A Very Memorable Experience
LA Noire is a genre breaking game. Yes it has an open world and 3rd person shooter mechanics but unlike many of Rockstar's other games this is nothing like Grand Theft Auto.
The game surrounds you in a fully fleshed out version of 1940's LA populated by civilians, trams, cars and stylish scenery. You take on the role of Detective Cole Phelps a war veteran who has firmly entrenched himself into the LAPD. Throughout the game you will progress through the police force earning promotions to different desks, giving you opportunity to try your hand at Homicide, Vice and Arson. Each of these desks are split up into a set of cases that you progress through one at a time although there are some story elements that will continue over a whole desk or even larger portions of the game.
The only genre you can compare LA Noire to is an adventure game. At the start of a case you are presented with a crime scene that you must search for clues. This is not quite as gruelling as pixel hunting and it was only occasionally that I found myself frustrated looking for a clue. Some clever game mechanics are used to make this crime scene searching a lot more forgiving. As you search the scene, music plays to let you know there are clues still to be found and your controller will subtly vibrate when you are stood next to an object that can be examined. All clues you find are put into a log book that you can refer to later in the case.
After examining a scene you will then use these clues to find suspects and interrogate them. At the end of a suspects answers you can select whether or not they are telling the truth or if you doubt there response. You can also accuse a suspect of lying but to do this you have to have some hard evidence to back up your claim. I did occasionally find these options a bit too blunt with me having a slight inclination of doubt and Phelps' reaction to this being strongly shouting down the person in question. If you know nothing about LA Noire you may be thinking it is impossible to read a game character but Team Bondi's revolutionary new motion scanning technology eliminates the problem. This really makes it feel like you are watching an actors television performance and although I was rubbish at reading people it works ridiculously well.
LA Noire is an open world game involving shooting sections and chase scenes but this is such an insignificant amount of the game that all I will say is that it is very similar to GTA games. However, it is very important to say that you cannot pull out your gun on the street or mow down civilians which keeps a sense of realism to the character of Cole. In my opinion Cole is not a particularly fleshed out character with a lot of his personal actions seeming to simply develop the story rather than making you care about Phelps. Some flashbacks help but a lot I never found myself invested in the protagonist. That doesn't mean the story is poor though, the cases are very well crafted and all the acting performances are at the top of their game.
This game is something I believe everyone should experience however, there are some small grievances that stop it from reaching its full potential. The way the game progresses it starts to become apparent after several hours that the effect of your decisions is quite insignificant save for the grade you are given at the end of each case. I also found that without a development in the games mechanics as you progress I became tired of the game towards the end giving exception to the exciting conclusion.
LA Noire is an amazing hand crafted experience. You are fully emerged in the world of the 1940's and the unique gameplay experiences are a breath of fresh air in this current climate of shooters. Everyone should at least see the game in action and only a handful of small issues stop it reaching its full potential.