I have to admit that after playing through L.A. Noire, the new game from game publisher Rockstar – those wonderful people who bought you the throughly brilliant Grand Theft Auto series and the utterly awesome Red Dead Redemption – I am a little bit mystified by all the rave reviews it has been gathering.
To be fair to the game, it is a stunning technical achievement – with incredible facial motion capture – boasts innovative gameplay and is a brave and absorbing effort at combining movies and games like never before, but it simply isn’t quite the utter masterwork that a lot of the reviews claim.
Set in the late forties, the L.A.Noire is a compelling film noir-style (hence the name) game with the player controlling a cop who gets involved in a deep, involved conspiracy in a beautifully rendered – and utterly enormous – version of Los Angeles.
Innovative gameplay comes in the form of investigating crime scenes and questioning witnesses and suspects (using the the incredibly detailed motion capture to tell whether they are telling the truth or not) in order to solve the crimes as you work your way up the ladder in the L.A.P.D.
While in theory it sounds incredible – and initially it is – in reality it soon becomes repetitive.
Wandering around crime scenes waiting for the controller to vibrate, signifying the presence of a clue – whether it actually be relevant or not – and then choosing whether the parade of recognisable B-grade TV actors who play the witnesses and suspects are either telling the truth, withholding something or flat-out lying soon becomes a bit of a chore that sometimes slows the compelling storyline to a crawl.
Add in the slightly clunky and awkward controls on foot and in the cars and L.A Noire falls below the “great” tag suggested by the great story and stunning visuals (and reviews) to become merely “good”
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also available on: PS3
Rating: 3/5 No, it’s not as great as some would suggest, but it is still very much worth a look.