Posts Tagged ‘Rockstar’

L.A. Noire Review

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L.A. Noire. You're gonna be impressed... to death.

Since I first heard of a game by Rockstar that promised to have the most epic facial mapping that was integral to the detective storyline, I was hooked.  With a concept so unique and sure to leave the other guys wondering why they hadn’t thought of it first, L.A. Noire is absolutely one of a kind.  This moody game isn’t afraid to delve into dark storylines to give it a gritty, yet realistic feel.  The frequent success of the Grand Theft Auto series spelled out no surprise that Rockstar has once again delivered an amazing game.  Read on to see the review of Rockstar’s latest, L.A. Noire.

Controls

The controls for L.A. Noire still need a little work.  The cover system in gunfights (and gunfights themselves) felt very awkward, and I found it difficult to move around in cover.  Yes, it’s true, I miss the ability to launch myself over the crate I’m hiding behind and run towards more cover.  Occasionally, while trying to be stealthy, I would have Cole pop out of cover to aim at the bad guy, and from him simply peeking out, the guy would notice him and start shooting.  I also got frustrated with how Cole ran, as I thought it was hard to run from cover and crouch behind a new hiding spot.

In certain areas, Cole seemed to shy away from walking into a corner or nook.  Me being the as meticulous as I am, this was exasperating.  I want to walk where I want to walk, damnit!

The investigative controls were somewhat finicky as well.  Cole needed to be in exactly the right place and stop just so in order for him to find a certain piece of evidence.  Normally I didn’t have too much trouble with this, but it could be frustrating to walk over the same spot multiple times, trying to get Cole to pick up the evidence.

Moving on to the car controls, I found these to be much improved from GTA’s latest installment with sluggish car controls.  In fact, the controls were nearly too touchy for me.  Believe me, I wracked up a lot of city and car damage costs in every case.  And killed someone walking down the street each time, too.

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L.A. Noire gets 3 out of 5 for Controls

Gamplay

The gameplay in L.A. Noire is almost 100% immersing.  You play as Cole Phelps, a cop who slowly rises in the police world by investigating various deaths and murders, and it’s easy to feel like you are Cole.  The tiniest details are placed in the game with care, and the vibe of the 1940’s is spot on.

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Yeah, this tiny tube could be easy to miss.

That said, there are a few factors working against the feeling that you really are there as Cole.  For one thing, the ‘side quests’ that come through over the radio tend to break in the tense mood that is so wonderfully created in L.A. Noire.  It actually feels like a letdown, when distracted by taking a mini mission, instead of racing to the bar where you need to go, as you’re sure to find some details in the recent murder you’ve been given.  These ’emergency radio calls’ feel very tacked on, as though the developers needed something else to keep the gamers going.  Why do we never hear other police units accept the challenge?  Are Cole and his partner the ONLY ones patrolling that could help?  These street crimes are fairly quickly resolved, but most end up in a shootout of some kind, and this is what really breaks the atmosphere of the 40’s.  Cole can take as many shots as he wants to take down the bad guys – he’s got UNLIMITED AMMO.  This may be a crutch of some kind, or maybe the developers were feeling extra giving that day, but it completely ruins the mood.

Another item would be the occasional feeling that Cole is connecting things that I didn’t know, or that I’m not completely following his deductions or the trail of the investigation.  Maybe I don’t have that detective wiring or maybe some investigations don’t get completely answered.

You know how in Grand Theft Auto, you can change the radio station in the car, or just completely turn it off?  It seems you can’t do that in L.A. Noire.  And that’s… a bit annoying.  Yes, I know that sometimes it’s the mood music.  But othertimes… there’s just no way to turn the car’s stereo off.

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L.A. Noire gets 3 out of 5 for Gameplay

Graphics

There’s nothing like L.A. Noire, with its gorgeous visuals and enormous yet accurate cities.  Or at least, I’m assuming accurate.  I’ve never been to Los Angeles.  I’m not joking here; the city is AMAZING.  It’s huge!  Yet every building, every house, every car, every mailbox has immaculate detail.  You can tell where the richer folk live, and where the people with less money live.  It’s incredible to be able to walk into a house and go through clues, or walk around the police building and see all the detail and busily working employees.

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Is he lying? You tell me.

Then there’s the actual ‘actors playing a character’ aspect.  And in my opinion, the decision to use this technology was the best choice.  It’s astounding to see a character go from tearful to shifty, from calm to explosive.  The ability to actually READ a person’s face in this game to determine if they are lying is incredible.  There is no hint of uncanny valley here, because the necessity to watch the characters on screen is so integral.  While sometimes movements from characters seems stiff or jerky, mostly everything is believable, and a small indiscretion doesn’t detract from the performances of the actors involved.

