L.A. Noire Review

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L.A. Noire Review

As alluring and confounding as the rich genre that inspired it.

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I agree 100% about the interrogations, they were pretty stupid at times.

What really got to me was when I had a piece of evidence that clearly proved someone was lying, but it wasn't the particular magic 'right' evidence the game picked and so the 'lie' option failed.

The there were the times Cole turned into a rage filled maniac when you hit 'doubt'.

Other than that, amazing game... if game is even the right word for this kind of interactive medium anymore. Amazing interactive entertainment. (can we coin the term IE now and take credit for it?)

Nooooooooooooo not a half kitten!!!

:p

In all serioussness, I'm sad this is a console exclusive :(

MiracleOfSound:
I agree 100% about the interrogations, they were pretty stupid at times.

What really got to me was when I had a piece of evidence that clearly proved someone was lying, but it wasn't the particular magic 'right' evidence the game picked and so the 'lie' option failed.

The there were the times Cole turned into a rage filled maniac when you hit 'doubt'.

Other than that, amazing game... if game is even the right word for this kind of interactive medium anymore. Amazing interactive entertainment. (can we coin the term IE now and take credit for it?)

watching some gameplay videos and walkthroughs of cases, i'm seeing the same problem with cole's responses. either he's a calm and collected sherlock holmes type or he's a "i'm about to throw down on this asshole!" bad cop mchardass type.

the whiplash-inducing changes really throw me off at times, but overall, it's so damn engaging i can't look away.

I have to say that I love this game. I love everything about this game, except the occasional lockup.

I almost never pay for DLC, but I would pay for more cases. I'm only around 70% complete, because I kinda don't want to finish because then what else is there to do besides just bum around?

My Dad a huge fan of old detective movies(Humphrey Bogart and the likes), not so much video games. Raised to appreciate the specific genre this game takes after, I'm dying to play it. I also really want to show him it, as he would find it amazing as well.

MiracleOfSound:
I agree 100% about the interrogations, they were pretty stupid at times.

What really got to me was when I had a piece of evidence that clearly proved someone was lying, but it wasn't the particular magic 'right' evidence the game picked and so the 'lie' option failed.

The there were the times Cole turned into a rage filled maniac when you hit 'doubt'.

Other than that, amazing game... if game is even the right word for this kind of interactive medium anymore. Amazing interactive entertainment. (can we coin the term IE now and take credit for it?)

I have to agree. Still doesn't stop the game from being kick ass however.

The graphics are so... weird. Yes, the faces are pretty amazing, but they contrast so much with the stiff body animations. There's just something really off-putting about it all - it's like a bunch of disembodied heads walking around on robot bodies.

From all the going on about how realistic their characters would look I expected them to look, oh, I dunno... more realistic? Did I miss something?

See, about the audio and vibration queues when investigating, wouldn't those instances make the game easier overall? A game like L.A. Noire only has so much replayability, and while the interrogations may be easily screwed up on, if you find all the clues before and you want to replay through a case, you're just trying to find the clues as fast as you can until you get to the interrogations. Wouldn't you want to turn off those indicators so that when you're going back to the scene of the crime you can still find something new about it.

Great review of a great game. Re the inspirations it draws extremely heavily on James Ellroy's LA Quartet of 1940s/50s crime novels, especially The Big Nowhere, to the extent that it's almost a videogame remix of them.

Cheers

Colin

MiracleOfSound:
I agree 100% about the interrogations, they were pretty stupid at times.

What really got to me was when I had a piece of evidence that clearly proved someone was lying, but it wasn't the particular magic 'right' evidence the game picked and so the 'lie' option failed.

The there were the times Cole turned into a rage filled maniac when you hit 'doubt'.

Other than that, amazing game... if game is even the right word for this kind of interactive medium anymore. Amazing interactive entertainment. (can we coin the term IE now and take credit for it?)

Two words: Internet Explorer.

Anyway, I've been waiting for you guys to review the game since it game out, and I have to say, you NAILED it. I really can't say anything else without repeating things.

Well done.

I am disappointed I won't be given the opportunity to play this game, or RDR. Detective/Noir films and Westerns are two of my favourite film genres, but I'm not wasting money on a console.

