Rockstar Games, notable for Grand Theft Auto and the more recent Red Dead Redemption, takes a step into the film noire detective genre of the 1940s made famous by films such as LA Confidential and books such as The Black Dahlia.
While LA Noire retains the adult-only themes and violence of GTA, its main character detective Cole Phelps (played by Aaron Staton from TV hit Mad Men) fights for the law rather than against it. He walks the mean streets of Los Angeles in 1947 having joined the LAPD in order to absolve himself from the things he did – or was forced to do – as a US GI in World War II.
Featuring a fully-realised LA from the period, the game sees Phelps and various partners carrying out investigative roles assigned to him in various departments of the LAPD. The player must use their wit, intelligence and – given Rockstar Bondi studios ground-breaking facial motion caption and animation work – their ability to recognise a liar from a truth teller to solve a variety of unspeakable crimes.
Using a massive array of characters – each of which is meticulously animated with professional voice acting - LA Noire also has classic Rockstar Games’ touches with car driving (and of course chases), gun fights, brawling, strictly adult themes and a deep plot to work through.
Additionally, clue solving gets more difficult as the game progresses, meaning that the online ‘Ask the Community’ elements come into play.
L.A. Noire is a 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.
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