars for overall. It's not because this game is lacking in any way. It's just that I really, REALLY, REALLY loved Red Dead Redemption. That game had so much to offer me, and to this day can still satisfy me. it has timeless gameplay that is so rare in games nowadays. L.A. Noir doesn't really feel like it has that re-playability aspect to it, but I don't know. I'm only half-way done with it.
Overall. I say buy this game.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2011
I loved Red Dead Redemption, so purchased this game. I knew from reviews that the games were different, and wasn't expecting another Red Dead Redemption, but I was expecting a superior product. Some aspects of this game are first rate, and others aren't.
The positive: The game is beautiful. Driving around Los Angeles circa 1947 is a treat for those of us who love the current Los Angeles. The amount of research and the design effort that went into creating the city in that era are staggering, not only the buildings and parks, but also the people, automobiles, and interiors. Most photos from back then are in black and white, but in L.A. Noir the city is in full color.
The negatives: 1. Much of the game involves interviewing crime witnesses and suspects, and guessing based on their demeanor whether they are telling the truth or are lying. This is interesting once or twice, but it gets old quickly, and as the game progresses becomes a nuisance rather than a pleasure. For the player, these interviews are tedious and aren't much fun.
2. A lot of the game is finding clues (which are usually in plain sight) at crime scenes or at suspect's homes. This, too, gets old quickly. Find something, pick it up, examine it. Again and again.
3. There are some inserted scenes regarding the hero's service during World War II. Novelists know to avoid backstory (anything that happened before the story begins) because it's usually more interesting to the writer than to the reader, and because it stops the story cold. It's true for games, too. L.A. Noir's backstory wasn't interesting enough to sit through.
4. Successful crime novels have a balancing act: the reader is offered enough clues so the reader at the end of the story thinks he might've determined who the villain was, but the reader isn't given enough clues so that he actually does so. In L.A. Noir, the clues are obvious and simple, and the perpetrators are obvious. Don't look for much challenge figuring out whodunit.
L.A. Noir held my interest for a third of the way through, then I quit.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2011
L.A Noire is a world apart from any other game Rockstar have produced, instead of mindlessly tearing up towns, destroying vehicles and seducing the odd prostitute. In fact Rockstar has gone in entirely the opposite direction. In L.A Noire your good cop who is on a path of righteousness amongst the stagnant corrupt police force and society you work for. Set in the 1940's this production certainly creates a new feel to the free roam style games that we all know and love.
Your character is a rookie, to start off with, named 'Cole Phelps'. He is a Los Angeles detective and his role's as you would expect do involve car chases, Gun fights and the odd apprehension of a pervert or a thief, but the body of the game is what sets the pace as a slow, methodical, detailed attention sapping game.
Chapter after chapter your job is to interview witnesses and suspects alike, pay great attention to the facial expressions and body language as their dialogue, as you would expect is bound to be misleading. You must provide evidence if you declare someone a liar and be careful when doubting someone who is telling the truth. Despite the accuracy and attention span needed to spot every lie and truth, you will still stumble inevitably through the game regardless of how good your detective skills are. As this game isn't rated on how good of a shooter you are or how fast you can drive across the city in an explosive car without taking any damage, the game demanded to be aesthetically pleasing and challenging and it is most definitely both of the above.
In true Rockstar style there are lots of the little side missions for you to get stuck into, Hidden Classic Cars from the 40's and random items scattered around the city for you to hunt down and the odd attire customization. Although a lot of people may have felt that this was going to be the next GTA, they will be pleasantly disappointed. The free roam option gives those gamers a little blast from the past but like i said at the start, L.A Noire is in a class of its own, it finds a sweet mid-point between the complexity of crime scene clues from CSI and the free flowing action that Rockstar is famous for.
To conclude, the storyline and the interweaving of the cases make for a strong storyline, the graphical cinematic aesthetic quality and the originality (Like intuition points to help you separate the lies from the truth) could make this game a perfect buy for the right type of gamer. I can't help feel that even those gamers who love a slow paced puzzle crime solver will get bored of the repetitiveness that arises as the game goes on. Either way I was not disappointed although I like many others thought it was going to be more like GTA.