Azaraxzealot:

MiracleOfSound:
I agree 100% about the interrogations, they were pretty stupid at times.

What really got to me was when I had a piece of evidence that clearly proved someone was lying, but it wasn't the particular magic 'right' evidence the game picked and so the 'lie' option failed.

The there were the times Cole turned into a rage filled maniac when you hit 'doubt'.

Other than that, amazing game... if game is even the right word for this kind of interactive medium anymore. Amazing interactive entertainment. (can we coin the term IE now and take credit for it?)

watching some gameplay videos and walkthroughs of cases, i'm seeing the same problem with cole's responses. either he's a calm and collected sherlock holmes type or he's a "i'm about to throw down on this asshole!" bad cop mchardass type.

the whiplash-inducing changes really throw me off at times, but overall, it's so damn engaging i can't look away.

I sort of rationalize the quick changes as an attempt to throw the suspect/witness off guard. Especially for when you back out of an accusation. He just shrugs and calmly says something like "Looks like I was mistaken."

MiracleOfSound:
I agree 100% about the interrogations, they were pretty stupid at times.

What really got to me was when I had a piece of evidence that clearly proved someone was lying, but it wasn't the particular magic 'right' evidence the game picked and so the 'lie' option failed.

The there were the times Cole turned into a rage filled maniac when you hit 'doubt'.

Other than that, amazing game... if game is even the right word for this kind of interactive medium anymore. Amazing interactive entertainment. (can we coin the term IE now and take credit for it?)

I mostly agree, although i didnt have as much difficulty with the interrogations (after the first few cases anyway)

I generally found that if you just paid attention to their faces you'd know what to do, if they looked away or started blinking alot, or scratching their head they're not telling the truth, so you should chose lie.

Then phelps would point fingers for something, and then you'd need to back it up, if you couldnt back it up, you back out and then choose doubt.

You need to listen carefully to what exactly, if you say they were at the scene of the crime, you need to give them something which proves that, not for example, say you found a bloody crowbar in their apartment.

also, i dont know if anyone else has figured this out, but you dont need to restart the entire case to retry...if you press start > quit > resume. You'll go to the last place you saved, usually no more than a few minutes away, so you can retry interrogations as many times as you want

Game was really good but what is lacking for me the most was the fact of free roaming, to free roam not only you need to complete to certain desk, you also have to chose witch roam you want to do to get a different free roam with different partner, and only different partners had different side cases, so actually it's not as free as it could be, I'm 3 achievements from having 100% completion and to be honest comparing to Red Dead Redemption there is really not to much to do as even the side cases each of them is worth 5~10 minutes.
Don't get me wrong the game is amazing but they created such a big city and honestly they didn't use it's potential fully.

Grand Theft Auto with period cars and music and with a greater emphasis on sleuthing than gunplay?

The only way it could be better is if it was made in Austra...

Oh wait.

Overall, very unique and original. Sure, there are minor problems with it (what game is perfect?) but it's a really enjoyable experience. I'm really glad I picked this one up and I hope they make a PC port so that all gamers can give this one a shot.

Assassin Xaero:
From all the going on about how realistic their characters would look I expected them to look, oh, I dunno... more realistic? Did I miss something?

Go back and play almost any other game and you'll truly see how realistic these faces are.

I just borrowed GTA IV from one of my friends and LA Noire's faces are leaps and bounds above a game that came out only a few years ago.

OT: I love this game and while I understand the few flaws in the mechanics it doesn't take anything away from the game for me.

Jumplion:
See, about the audio and vibration queues when investigating, wouldn't those instances make the game easier overall? A game like L.A. Noire only has so much replayability, and while the interrogations may be easily screwed up on, if you find all the clues before and you want to replay through a case, you're just trying to find the clues as fast as you can until you get to the interrogations. Wouldn't you want to turn off those indicators so that when you're going back to the scene of the crime you can still find something new about it.

The option is there to turn them off if you want to, but even then there's little re-playability with the game once you have solved all the cases.

It was still a really great game that I really got into once I started. Probably one of the only games I'll consider getting DLC for if it means more cases or even better yet a new desk...

