Monday, June 20, 2011

LA Noire - Finis!

I have finished LA Noire but it isn't done with me yet.
What an engaging and cinematically gratifying game!
In the same vein as titles such as Heavy Rain and The Godfather, Rockstar definitely took players to the movies with this one.  Everything about the game, down to the music was perfectly tailored to the experience of being in the troubled post-war era of 1940's Los Angeles.

Synopsis: You begin the game as Cole Phelps, a straight arrow patrolman whose quick thinking lands him a promotion to traffic detective.  Through quick thinking and a desire to right wrongs, the entire city begins to see him as a "good case man", who solves some of the city's most horrific of murders, sneakiest schemes and the strangest puzzles.  Playing as Cole, you originally find him to be everything he seems, but through sepia-toned snippets the game slowly reveals his life as a Marine in the war and eventually a war hero.  By picking up and reading the various newspapers found lying around, you are treated to another intriguing back story which involves one of Cole's former fellow servicemen, Courtney Sheldon, as he forms a questionable partnership with rising psychiatrist Dr. Harlan Fontaine.

As the three plots continue, the level of crimes Cole is faced with rises from murder to corporate schemes and drug trafficking, and it becomes painfully obvious that everything you've seen is connected.  Solving the cases is one thing, but getting to the bottom of what tugs at Cole's heartstrings and torments him is another.

Mrs.Tiye's Likes/Dislikes:

  • The graphics weren't "amazing" by some people's standards, but the game itself was visually stunning.  The detail of the characters, cars, and locations was great to look at.  For a first-person 1-player game, I think this one has the ability to appeal to groups as well because even just watching someone else play and helping them solve the cases was fun.
  • The cast of Mad Men and their cameos.  I just have a thing for that era, and to see faces I'm already used to seeing in that decade, cross over to a game, made me smile.
  • The Cases.  I am a sucker for "ripped from the headlines" stuff, and these cases were based loosely on actual cases from the time period in LA.  Finding evidence that can be tricky, judging facial expressions for truth and deception, and choosing between two seemingly guilty suspects was made more fun by the fact that the slight twitches and smirks were clearly taken directly from the real actors.  
  • Replay Value!!  While the extra "missions", short street cases you gain by answering patrol calls, are a bit repetitious, they do give you more to do if you just haven't had enough Cole Phelps or streets of LA.  Aside from those, there are downloadable full cases that will be released in the future, and little discoverable items hidden around the city.
  • The controls.  The auto-aim was great, but perhaps a bit too perfect for gamers who like the idea of aiming on their own.  After playing this game for a couple weeks, I still wasn't accustomed to the correct buttons for shooting or taking cover.  A game with good controls has buttons you can come back to months later and still remember, if I go home today and play this one, I'll need a refresher.
  • Homicide desk  - The cases on the Homicide desk were amazing. They were loosely based on the true story of the Black Dahlia case of 1947.  They are riveting to watch and fulfilling to complete....but they have nothing to do with the other cases or backstories you encounter.  If they are there to give an idea of what the police force was like, then I get it, but if not,...what a waste!
  • That I can't order it for my teens!  The game is rated M, and it should be due to some of the language and the fact that many of the murder victims are found nude.  

Final Thoughts: The game was fun and captivating! My next step is reading the accompanying case books that were released a few weeks ago to see what I think of them.  I will also be looking for other detective and mystery games for my teens that are rated T and under.
Check out this trailer for the Upcoming Nicholson Electroplating Case


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