L.A. Noire (XBox 360) First Impressions: The Elegant, Brainy Cousin of Grand Theft Auto and Mafia

L.A. Noire (XBox 360)

Playing L.A. Noire made by Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this game fits into the mold of a niche game with its much slower pace and thinking involved.  It’s far brainier than Grand Theft Auto and a bit more cinematic than its cousin Mafia II.  Although admittedly there is shooting involved, but there is far more investigation involved which leads to some brainwork.  The game helps by lending a notebook involving major clues involved in cases.  In some ways, L.A. Noire is including the interactive parts inspired by the CSI video game series and Bully.  However, unlike the CSI video game series, this game has more direction in the clues involved.

The interrogation is particularly interesting as the facial features of each character are fantastic.  With each case, Detective Cole Phelps interrogates each suspect, using the evidence collected at particular scenes or identification of the weapon and its casings. The music is crucial to the game as it helps the player identify pieces of evidence.  Additionally, the music in the background,  is very period.  Cole Phelps interrogates the suspect by looking at the suspect and deciding if they’re lying or not.  He is given three choices based on the suspect’s  behavior: Lie, Doubt or Truth.  The player can request help from the Rockstar Community on cases using an Intuition point.  The interrogation portion reminds me of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? television show sometime ago. Despite all this, the animations for the characters are still reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto or Mafia.  Although a tad cleaner, their bodies are still very blocky, including their arms and hands, and some of the animations are glitchy.  In fact, during the second case, I suffered a glitch in the game as the suspect attempted to run away and was partially stuck in the wall of a store.

L.A. Noire is the elegant and brainy cousin of Grand Theft Auto and Mafia so far.  It’s inclusion of evidence-finding combined with interrogation of suspects makes full use of the “revolutionary new facial animation technology” (as declared on back of video game case).  It is bound to be quite lengthy with the cinematics, finding each piece of evidence, the interrogations and the fact that the game is contained on three game discs. I expect the game to last for at least 30 hours, if not 40.  Overall, I have gained a favorable first impression of the game. It is at least a 8.7 out of 10 so far, but this game is not without its flaws.

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