dimsey's L.A. Noire (Xbox 360) review

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Like solving crimes? You should probably play this.

 
I don't know anything about Noir as a genre or Police Procedural for that matter, but LA Noire has a gripping atmosphere and that the police work depicted in the game is more about clue finding, suspect interrogating and witness interviewing than simply shooting guys makes the game a dozen times more interesting than it could've been otherwise.

Combat actually is arguably the games weakest point from a gameplay perspective.
Not that it's terrible, it's just thoroughly average. It takes inspiration from GTA. You pull the left trigger to aim, it locks onto any guys who're sticking their heads out and you pull the trigger. Weapons don't feel or sound like they pack much of a punch. Fortunately there isn't a lot of shooting in the game and combat sections go by pretty quick. If you suck at combat and somehow manage to die a lot you're even given the chance to skip it with no repercussions.

You won't be playing LA Noire for it's gun play, you'll be playing it for it's authentic representation of police work. And I don't say authentic in the sense that it's 100% accurate to how police work is or rather was done, I say authentic in the sense that you'll be spending more time with clues and witnesses than killing dudes as you would in any other game that puts you in the role of a law enforcer.

Most cases you'll start by getting to the crime scene. Someone will give you a run down of what appears to have happened. Then you'll be given the opportunity to sweep the area for clues.

You'll walk about the crime scene and whenever you're near a clue you'll feel a rumble in your game pad, plus you'll hear a little jingle. You can turn these cues off if you want a more genuine experience, but even with the cues on I still managed to miss a bit. As helpful as they are it doesn't make the game unbearably easy.

Once you're confident you've cleaned the area up you can move onto interviewing witnesses, possible suspects and neighbours who might've overheard things.

This is where the games bullet point feature of motion captured faces comes to bear.
Faces look freaking amazing. You could argue that being on typically gamey bodies makes it stand out too much, but personally I was so captivated by the faces I barely noticed anything from the neck down.

Faces animated realistic, which is integral as during interviews and interrogations you'll be looking for visual cues. Ticks to tell you whether the person in question is being 100% honest with you. If you know they aren't and you have the evidence to prove it you'll be able to bust it out during the conversation to get them talking.

There was at least one or two instances where I thought I had a couple of pieces of evidence that should have got the guy talking, but I think the game only looks out for one specific thing. Though it's totally possible I was just completely off-base. I don't think I was, but it's possible!

You'll take on cases from Traffic, Homicide, Ad Vice and Arson.
There is an overarching plot that connects everything, but I didn't feel it was the best part of the game. I won't spoil anything but I also felt the ending was kind of... Lame, for lack of a better word. Ignoring the overarching plot, individual cases taken by themselves absolutely enthralling and will keep you hooked right up until the end.

I finished the game in about 17 hours, though it could have been substantially longer if I'd chosen to take on more of the street crimes and look for collectibles. Street crimes are actually where most of the shooting comes from, but as I didn't find that part of the game terrific I mostly ignored them. You can also find hidden vehicles and film reels, but I'm not a big fan of collectibles so I mostly let them slide.

I don't really have anything to add.
I love this game! Being on the right side of the law in a game has never been so fun.
It's certainly the most fun I've had with an adventure game... Ever, probably.
I credit the game with giving me interest in Noir and Police Procedural, I will certainly be chasing up more stuff in this vein.

If you're after a good action game there's better out there, but if you want cop game that involves more than just killing bad guys then you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Other reviews for L.A. Noire (Xbox 360)

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