L.A. Noire Review

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One of the complaints I've seen here and there is the repetitive nature of the activities. On the one hand, I know what they mean, but on the other, every case has its own feel and events. It's not like playing through a movie, it's like playing through a TV series. Each case is like an episode. Yeah, the episodes have a formula, but the unexpected car chases, the unraveling of each conspiracy, the grappling with the realities of police work during that time... it's all so thoroughly engaging that I can't help but love every minute of it.

Though I do hate how cars never follow the proper traffic laws around you. I'm about ready to go on a rampage over the next car that tries to turn left in front of me when I have a green light. I mean c'mon, they wait for the NPC cars.

uk_john:
I am shocked this game is not on PC. First of all, as the review says, it has some very intellectual moments, secondly it is based in a period that more older PC gamers would know about and appreciate and thirdly, it's no big deal to have 2-3 DVD's because it's all installed to the hard drive!

As per the paltry 36 posts here, for a few people, this is going to be a brilliant game for many older more intellectual console gamers, I do not think the average Mass Effect/Bioshock/Halo console gamer will be interested. It's very hard to get sales numbers in the game business, but I would not be at all surprised if this doesn't even manage 2 million sales, half of what Rockstar games usually do. Giving the cost of development, this game won;t make a profit therefore, so I don't thin we'll see an L.A. noire 2.

Personally, I think a game like this would sell at least an additional 2 million on PC, and Rockstar are so missing out by making a game suitable for the PC market and PC gamers, but then only releasing it on console!

Well I can tell you now that you are wrong about everything, LA noire has already broken sales records in the UK for a new IP and for a gemer to remember the 50s they'd have to be in there late 60s

ha look you a fun time with it thats what im doing an yeah the interrogations are a little hard but thats how hard is to be a cop

de5gravity:

Captain Placeholder:
snip

They actually kind of address that in Podcast 003, you should give it a listen!

I will do that, Didn't even know The Escapist had a podcast :/ Note to self: Learn to read more.

Russ Pitts:

Captain Placeholder:
I do have a question - why is it that most of the games that are Multi-Platform are reviewed on 360? Is it just because most of the Escapist has one? I always wondered :/

If you could get back to me with the answer that would be great.

It varies by reviewer, but for me, I prefer to play a console version because I have a bad back and sitting at a PC all night and weekend after sitting at a PC all day is not fun :) And I tend to go to the 360 first because I'm more familiar with it. I will make exceptions for games that are PC exclusive or have some other compelling reason to be reviewed on PC or another console, but generally I like to review games on the platform I spend the most time with. It's not a grand conspiracy, just personal preference.

Ah, cool. Thanks for getting back to me with that :D

Darth Rahu:

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.

\
Don't you mean "Still doesn't stop the interactive entertainment from being kick ass however"? :P

Netrigan:

Cousin_IT:
So the game is great, except the gameplay? Sometimes I wonder if game critics wish they were reviewing movies as much as developers are accused of wishing they made them.

This is definitely one of those games that the users are going to be much harsher than the critics. It's fairly original and well-made, which is going to draw in the glowing reviews... but even those favorable reviews betray that game play can be needlessly frustrating.

I picked it up the other day and I hope I don't get too annoyed with the problems.

Until the issues start piling up, it's actually quite enjoyable. When the cases (think of them as episodes) are still fairly short & fresh, it's actually really fun & easy to look past the flaws. But as the cases get longer & more formulaic (investigate scene > find evidence > find suspect/drive to next scene > chase suspect > confront suspect with evidence > next case) the flaws become more glaringly obvious. It's especially annoying when you figure out who dunnit before the characters do, or find evidence in the wrong order, & then have to play through their clumsy path to the truth despite knowing they're doing it wrong.

Personally, I think all the comparisons with the film noir genre do LA Noire a disservice, even if it was clearly intended by the devs/publishers/marketers, because we instantly compare it to the greats of the genre. LA Noire is no The Maltease Falcon or The Third Man. What it is, if anything, is Stranger on the Third Floor, a film credited with laying the framework of the genre while itself not being very good. Hopefully, LA Noire will do the same, a proof of concept if you like, & we won't be stuck with it as the only example of when games tried to tell a crime narrative that wasn't Scarface or The Godfather.

To be honest, the thing preventing me most from getting the game is the faces. Something about how the faces and bodies seem completely out of sync is just too distractingly creepy.

