Gamers looking for something different from the market should rejoice at the release of Rockstar Games’ “L.A. Noire,” as the title delivers a unique and innovative experience with stellar graphics and a compelling plot.
Set against the iconic imagery of 1940s Los Angeles, the title follows World War II veteran Cole Phelps as he ascends the ranks within the LAPD’s detective division.
While Rockstar may be best known for delivering action-packed, sandbox-style games including the massively popular Grand Theft Auto franchise, “L.A. Noire” isn’t a title designed to rev up your heart rate. Instead, the game calls on players to use their best investigative techniques and intellect as they try and solve a series of crimes ranging from vehicular homicide to arson.
Events within the game unfold in a similar pattern on a case-to-case basis. Phelps is called to the scene of a crime where the player begins to piece together what went down through careful examination of physical evidence and interviewing witnesses.
The interviewing process is one area where “L.A. Noire” shines. Like any real investigation, most of the people Phelps meets don’t readily provide an entirely accurate description of what went down.
Through reviewing evidence and carefully watching a suspect’s facial expressions — which look remarkable due to the use of Rockstar’s new technology — the player is able to believe or doubt what an interview subject is saying. Phelps can also try and catch the subject in a lie by referencing specific pieces of evidence that don’t quite jive with a given story.
As Phelps moves through each interview the gamer’s experience makes it easier to judge when someone is or isn’t telling the truth. Despite this seemingly repetitive process, each investigation is made interesting by the magnificent stories contained in each individual case and an overarching story line.
To make sure things don’t get too monotonous, however, there are several dispatch missions the gamer can opt to take part in, most of which feature some sort of chase, fist fight or shoot-out.
Overall, the various elements presented in “L.A. Noire” come together in creating a title that is engaging and vibrant. In a gaming landscape that has no shortage of sports simulations, first-person shooters and puzzle games, “L.A. Noire” is a breath of fresh air for those who want to get their hands on something different.
This title isn’t for everyone. It could easily become a bore for those who play games in search of heart-pounding excitement and incredible amounts of violence. But if you’re a patient, thoughtful gamer who feels up for trying something new, “L.A. Noire” is a can’t-miss.