review
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POSTED 22/5/11


LA NOIRE

Rockstar Games
PS3 (also on Xbox 360)

A city has many faces. It's 1947 now, and this is the face of Los Angeles...

Stunningly so, as incredible measures have been taken to recreate an authentic post-WWII LA – but that’s just the tip of the realism.

Being a Rockstar creation, many may expect GTA: ’40s. Mercifully, however, LA Noire’s a new beast that skilfully pilfers from others – notably Heavy Rain, Mafia II and Police Quest. Yep, there’s a whole lotta Sierra goin’ on, resulting in a rather linear experience, but one that’s captivating despite some flaws.

You’re dropped into a world so film noir that you expect Edmond O’Brien and Lizabeth Scott to lurk around every corner. The vintage music, automobiles, advertising... hell, the whole thing should be in black and white rather than its muted colour – and can be, upon summoning that menu option.

You become Cole Phelps, beginning as beat copper and working through various branches of dick in traffic, homicide, vice and arson. You’ve 21 cases to solve via solid CSI and sussed interrogation. This is LA Noire’s nitty-gritty, and it succeeds due to astonishing facial animation tech. Uncanny valley, schmuncanny schmalley!

There’re side missions, adding arcadiness whilst talking jumpers out of pavement pancaking, party-pooping bank jobs or collecting cars Jay Leno style. These are optional – yay - however interruptions such as driving, chasing on foot, driving, shooting, driving, fisticuffs and driving are required. A ‘just the facts ma’am’ detective-only mode would have been welcome.

Those flaws? Notably background popup and frustrating fussiness with object interaction – like pet peeve #1, encountering something solid and just keeping walking on the spot - but these pale in light of clever everything else.

LA Noire is tantalisingly more think, less action, and the seedy, gritty melodramatic stuff that film noir aficionados’ dreams are made of.

take me back to the start...

 



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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2017. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.