L.A Noire – Review (PS3)

L.A Noire has been 7 years in the making, with use of a brand new facial motion capture technology that has wowed almost everyone that’s seen it.

The game takes place in 1940’s L.A, with you taking on the role of Cole Phelps – recently returned from the war and starting out as a cop on the beat.

While a lot of people felt that L.A Noire would be a 1940’s GTA (much like Red Dead Redemption was a Western version of GTA in many people’s eyes) Team Bondi have crafted a much more linear experience than expected.

Your time playing as Phelps is mainly investigative and interrogation work, which in my opinion is a good direction for them to head in. Although you have freedom in the sense of not finding all the clues/messing up the interrogation etc your partner will often point out stuff you’ve missed and while you sometimes have the option of who to charge, just as often the game plays out regardless.

You do have the opportunity to break free in the city, however what you can actually do in this time is dictated by the side missions. By answering calls on your in-car radio (by pressing X) you can get a mission and be on your way. While you can leave the car when not on a side mission you can’t draw your weapon or hurt civilians, as this obviously wouldn’t be in keeping with the character of Phelps.

The investigative stuff in L.A Noire is pretty cool, with your character moving around the crime scene and checking out points of interest (highlighted by a rumble on the pad and a chime sound – which can both be turned off if you really want to go Noir 😆 ).

The interrogations really highlight the acting and the wonderful facial capture. While it’s not perfect it was certainly good enough to fool me on a few occasions. My main issue with the interrogation parts is that the ‘Doubt’ option wasn’t properly explained in my opinion.

When talking to people you have three options once they’ve made a statement; Truth, Doubt and Lie. From the options given I would’ve presumed Doubt to mean that Cole doubts the other character but isn’t sure. What it actually means is Lie but he doesn’t have a piece of evidence that backs him up.

This leads to several instances where Cole started screaming at a witness about lying etc when what I actually wanted was a gentle probe that may uncover more. It’s annoying even when you know what the Doubt option does when Cole’s response is so unpredictable.

Going back to the acting and it really is stunning at times. The stand out for me is LAPD Homicide Captain James Donnelly, played superbly by Andrew Connolly. He has to be one of my favourite video game characters of all time.

The story sticks to some Film Noir staples and, although a few bits niggle, on the whole it’s an enjoyable tale that plays out nicely.

L.A Noire’s soundtrack and score is also brilliant and really helps catapult you into a different era.

The game this most reminds me of is Heavy Rain, stunning captures of the actors and an interesting, if flawed, story. Unfortunately it doesn’t feature the numerous different endings that Heavy Rain does so you don’t ever feel the story is in your hands.

Everyone should play L.A Noire, it’s a bench mark title that has raised the bar for other games in terms of facial animation. Does that make it a classic? An outstanding game? I’m afraid not.

Rating: 8/10

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8 Comments

  1. Nice review. I pretty much agree on all fronts. It’s a great game, but I felt it dragged a little bit after the homicide chapter. I can’t wait to see how they improve upon this in the inevitable sequel.

  2. […] the original: L.A Noire – Review (PS3) « GregHorrorShow Posted in PS3 Games Review Tags: brand-new, capture-technology, facial-motion, Making, Noire, […]

  3. I completely agree with the fact that the Doubt feature is unpredictable. It’s rather annoying, honestly, because he just turns into a polite question-asker to instant asshole blaming an innocent witness.

  4. I love the game but I also understand the main criticism that your actions don’t affect the story’s progression at all. It’s a bit deflating to know that what you do doesn’t matter since you’ll see the ending, no matter how good of a detective you are. At the same time, however, the narrative is good enough to overshadow this criticism, as the game’s story is better than many films I’ve seen.

    My biggest gripe with the interrogation system isn’t necessarily the Doubt option, but how the Lie option has such steep ramifications if you guess wrong. The Lie option forces you to choose only one piece of evidence to present the burden of proof — and often, it’s not the piece of evidence that you, as a detective, would logically choose. The game should’ve compensated for a wider range of reason and logic.

  5. […] their game beyond the campaign on the disc, DLC is seemingly a must for almost every title. Does L.A Noire deliver the goods with this DLC or should you give it a […]

  6. […] L.A. Noire – ‘Facial […]

  7. […] do the game any favours, with more than one character suddenly having an attack of the ‘Cole Phelps‘ and randomly shouting lines when you’re right next to them. Considering how strongly […]

  8. […] those games were few and far between and while playing titles like Assassin’s Creed, Hitman, L.A. Noire or Mafia II I would usually just play the story missions and do one or two side missions. And some […]


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