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A Photo-Realistic Noir Movie
L.A. Noire, published by Rockstar Games and developed by Team Bondi, is a gritty, cinematic window into a 1940s noir crime novel or movie. If you've ever liked noir books or movies, this game will be right up your alley. It's very evocative of the times, and all the actors were captured with photorealistic graphics. You can see every twitch in a suspect's face as you interrogate him about where he was last night. You can see the sadness in a wife's eyes as you tell her about her missing husband. Or perhaps they're acting suspiciously relieved? Cole Phelps, our hero, is going to have to use his wits and all his deductive powers to unravel the conspiracy that looms over post-WWII L.A. Luckily, there are guides for every department Cole will be assigned to over the course of his adventure, from his days as a rookie beat cop promoted to the Traffic Desk to dealing with the exiting, seedy underworld of Hollywood on the Homicide and Vice Desks.
And if you're on the fence, there are some good overviews, reviews and critical analysis of the game to help you decide if it's worth your time. No matter what, you should be able to find almost anything you'd want to know about L.A. Noire below.
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Previews, Reviews, Criticisms and Tips
L.A. Noire is a very ambitious game. Every single character in the game was filmed with the latest in motion capture technology, making for one of the most realistic-looking games ever. The city of 1940's Los Angeles was digitally recreated, as well as the period's automobiles, fashion and dialog. It wasn't very politically correct back in those days, but it's an interesting look into the heyday of the Hollywood film industry. The story, like any good noir novel or movie, is full of backstabbing and the good guy doesn't get the classic Hollywood ending. This game blurs the line between video games and movies, and really needs to be seen to be believed. Here's some articles that show the many things the game got right, and where there was room for improvement.
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Patrol and Traffic Desk Cases
The Patrol Desk is basically the game's tutorial. This game is about being a detective, not a beat cop, after all. There's still a couple of things one can miss that will come into play later, such as the newspapers. Collecting them gives backstory for some characters in the form of cutaway scenes. The role they play in the plot isn't immediately apparent, but by keeping your eyes open and using these guides, you won't be totally blindsided by certain developments in the story. Once you're promoted to detective in the Traffic department, things aren't as simple as they seem.
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Homicide Desk Cases
Once Cole has been promoted to the Homicide Desk, the main plot gets muddy and slightly confusing, as Cole tries to figure out what exactly is going on. Using these guides, you can help him get to the bottom of things and discover exactly what connections these murders have to the Black Dahlia murders. The game starts to really require you to pay attention here, so make sure you get all the evidence before you arrest an innocent man or woman!
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Vice Desk Cases
If you thought things were getting muddy before, wait till you see how far everything goes once you're promoted to the Vice Desk! Hollywood was a hotbed of coverups and vice back in those days. Cole will have to pick the lesser of two evils more than once in his quest to do the right thing. Good thing you have these guides for reference.
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Arson Desk Cases
If you haven't been collecting the newspapers by this point, I strongly recommend you go back and do so, as many of the characters mentioned have become major players by this point. You'll understand the overarching plot better as well. This chapter also lets you play some cases as another character who is drawn into things by the main plot. Everything is tied up neatly at the end, though in true noir fashion it's not exactly what one would expect. It's definitely captivating, and you might still miss something important if you rush or don't use one of these guides.
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Back on the Case
Hopefully you've been able to guide Cole through the treacherous web of 1940s Hollywood with the help of this guide, and have fully unraveled the mysteries behind the story. If this is your first experience with the noir genre, perhaps you'll want to explore it further. In any case, check back later, guides on collectables will be added as soon as they become available. If there were any areas of the game you felt you needed more help with that wasn't covered in this guide, please let me know, and I'll add it as soon as possible. In closing, please enjoy this picture gallery of L.A. Noire screenshots.
- All pictures from L.A. Noire Official Web Site, http://www.rockstargames.com/lanoire/
- Bright Hub, www.brighthub.com