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Does L.A. Noire Live Up to Its Name?
L.A. Noire deals with a lot of subjects present in 1940’s films such as mysterious, tragic love, and of course detectives and crime. This game was the first video game ever to be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival, which had given it much promise. This game does not deal with the action aspect of shooter games, but more as if you are actually the detective who must scan through people’s faces to determine if they are a rightful suspect or not.
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You play as Cole Phelps, an ex soldier who got back from the second world war. He feels as though he had done a lot of “wrongs” during the war such as killing and sneaking around the enemy, which has made him want to correct them. He joins the LAPD police to refresh himself and he quickly rises through the ranks, first starting off as a patrol man, detective of traffic, vice and homicide, and finally an investigator of arson. The game follows him as he questions suspects, finds out clues, and of course catches the killers, arsonists, and even drug abusers. Without giving away the story, the game truly feels like you immersed in the 1940’s and you are actually in Cole’s shoes.
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With stating that the game play is by no means an action guns ablazing type, L.A. Noire does have a few blasting moments. The main objective to search clues and find suspects and victims, listening to their stories through a lengthy dialog that may be intriguing to some, but boring to others. You must choose through Cole’s notebook whether you believe these people or not, your options are to believe, half doubt, or accuse them, even if it means wrongly. The good thing about this however is that the story does not end if you do something wrong with the accusations, it keeps going and different things may come into play. This game is a great choice for deep thinkers and those who enjoy detective work.
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The controls are a bit buggy, Cole sometimes runs oddly due to the frame rate but it does not stop the game play from running smoothly. The controls are simple, using the analog stick to walk or run around the old Los Angeles and using the square, triangle, circle and x buttons to shoot, talk to people, and open your notebook. Nothing to worry about here, you won’t have to do any crazy finger gymnastics to get along through the game’s controls.
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Without being too critical, the graphics are fairly solid but the coloring seems just a bit too bright and cartoony for such a serious game. There is an option to turn the game into black and white mode, which gives off a great feeling of an old movie if the colors are too intense for you. The character models themselves could use some work, although the new facial motion technology is amazing and shows each character’s reactions of sadness, grimacing, and anger. One thing to note is that most of the characters have the same face as the actor playing them, in personal opinion, it would be better if they were created characters rather than just a 3D form of a real person, but it would take much more work with the new technology.
The environments shine the most in L.A. Noire, the shiny cars, the old streets, housing and shops really feel like you are back in the day and may even make you feel as though you aren’t playing a game.
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Again, anyone who is a fan of old noire movies will enjoy the sounds this game gives off. The music has a full on old blues and jazz soundtrack that fits in with every scene going about. Nothing is out of the ordinary when it comes to the music and that makes it quite compelling. The sound effects are also as real as you can get when it comes to modern games and the voice acting is also one of the best, on par with Metal Gear Solid 4. There are no dry lines when the characters speak and every line is filled with the emotion needed for each scene. You can most definitely tell most of their budget went into the quality music and acting.
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For an open world game, it may seem a bit tight around the corners at times and for those that like intense shooting games may find the questioning scenes a bit redundant since the game has 21 cases in all. For those that like puzzles, have deep minds, and enjoy history in any setting, this is definitely the game for you. L.A. Noire has lived up to its expectations with only a few downfalls, it wouldn’t be surprising if it won game of the year.