Those graphics are baaaaaaad. Faces move okay, but they "look" like crap. Maybes its just the way videos make it look, but it all looks very "fake" like a toy town.

sizzle949:

Jumplion:
See, about the audio and vibration queues when investigating, wouldn't those instances make the game easier overall? A game like L.A. Noire only has so much replayability, and while the interrogations may be easily screwed up on, if you find all the clues before and you want to replay through a case, you're just trying to find the clues as fast as you can until you get to the interrogations. Wouldn't you want to turn off those indicators so that when you're going back to the scene of the crime you can still find something new about it.

The option is there to turn them off if you want to, but even then there's little re-playability with the game once you have solved all the cases.

It was still a really great game that I really got into once I started. Probably one of the only games I'll consider getting DLC for if it means more cases or even better yet a new desk...

thats what pretty much what I've been thinking of as of late....its great and all but the rate Im going I've 5 starred every case and if I keep that up I'll only need to go back to indvidual cases/free roam for achievments and collectibles...

I agree with this review all the way. Hauling ass in classic cars is awesome. To me the best part of the game is the homicide desk which is in the middle of the game so I didn't enjoy the best part of the game being in the middle rather than the end. I had the same problem with thinking I totally had someone in a lie only to use the wrong evidence. That's probably my biggest gripe about the game. One of the other things I didn't like is when you choose the doubt option 90% Phelps yells at the person you are interviewing like they are the murderer every time. And I didn't like how a lot of people you interview would try to tell lies when they really didn't have any reason to just so you would have to call them out. Other than that I really enjoyed the game and will probably pick up any extra cases dlc that come out in the future. I just wish they didn't do that 10 kinds of preorder dlc thing at launch. They should have made it available to everyone.

If you play through the story the majority of the game is cutscenes and repeating dialogue again because you were stupid enough to call someone a liar and present "smoking gun" level evidence they weren't looking for.

I'm sorely disappointed in the lack of Black and White playing on your part Russ ;). Everyone knows that Noir is almost always Black and White.

Seriously though, I am in love with this game, almost to the point where it might beat Skyrim in the GOTY competition. This ranks up as one of the few games that I will buy all the DLC for too just because I can't get enough of it. New Vegas and the Mass Effect Series are the only games previous that have this particular commitment to me.

AgDr_ODST:

I read somewhere that they had to cut A LOT of the game just to get it fit on three disks (on xbox anyway), and it originally had way more stuff on it. This is quite evident when you look at the case numbers, the first three cases are something like 1, 3 and 6. It could be the case that the burglary. And yeah, I think they plan to release the cut content as DLC.

I dislike how often I disagree with Russ Pitts about certain aspects of his reviews. It confounds me because he's in charge of this wonderful site which I love. I hesitate to say this, but I think it's bugged me most when he reviews a game with puzzles and thinking. I personally find it almost insulting that he claims the interrogations aren't fun. It's one of the aspects I enjoy most about this game.

I'm on the vice desk, and I have rarely had much difficulty with interrogations (except for a few slippery individuals who gave me a bit of trouble). The thing to remember is that it's not just about the facial expressions. These are fairly important in determining Truth versus Doubt/Lie, but there's more to it. You need to actually understand everything in the case up to that point - like a detective would - to be successful.

The interrogations which troubled me were directly correlated to the times when I had misunderstood the whole picture the evidence tells. For example, there was a case in which I had completely misinterpreted this whole blackmail thing - once I realized that, the interrogation was simple, because I finally understand what was really going on.

Also, in the video he points out a trouble spot, but he had somehow missed/skipped certain really important evidence that you need in that interrogation. I'm not sure how that happened. I don't remember the order of things that well.

Anyway this game is amazing. I just wanted to say my piece. Sorry for the wall o' text

The only flaw I saw in this game was the interrogations. Other than that, it would have been Game of the Year in my book!

Hm, is it really a bad thing that the game lets you mess up an investigation and get the wrong guy? How long has it been since a game allowed you to actually screw up and deal with it by moving on? Just something I've been considering, as it's one of the things that actually makes me want to buy the game.

I wish the city was a little more interactive. It might seem insignificant but I'd love to visit Cole's house, buy a hot dog or change the radio station.

thekingofcuba:
I dislike how often I disagree with Russ Pitts about certain aspects of his reviews. It confounds me because he's in charge of this wonderful site which I love. I hesitate to say this, but I think it's bugged me most when he reviews a game with puzzles and thinking. I personally find it almost insulting that he claims the interrogations aren't fun. It's one of the aspects I enjoy most about this game.

