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Los Angeles, 1947.
Using groundbreaking new animation technology that captures every nuance of an actor's facial performance in astonishing detail, L.A. Noire is a violent crime thriller that blends breathtaking action with true detective work to deliver an unprecedented interactive experience. Search for clues, chase down suspects and interrogate witnesses as you struggle to find the truth in a city where everyone has something to hide.
New for the PC version
You must accept the license available online at rockstargames.com/eula. Non-transferable access to special features such as exclusive, unlockable, downloadable or online content, services, or functions may require single-use serial code, additional fee and/or online account registration (13+). Violation of EULA, Code of Conduct, or other policies may result in restriction or termination of access to game or online account. Access to special features may require internet connection, may not be available to all users, and may, upon 30 days notice, be terminated, modified, or offered under different terms. The content of this videogame is purely fictional, and is not intended to represent or depict any actual event, person, or entity. The makers and publishers of this videogame do not in any way endorse, condone or encourage engaging in any conduct depicted in this videogame. Unauthorized copying, reverse engineering, transmission, public performance, rental, pay for play, or circumvention of copy protection is strictly prohibited.
This is a fictional story set in 1940s Los Angeles depicting invented and fictionalized historical characters, groups, locations, scenes and events in a manner that is not historically accurate and should not be interpreted to be factual. All brand names are trademarks of their respective owners, who are not affiliated with this game. The makers and publishers of this videogame do not in any way endorse, condone or encourage engaging in any conduct depicted in this videogame.
Rockstar Games, 622 Broadway, New York, NY, 10012 (c) 2006 - 2011 Rockstar Games, Inc. Rockstar Games, L.A. Noire, and the R* marks and logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. in the U.S.A. and/or foreign countries. Portions (c) Copyright Master Licensing, Inc., 2010, all rights reserved, Naked City and Naked City-related trademarks and trade dress are trademarks of Master Licensing, Inc. The Team Bondi mark and logo is property of Team Bondi Pty. Ltd. All other marks and trademarks are properties of their respective owners. Dolby and the double-D symbols are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories. Havok mark and logo is property of Havok.com, Inc. Uses Bink Video. Copyright (c) 1997-2011 by RAD Game Tools, Inc. All rights reserved.
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My main complaints:
1) The "open world" - I'm not really sure what the point of this was, other than to claim an open world environment in the marketing. The only thing open is that you can drive around, but there is really no incentive to do so. The city is pretty well made, but there just isn't any sort of reward for exploring or side quests. After the first few missions, I made my partner drive everytime because I just didn't want to bother with it.
2) The investigations - The investigation process loses its novelty after a few missions. Essentially all you do is wander around until you get indicators that there is a clue. I wish that the developers would have done less spoon-feeding and made the tasks a bit more of a challenge.
3) The interrogations - This is where the facial technology should really shine, but it falls through a bit in my opinion. The subtleties in expression that should be the main selling point aren't necessary since it's always extremely obvious when they are lying.
While these might sound like some pretty glaring issues, and maybe they are, the overall atmosphere of the game and the overall narrative outweigh the gameplay flaws and make this worth playing through if you enjoy story drive games. If you are looking for a shooter / GTA type game, this certainly isn't it, but it is a refreshing change of pace in a game that tries to really flesh out the characters. One last thing, I would recommend playing with a gamepad. Personally, I use and Xbox 360 controller, and it works great. It's not imperative, but I think it contributes to the playing experience.
In short, setting up L.A. Noire was a NIGHTMARE for me. I had to reinstall it twice and to different locations before I could even get it to the game select screen. I had multiple issues with patches, and still did through the completion of the game. Towards the very end, I got the same warning that a patch failed, but then my mouse cursor disappeared, so I couldn't simply click through to the game: I had to guess where the cursor was and hope I hit the button. Not what I expect to see from a game, even one I paid $5 for.
Once I finally got it up and running it was, to say the kindest, unplayable. The frame rate was pure garbage. This was remedied after some Googling and changing from multithreaded to single threaded processing, and in the end, the game ran pretty well for me. It was a LOT of work to get to that point, however.
Once I did, however, I thought the game was fantastic. Facial animation in every other game looks childish in comparison now, and I must say, this is the most unique game I've played to date. The gameplay could have benefitted from some variety, however, as having every witness run away from me meant chasing them down, yet again. It became hard to believe by the end that so many witnesses would flee (by car or foot), but the storyline was absolutely captivating. The gameplay and mechanics themselves wore on me a bit by the end, and I became very aware of how repetitive the gameplay was before the end, but the story gripped me to the point that I couldn't have cared less. This is the best storytelling I've seen in a game in... well, a long time to say the least. Possibly ever.
What sparked me to write this review, however, is a need I felt to respond to reviews I've seen everywhere about the ending. Hard to talk about it without ruining it, so I'll skip the details and simply say that I found the ending to be very satisfying. Many reviewers mentioned the ending as a downside, and made me nervous about buying the game. I can say from my own experience, however, that I thought the ending made perfect sense, and loved it. I honestly can't imagine how else it could have ended. Between the gripping storylines and uneven gameplay, L.A. Noire is one of the best and most unique games I've played for a very, very long time.
If adding up the sum of its parts, I would honestly need to give this game a 4/5. Setting the game up was a huge pain in the ass, and despite having a pretty well-spec'd machine, it seemed incapable of running this game until hitting forums and doing some fine tuning. The storytelling is top-notch, however, and I don't remember the last time a game gripped me like this. I can see where others disagree, but this is a game which requires you to experience it for yourself before making any judgement. If it's ever on sale again for $5, BUY IT! Best $5 I've ever spent, by far.