LA Noire is a game set in the 1940s where you follow the story of Cole Phelps; a detective for the LAPD. You get to see Phelps rise through the ranks at the department, but at the same time fight with his past mistake from WW2. La Noire takes you on a wild detective adventure of looking at clues, interviewing suspects, and charging individuals with crimes. LA Noire was a great game, but it sadly mechanically has its flaws.
As I mentioned above you follow the story of Cole Phelps and his time at the LAPD. The story mainly consists at present day but there is close to 20 minute of old war flashbacks. As you rise through the ranks of the LAPD, you will learn about the horrors he faced in WW2 and his desire to find any way to redeem himself; even though he is a decorate war veteran. Overall, I thought the story of LA Noire is great, it’ll take you about 30 or 40 hours to complete and is chalked full of twist and turns. It had a very Noire feeling and I know the ending to the story is controversial; but I found it to be an almost perfect ending. It captured who Cole was and it felt like how a story like this should end. My only complaint is that the war flashbacks are a bit too spread out that I often forgot when happened in the last one.
La Noire is set in a recreated open world LA from the 1940s. While this may sound cool, the world is rather empty and feels dull. The city is massive and takes a while to go one place to the next. They do try to throw in some street crime side missions that you can go to (mainly shoot outs, chases, etc), but they always assign you a street crime that is on the other side of the map. It’s a terrible design, and then the next one will be right back from where you came from. Why they can’t assign me the ones on this side of the map and then the ones on the other side of the map when the story brings me there is beyond me. And these street crime missions get old real quick. They are the same concepts again and again. Finally, you can log landmarks and collect every car in the game, but at the same time these tasks were boring and are basically filler. At the half way point, I stopped trying to drive to my next location and just fast traveled. A recreated LA is actually really cool, but turned out to be pretty boring to go one place to the next.
Once you get to a crime scene, this is where the game begins to get real good. While walking around a crime scene and looking at items might be the flashiest task, it’s actually a blast. You’ll walk room to room tilting and interacting with artifacts to look for clues on them or a possible connection to your case. Only select objects are interactable, but not all objects are important to the case. Based on these clues you observe at a location, you will have a new lead on a person of interest, evidence to use against a suspect or a new location to visit.
That brings us to the interrogation portion of the game; you must interrogate suspects and informants to get new clues and possibly a confession. You have three basic options for when a suspect answers your questions: Good Cop, Bad Cop, or Accuse. Good Cop is when a suspect is telling the truth, Bad cop is for when a suspect is lying but you don’t have evidence to prove that, Accuse is for when a suspect lies and you have direct evidence to prove that. You choice one based on the body language of the suspect, eye contact, remembering your own evidence, and if there voice changes. This system works just about 85% of the time, but it gets real hairy at times when the game is way too broad on what you’re supposed to accuse on. What the suspect says in no way leads you to accuse them, but if you pressed accuse, there the clue was. Or at other times there was no logical reason why one clue was the correct choice in the situation based on what was said. Overall I really liked the interview system, it just needed a little more work to clearly define when to accuse and when to bad cop in a few scenarios.
At the end of some cases there will be 2 main suspects and you get to choose who to charge with the crime. It’s interesting going between the 2 interview room and slowly pitting the suspects against each other. You then get to make the hard decision on whom to charge.
I must say the voice acting in LA Noire is exceptional; you can hear the passion and emotion in all the characters. It truly helps to bring in the feeling of a real investigation and the banter between you and your partner is often on point. To that point, the writing is overall great and it doesn’t try to sugar coat how racist and sexist people were back then. I also like how they acknowledged that the police were at times corrupt back then and you get to see in this game. Politicians need favors at times.
The music in LA Noire is also exceptional. Most the songs are jazz music based off the time period (though not much big band music). But the music perfectly fits the atmosphere and plays up the big moments in the game.
Outside of your investigation work you’ll face a lot gun fights and chases. The gun play in LA Noire is a pretty standard cover shooter and overall works with the game’s design. Car chases are one the few times the open world will find its way to shine and are normally very enjoyable experience. The cars in LA Noire overall handle rather nicely and try to simulate how a car would function back then. But sadly foot chases can be a real pain. Your player has pretty close to tank like controls and that makes turning pretty hard. You’ll be running into quite a bit of stuff.
Sadly La Noire has a few technical issues; there are a lot of framerate drops. While it didn’t really affect my playing experience, it’s very noticeable when the frame rate is currently taking a hit. And another issue is the draw distance is worse than it was in the 360 version. The game struggles to keep up when you’re driving your car and at times you’ll be completely caught up to the load distance. It’s appalling these issues are present on a more powerful system. And finally the graphic are just plain ugly! Everything is a shade a brown and there is very little detail. The age of this game is showing.
LA Noire is a very fun detective experience; it just has a few flaws. The story, cut scenes, voice acting, writing, and music are all very well done. The detective mechanics leave you feeling very satisfied and solving a case is a blast. But sadly the interrogation option can be a bit unclear which to choose at times. The graphics look very dated and there some minor technical issues. Finally, the open world is very interesting, but rather empty and boring to navigate. Overall, I would advise everyone to give this game a try; it’s cheap now a days and is a unique experience.
Great Voice acting and music
Fun detective gameplay
Tons of content
Dated graphics/technical issues
interrogation option don’t always work
Empty open world
Last edited by cycycychris - on 25 February 2019