I'm on the vice desk, and I have rarely had much difficulty with interrogations (except for a few slippery individuals who gave me a bit of trouble). The thing to remember is that it's not just about the facial expressions. These are fairly important in determining Truth versus Doubt/Lie, but there's more to it. You need to actually understand everything in the case up to that point - like a detective would - to be successful.

The interrogations which troubled me were directly correlated to the times when I had misunderstood the whole picture the evidence tells. For example, there was a case in which I had completely misinterpreted this whole blackmail thing - once I realized that, the interrogation was simple, because I finally understand what was really going on.

Also, in the video he points out a trouble spot, but he had somehow missed/skipped certain really important evidence that you need in that interrogation. I'm not sure how that happened. I don't remember the order of things that well.

Anyway this game is amazing. I just wanted to say my piece. Sorry for the wall o' text

The fact that you haven't hit arson yet might affect your opinion. IMO, the difficulty of finding the magically correct evidence is most pronounced in Arson, although I hit it a little everywhere.

lumenadducere:
Hm, is it really a bad thing that the game lets you mess up an investigation and get the wrong guy? How long has it been since a game allowed you to actually screw up and deal with it by moving on? Just something I've been considering, as it's one of the things that actually makes me want to buy the game.

I don't think he's complaining about that possibility, just that the flaws in the interviewing make failure unfairly common.

To elaborate on the issue, there are situations where someone will say, I was not at [place name], so you select lie, then Phelps makes some wild accusation beyond where they were, like accusing them of the crime, then the interviewee tells you to prove it. Now do I try to prove their location, which I might prove either by a ticket stub I found or a more indirect comment someone else made, or do I try to prove what Phelps randomly accused them of, which I wasn't at all prepared to do and have no idea what to even look for? Only one piece of evidence can be right, and cases often have things like "shoes of size 8" "footprints" "footprints size 8" "statement that he wears size 8 shoes." Which one do I pick?

Short version, I think the game could have been improved by simply allowing multiple pieces of evidence to apply to the same lie. As it is a lot of interviews turn into guessing games.

(This in no way implies that I don't love this game or don't recommend that all human beings play it, because both are true)

Just a quick aside you *can* usually go back and re-try an interview when you blow it without restarting--just quit out mid-interview (or directly afterwards) and re-load. It's less back-tracking, far from perfect.

You can back out of Lie accusations too if you don't think any evidence fits, but I really do agree with Doubting and Truth. There are more than a couple times when I 'doubted' because MOST of the time it feels like 'Be skeptical and press for more information'--and then when Cole goes crazy and starts barking up a tree I NEVER intended, I get docked. A lot of times the response I was looking to SELECT was in Truth, but I assumed it was in doubt, or vice versa--or my favorite, when you feel you have the evidence that 'proves' a lie (and obviously does) but nope! You were supposed to select doubt! You can say 'that's part of it' but really, is any control where a player's intentions aren't accurately translated a 'good' part of anything?

Don't get me wrong, there are some fantastic parts to this game though.

For some reason I did not encounter the problem with the interrogations, and I'm already on the female pilot case... It all seems pretty repetitive when you observe the interrogated person you can easily figure out what you need to do, and even if you screw it up you have intuition to bail you out.

The only real problem for me is the terrible framerate ratio on xbox. But than again that's me being crazy.

CommanderKirov:

The only real problem for me is the terrible frame-rate ratio on xbox. But than again that's me being crazy.

Yeah that's the interesting part, when i was playing L.A Noire i had terrible frame rate some times, especially in chases if you skip the driving and the cut scene, game couldn't load the scenery before the chase. But for example I saw my friend playing the game yesterday for 12 hours and never once he had any problem on his Xbox360, no low fps no nothing.

Yeah I agree with what he said about interrogations. There was one case I had that i flubbed a lot of the interrogations and by the end of it I felt that I had missed so much information and it felt unresolved for me. I also swear there was one time I tried to prove someone was lying and i had two pieces of evidence that seemed to prove the exact same thing but somehow one was slightly better than the other and I failed.

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