ThaBenMan:
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.

Nice to see I'm not the only one who's noticed that though, for some reason, it never gets mentioned. As nice as the facial cap is in Noire, it's so blatantly obvious that they just stuck them on the same basic body models they've been using since GTA3.

Sure it doesn't kill the game but it's such an obvious visual anachronism that you can't help but be distracted by it.

@ Macrobstar - Broken FIRST WEEK sales figures. That doesn't mean it will be a big enough seller overall to make a profit. Given the $40 million development costs, that's about 4 million sales to break even, maybe a few more. I can't see it doing those numbers. Maybe 2-3 million.

Fanboys always come out to play when you tell the truth that doesn't match the hype!

I have already noticed a thread on a console gaming forum with a poll asking "what's the best RPG of 2011" and includes Dragon Age 2, Skyrim and The Witcher 2. On a PC gaming forum I don't think you would find a poll that listed a game that isn't even out yet as possible best RPG of the year!

uk_john:
Fanboys always come out to play when you tell the truth that doesn't match the hype!

I have already noticed a thread on a console gaming forum with a poll asking "what's the best RPG of 2011" and includes Dragon Age 2, Skyrim and The Witcher 2. On a PC gaming forum I don't think you would find a poll that listed a game that isn't even out yet as possible best RPG of the year!

What's up with you and your disgustingly elitist attitude when it comes to PC gaming? I've never seen it that bad, and I've seen it really bad on here.

Seriously, it's to the point where it's beyond me being pissed and onto me being curious as to how you could possibly think that PC gamers are so much better than other gamers. I'm not even going to bother trying to talk you down, I can tell it'd be a fruitless endeavor. I just want to know.

So, really, why? What the hell is up with that?

grimner:

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.

It would make sense if one of the design flaws of the game was that you don't have any sort of in game cues about where to find the clues. The first clue you find in the game is a murder weapon that's on top of a building, and which you find through a reflection. The game fails at giving you any sort of visual cue on where and how to look on most cases.

So it would be best to play with the queues on because without them you would be wandering around aimlessly anyway? That kind of sucks, I'd like to have a challenge in deducting what could and couldn't be a clue, but whatever.

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.

Not really, personally I don't ever leave a crime scene until I've found all the evidence. I just know that unless I find every piece then the one piece I miss is going to be the one I need. That paranoia keeps me from ever leaving a scene unfinished. That, and I'm a huge completionist.

Wuggy:

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.

yeah but it wasn't just the Xbox 360, I heard that even the Playstations Blu-Ray disc couldn't hold everything that they wanted to include in the final version of the game

uk_john:
Fanboys always come out to play when you tell the truth that doesn't match the hype!

I have already noticed a thread on a console gaming forum with a poll asking "what's the best RPG of 2011" and includes Dragon Age 2, Skyrim and The Witcher 2. On a PC gaming forum I don't think you would find a poll that listed a game that isn't even out yet as possible best RPG of the year!

Except Skyrim, I don't care what PC forums you're on, everyone knows that it has the potential to be the best of the year. If you can't accept that then you're just plain dumb. Now if it lives up to the hype and is more than a buggy update of Oblivion (so basically just an updated Oblivion), that's another story altogether. But I guarantee you, everyone, fanboy or not, knows that this game could easily be the best RPG of the year. Especially considering the poor showing so far.

Ilikemilkshake:

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

Ditto. Thank goodness for this feature, or it would take 3 times as long to get those interrogations to 100%. It's not exactly necessary in order to complete the game, but I feel uneasy about putting the wrong person in jail for something /I/ did wrong. Bad juju, that.

StriderShinryu:

ThaBenMan:
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.

Nice to see I'm not the only one who's noticed that though, for some reason, it never gets mentioned. As nice as the facial cap is in Noire, it's so blatantly obvious that they just stuck them on the same basic body models they've been using since GTA3.

Sure it doesn't kill the game but it's such an obvious visual anachronism that you can't help but be distracted by it.

I thought it was just me. The faces feel slightly off, and I can tell now that you've mentioned it that it's because of the same problem nearly every game (except Uncharted) has: Body language not matching facial/voice cues. Not only that, did anyone else notice that most of the ladies looked /especially/ peculiar, whereas most of the guys looked okay? I can't put my finger on why, but they /really/ look weird to me...

