This makes it near-impossible to fail a case, but itís not a ticket to free ride city...if you want those 5 stars and the best possible result, then youíre going to have to mix all the pillars and figure everything out to the last detail. Your case result at the end will depend on a lot of factors and your reputation in the department and on the streets does so as well.
Cole isnít a gang-banging killer or an immigrant stealing cars for his cousin, heís a true blue lawman with a gun and a badge. He does whatís right and thatís reflected in the gameplay mechanics Ė you canít kill innocent people, if you do so by accident expect a severe reprimand or a game over screen. This isnít GTA...there are certain things the game forgives but it doesnít reward you for being a psychopath.
L.A. Noire manages to take all the pillars of the game and combine them extremely well; the result is a gameplay experience that engages you in the life and troubles of an L.A. Detective from start to end and immerses you in a Noir movie or TV show that weaves a dramatic and disturbing story. L.A. Noire doesnít pull any punches in terms of its depiction of graphic violence but itís not done to excite or titillate, itís done to show just how heinous the crime being committed is.
As one final point of note, Rockstar and Team Bondi researched a lot of crimes and drew their inspiration from the real thing. Including the infamous Black Dahlia murder, so expect some harrowing scenes when youíre investigating the crime scene. Donít think this is a game aimed at kids, this is a proper mature game and this is how mature games should be done. Itís not a guns-blazing action game at all, the pacing may appear slow and flawed to some but as a fan of Noir and of the genre in general I found the pacing is perfectly suited to the whole game and as a result this could well be my favourite Rockstar title to date, sorry John Marston!Graphics
L.A. Noire is one of those games that can be described as luscious; it paints a picture of 1947ís L.A. in a gritty and dramatic way. Every single element of L.A. has been reproduced and downtown L.A. according to the gameís hint-notes has been reproduced 90% accurately. Itís this commitment to detail in the graphics that feed nicely into the aesthetics and immerses the player. Itís easy to forget that youíre playing a game with the latest in texture design and all the bells and whistles of a modern console and so on. Graphics are less important than how the game feeds the aesthetic and the atmosphere is pretty much perfect. From the environments, the cars, the people and the clothes they wear, itís a faithful replication of the era and there are some sharp suits in this game.
It has all the nice effects youíd expect from a game like this, day and night are equally well done and it just oozes the feel of 1947.
Also kudos to any game that has a Black and White filter so you can turn it on and get that true Noir feel.MotionScan
This is pretty much central to the whole L.A. Noire experience; using a revolutionary new facial mapping technology Rockstar and Team Bondi have captured the actors perfectly. They have taken every element of their performance into the game and this allows the player to see the suspect or witnessí every motion facially. From a furtive glance to a slight tug on the lip when theyíre telling a lie, to a direct hard stare when theyíre being truthful, itís all there and itís all possible thanks to MotionScan. It is this level of graphical fidelity when it comes to the facial mapping that makes L.A. Noire one of those genre-defining and bar-shifting games, this bar has been set really high now.
It would be a crime not to see this tech used in more games.Animations
Ah I think I sense Euphoria in action here, a much more refined version of the technology used in GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption. If it isnít the Skeletal Animation tech then itís just as good. Basically all of the animations are handled by the system and tweaked by hand now and then, they work really well and across the shooting, and driving, chasing down perps on foot and so on...it is all beautifully done. I am a huge fan of the context sensitive motions applied to Coleís movements so that he can step over (and not on) a dead body, cross a police rope and scale a wall or fence without the need for a single button press. The gunfights are made even more interesting by the use of this technology too, since there are no canned death animations.Physics
Thereís a lot of physics tied into the animation, itís all married nicely together and the vehicle physics are excellent. Thereís a load of fun to be had in the car chases and usually I dread things like this, but in the case of L.A. Noire itís tuned to near-perfection and tearing around the streets of L.A. is one of the best game experiences Iíve had since riding the range with John Marston in Red Dead. Physical blows in brawls feel as though they connect and itís possible to lose your hat in a fist fight as the punches connect. There's also some structural damage physics in place, so that shotgun blasts shoot off column masonary etc.