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L.A. Noire gets 5 out of 5 for Graphics

Story

Like I mentioned earlier, there is nothing on the market like L.A. Noire.  The story is driven by a detective / investigative scenario set in the 1940’s, where underneath all the glamour lies a grittier truth; murder, lies, and mobs.  The story about a detective will always be dark, and L.A. Noire doesn’t hold back.  The scenes of the crime are mainly all gruesome, and having to search the – sometimes naked – body (including turning the bloody, lifeless head back and forth to examine it) is one of the chilly details Cole must do.  Theft, rape, murder; it’s all here.  This is certainly no kids game.  But solving a crime using the evidence Cole has found, even accusing someone of lying, is a very satisfying feeling.  Choosing wrong answers in a conversation won’t necessarily leave Cole unable to continue in his investigation; it just offers a different ending.  **SPOILERS**  Take one case in which a hit and run accident is believed to be the cause of a man’s death.  However, talking to his wife, finding out how she didn’t love him (and how she had taken a lover on the side), and discovering from the coroner that, in fact, he had been stabbed prior to being hit with a car, leads you to the truth – that his wife and lover had planned to kill him.  This takes you on a very different path than had you not found all the clues or chose wrong answers in the wife’s conversation, which would result in the driver of the hit and run being blamed.  **END SPOILERS**

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The Coroner's Report

Being a better observer, and being able to catch when a person is lying based on evidence you found, will open up more dialogue options for you, and potentially, different endings to a case.  This makes the game more exciting to replay in order to have a case take a different turn.

The world is also completely open, so you are not forced to work on a particular case if you don’t want to.  There are plenty of other distractions, including the 40 street crimes to be resolved, finding every car variety and unlocking hidden cars, and unlocking landmarks.  You do receive experience points for doing these items, which helps you level up, so it does pay to look for them.

Cole’s past is explained in flashbacks between cases, so you do get to learn more about the ambitious detective you play as.  This helps to differentiate Cole from any of the other police officers.

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L.A. Noire gets 5 out of 5 for Story

Overall

Definitely worth buying if you’re interesting in the rich and mature detective story. The visuals on this game alone, particularly the characters, are worth a try.  Overall, I’d have to say that I’m absolutely enjoying this game, however there are a few setbacks that have trouble keeping me immersed in the world.  Those setbacks are not enough to keep from buying this game, but may cause a few annoying moments.  However, this title is worthy of standing with the Grand Theft Auto games by Rockstar, and I know I won’t be putting it down anytime soon.

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L.A. Noire overall gets a 4 out of 5

-Kat

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

L.A. Noire: Choose Your Pre-order Carefully

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Basically, this is exactly like Grand Theft Auto, except it's 1947 LA.

For L.A. Noire, you’d better choose your pre-order carefully…but of course, you don’t need to worry about it too much.  For one, we’ll lay out all the details for you and include links to easily accomplish your pre-ordering.  And secondly, eventually the content included with pre-orders will be released as DLC.  But who knows when that will be…so in the meantime, here are the details on pre-ordering bonuses!

Rockstar Games Store – If you decide to go straight to the Rockstar Games store to purchase your copy of L.A. Noire, all you’ll end up with is a t-shirt.  I’m not kidding.  Kinda sad, considering they’re one of the teams helping to create the pre-order content.

Amazon.comPS3 / XBox 360 Amazon pre-order customers will receive an exclusive suit and a pistol.  The Broderick Detective Suit is meant to help your hand-to-hand combat, as well as boosting your resistance to damage.

Best BuyPS 3 / Xbox 360 Best Buy also offers an exclusive suit and a pistol.  The suit included with your Best Buy pre-order, however, is the Sharpshooter Detective Suit.  This one is a no-brainer, helping improve your aim with rifles and pistols.

Wal-Mart PS3 / XBox 360 Customers who pre-order from Wal-Mart receive an additional case for you to solve, called ‘A Slip of the Tongue’.  The case includes an initial car theft, which ends up leading to one of the largest cases of stolen cars in the city ever.  Sounds interesting, but what does a slip of the tongue have to do with anything?

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This guy kinda makes me laugh. Despite the fact that he's pointing a gun in my general direction.

Gamestop PS3 / Xbox 360 – Gamestop seems to offer the largest array of pre-order bonuses, including an additional case to solve as well as a mission.  The case is called ‘The Naked City’, which has you investigate the supposed suicide of a young and gorgeous fashion model.  But with her being so beautiful and apparently naked, how will you ever get past the autopsy?  The mission you’re given with the bonus content is known as the ‘Badge Pursuit Challenge’, which has you hunt down 20 hidden police badges all over L.A.  Each badge provides 5 XP to help you gain Intuition Points.  If you successfully find all 20 badges, the ‘Button Man Suit’ will be unlocked, which provides additional ammo for all weapons.

Target – When you pre-order L.A. Noire from Target, you will receive a $5 gift card.  On top of that, if you purchase the game in-store during the launch week, you will get a Rockstar Games t-shirt.

L.A. Noire will be available for Playstation3 and Xbox 360 on May 17th.  And I’ve gotta say, I’d most likely pre-order L.A. Noire from Gamestop.  Where will you be pre-ordering?

-Kat

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)