ZeroMachine:

Seriously, it's to the point where it's beyond me being pissed and onto me being curious as to how you could possibly think that PC gamers are so much better than other gamers?

Won't answer for uk john, but I personally don't think it's an issue of 'PC gamers are so much better than other gamers', but the issue that a PC as a gaming platform is just a better gaming platform than a console.

uk_john:
I am shocked this game is not on PC. First of all, as the review says, it has some very intellectual moments, secondly it is based in a period that more older PC gamers would know about and appreciate and thirdly, it's no big deal to have 2-3 DVD's because it's all installed to the hard drive!

As per the paltry 36 posts here, for a few people, this is going to be a brilliant game for many older more intellectual console gamers, I do not think the average Mass Effect/Bioshock/Halo console gamer will be interested. It's very hard to get sales numbers in the game business, but I would not be at all surprised if this doesn't even manage 2 million sales, half of what Rockstar games usually do. Giving the cost of development, this game won;t make a profit therefore, so I don't thin we'll see an L.A. noire 2.

Personally, I think a game like this would sell at least an additional 2 million on PC, and Rockstar are so missing out by making a game suitable for the PC market and PC gamers, but then only releasing it on console!

*raises hand* Um, I'm a self-proclaimed Bioware junkie and I play FPS with my friends every Sunday and Monday. I also had this game on pre-order since it was first announced, because I love old movies, especially film noir.

Way to make sweeping generalizations when you don't have all the data. On a related note, Avatar cost more than a few boatloads of cash to produce, yet I don't see James Cameron crying into his beer at local pub because he lost his shirt (and his house...and his car...and his boat...) due to poor ticket sales. Food for thought.

Oh, wait. There's also the fact that Obsidian Entertainment turns out crappy game after lackluster title, yet they STILL manage to get financial backing for their latest unpolished turd. If they can get money, I'm betting Rockstar won't have a problem with producing a sequel to this game.

As hyped as this has been for visuals, this game sits eerily in the uncanny valley for me. Every bit of footage I've seen is twitchy and creepy. Not being a fan of noire's at all, I can safely avoid this. Beyond saying that, for period pieces set in this time, Mafia II did a lot more for me, because it didn't stare at me in a manner so unsettling I needed to remind myself that real creatures don't move like that.

Even if they're all hyped up, their faces are creepy as hell...

Andronicus:
Hehe, actually, I'm not really a big fan of GTA at all. I loved the openness of the GTA games (III and onwards; never really got to play the top down ones), but the gameplay was really just meh to me. There's only so much shooting people I can deal with before I feel like putting the gun to my own head. The majority of the missions were just "go here and shoot this person". The only reason I put up with it was because it had a fascinating sandbox world to explore, and the only way to see it was, of course, to do missions. You know, I never really understood people who would randomly just run around shooting pedestrians, or running them over in cars; I just never saw the point. That, and the whole modern "gangsta" vibe it gave off, especially in San Andreas, pretty much put me off completely. But LA Noire is pretty much that entire sandbox world, in an awesome period, with an awesome noire theme, with an emphasis on cognitive processes beyond matching up reticules with pixelated heads.

So yeah, I'm of the mindset that would tend to explode, as you described.

And yeah, this is a big coup for the Australian industry considering how big it is. I'm actually having a lot of trouble finding a reason to not buy this game. The only thing stopping me from running out and buying it right now is the fact that I have exams in two weeks. That, and the shops are closed at this time of night.

Then you know just how to treat yourself when exams are done, finito, ended, in the can, blammo.
Have fun and don't tell any spoilers!

So its basiclly a bigger budget CSI game? You just let the game lead you by the hand and ensuring you find all the things you need. No detecting needed, just wait for the music to stop and then leave the area. Would have prefered if you did all the searching yourself and when you left the crime scene there is no going back. If you failed to get the pieces of proof you needed to arrest the criminal then tough. You fail. Makes it more realistic.

awesome, but it still doesnt tell me whether or not to buy this damn game!

hmm, when the price is right i think.

MiracleOfSound:
(can we coin the term IE now and take credit for it?)

DAMMIT ninja'd again

An comparison I believe I'll be using a lot with this game is it's like the first Assassin's Creed.

Fun interesting concept that really didn't do anything different throughout the whole game leaving the same old repetitive mission after mission.

