Developer(s) – Team Bondi
Publisher(s) – Rockstar Games
Director – Brendan McNamara
Producer(s) – Naresh Hirani & Josh Needleman
One of the most highly anticipated games of 2011, and almost a decade in the making, LA Noire was released to great critical acclaim, with many critics commenting that the game is indistinguishable from a film. Personally, I don’t understand how that would be a good thing, and whilst I don’t think it isn’t a terrible game, it is indeed incredibly overrated.
Graphics – 9/10
The best aspect of it, in my opinion, is the visuals. Using motion capture technology, actors were integrated into the game to player their respective characters, and to make the experience as realistic and as cinematic as possible. They are some of the best graphics to have been rendered throughout the seventh generation of gaming, since not only is it a decent-looking game from a technical standpoint, but the developers also did a pretty decent job of depicting the era that the game is set in, with the fashion style of many characters, aspects of film noir and architectural details among other factors.
Gameplay – 6/10
What I wasn’t impressed with, however, was the gameplay, as despite the developer’s efforts to provide innovation within the industry, it seemed underwhelming for how big a world is included in it, and how linear a progression it takes on. Much like Grand Theft Auto, it’s a glorified game of Cops & Robbers, but the payer is this time on the side of good. But aside from taking part in arrests and shoot-outs, the player must also interrogate criminals and witnesses by using their facial expressions to determine whether they are either telling the truth, saying something doubtful or flat-out lying; which is where the remnants of innovation are shown. I can’t help but feel that the game, even along with the additional DLC release for it, was way below par compared with many other games that Rockstar have put out over the years.
Controls – 10/10
As the game was most likely developed using a similar engine to that of any other Grand Theft Auto game, there aren’t any problems with its control scheme, since a lot of practice has been had. The interrogation mechanics were also very well handled, as were things such as movement and aiming, which to me, had been a problem in some Grand Theft Auto games in particular It was refreshing to see that the development team had taken things like this into consideration at least.
Lifespan – 5/10
Since the gameplay is extremely wanting compared to any Grand Theft Auto title, it also lasts a considerably shorter time; especially as GTA games have practically unlimited replay value, as many YouTube users have proven. A major difference being is that since the player is on the side of good, going kill-crazy is a lot more taxing on the player, as they will be demoted within the police department, so therefore, less time-consuming than doing the same thing in a Grand Theft Auto game. It’s pretty daunting to think that the developers couldn’t have added a facility to be able to infinitely prevent crime in LA Noire, in a similar way that they add the facility to infinitely commit it in Grand Theft Auto.
Storyline – 7/10
As was heavily advertised before the game’s release, it also has a fairly gripping story attached to it, with some pretty decent performances with many of the actors involved. The game revolves around recently promoted police inspector Cole Phelps, played by Mad Men’s Aaron Staton, who is eventually caught up in a huge scandal gripping Los Angeles, which that he must stop. The game’s story also speaks very true to the time that it was set in; back when President Harry S Truman was in office, and in the process of funnelling money back into the country following the American Depression and World War II, and more people than ever were in pursuit of the American Dream, of which there are indeed aspects of in this game.
Originality – 6/10
Despite the fact that this title plays out fairly different to Grand Theft Auto, it does it in a fashion, which in my opinion makes it seem considerably worse than the former; let alone other mainstream games, and especially considering how much time and money was poured into the project over a great number of years. It certainly wasn’t the most exciting game to have been released in 2011, with the likes of Rage, Batman: Arkham City and Skyrim having seen the light of day within that time.
Overall, LA Noire was a fairly well developed game, but massively overrated in my opinion. To me, all the signs seem to indicate that the developers concentrated more on story than gameplay, unlike in many Grand Theft Auto titles, which most often than not, provide a decent equilibrium between these two aspects.