But if you think about it, Assassin's Creed 2 picked up the ball like it was no one's business.

Imagine a sequel to this game doing just that.

(cough)Sequel called New York Confidential(cough)

(cough) Josh Hartnett as main detective(cough0

voorhees123:
So its basiclly a bigger budget CSI game? You just let the game lead you by the hand and ensuring you find all the things you need. No detecting needed, just wait for the music to stop and then leave the area. Would have prefered if you did all the searching yourself and when you left the crime scene there is no going back. If you failed to get the pieces of proof you needed to arrest the criminal then tough. You fail. Makes it more realistic.

That would literally make half the gamers playing this game tear their eyeballs out of their skulls.

Remember this lesson kids! Realism doesn't automatically make a game more fun.

There are scenes where if they didn't grab your hand through the thing you would be looking around for hours.

love the game, but it has serious awesome alongside serious problems. minor points first; whats with the arbitrary gameplay shifts? the game throws a swinging ceiling ornament and collapsing floor at you, throws a paragraph of instructions into the corner and expects you to master it all in 10 seconds or die. either you succeed through confusion, or fail and just read what you missed the second time and easily win.

the game also really needs to decide whether its open-ended or linear; which chases are scripted and impossible and which ones can i end with a tackle/wheel shoot/whatever? there isnt much point to the sandbox; its just to collect useless crap and do some sidequests; sure it adds to the immersion of the game, but i cant help thinking that all the time and money put into it couldve gone to making more and more polished core gameplay.

definitely agree about the interrogations; especially in the later cases, it just stops making sense. its easy enough to tell when people are lying, but ironically the existence of the 'doubt' option makes me constantly doubt my thoughts on the right answer; and thats part of the problem. there is always one AND ONLY ONE right answer, even when they give you the same or even less information!

not only do you often have multiple similar pieces of evidence but only one works, 'lie' often sends cole into a tangent that challenges a completely different question. the average 'lie' option:

cole: "what time did you leave the restaurant?"
suspect: "uh...i cant remember; maybe around 7pm?"
cole: "i dont like being lied to. you ordered a vanilla milkshake, come clean with me!"
suspect: "your crazy! i like chocolate! prove that chocolate isnt my favorite flavor of milkshake!"

*cole then muses over whether to present the evidence of suspect leaving at 8pm, or the vanilla milkshake he ordered, despite the fact that he could honestly not remember or he couldve ordered a different flavor than his favorite.*

i think the system needs some ground up reworks really; there is just too many ways the player's train of logic can come crashing down with the current options. the way your very first interrogation is described as is how they all should be; instead of truth and doubt have 'gentle' and 'firm'; if theyre just scared witnesses or you feel being nice is the way to go, pick gentle; if theyre shifty types or are playing hardball, be firm; lie can stay the same, as long as the original response is what im trying to prove/disprove and not whatever wild accusation cole pulls out his ass. that way the facial animations are all the more important, because it becomes about reading their feelings and motives in the interview and how best to deal with certain types of people rather than just their individual responses; about manipulating the conversation to get the info you want by reading how they respond to certain tactics instead of pass/fail.

denoting each response as right or wrong should be gone; your choices should affect the flow of the conversation and how much they will be willing to tell by the end of it, instead of cole apparently completely giving up on a question if his first tactic doesnt work; there is no right and wrong in an interview, just effective and ineffective. the effective responses will give you more info to go on, the ineffective responses giving you less; the player shouldnt immediately be told if they suck or are awesome, that colors their interpretations of how the system works; players should be left to their own strategies; if they find they dont get much info, theyll reevaluate by paying more attention next time, not getting pissed that their train of logic doesnt match up with what cole is saying and restarting, solving it through trial and error.

all and all, still a great game....except for homicide. seriously, fuck homicide and its obvious red herrings, forced incompetence, and overall pointlessness of every case. it might sound like i dont like the game, but i only complain because i care :)

abseloutley TERRIBLE ending...

Agreed, this game is nearly perfect (and to show how good this game is, imo, when I moved to the Homicide desk, I listened to my partner for about one line, and then I was like "Is that Bernie Gunther?" :P)
great stuff, a must buy in my book :D

Sorry, but any game that restricts when I can take out my gun or punch people isn't allowed to call itself a sandbox game.

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