This review is an unedited version of the review written by Zombie Dredd and published in the Tech Magazine: Issue 56 April 2018.
L.A. Noire originally released in 2011, and saw developers Rockstar ignoring the pleas for a new Grand Theft Auto (GTA) by placing you on the ‘right’ side of the law.
In many ways, L.A. Noire on release was GTA in another coat, but it brought a new trick with it that required the development of the most advanced facial animations ever seen in a game. As a detective in Los Angeles just after the second World War, you didn’t have DNA or advanced science labs to assist you in catching the bad guy. No, you had your gut and your gut needed to be able to tell if the suspect’s upward glance when answering a question meant they had something to hide or not. And thankfully, Rockstar pretty much ensured that every nervous glance or sweaty forehead was believable.
Fast forward to the remaster of this Rockstar game and using the power under the current generation of consoles, those facial animations are event more realistic than ever with an additional lick of polish here and there.
The story remains unchanged. You play as Cole Phelps, an ex-Marine who starts as a patrolman in the Los Angeles police who must work his way through the various divisions while solving a variety of crimes and optional side-investigations. It should come as no surprise that as you continue your rise through the police ranks, the world becomes muddied with corruption and conspiracy.
Progress is made by solving crimes, and solving crimes requires investigation of the scene, interrogation of the witnesses and suspects, car chases, gunfights and some partners. The action scenes are played out in the GTA-like third-person perspective while the interrogations see the hyped facial animations in action. Phelps can react to the responses from the interviewees in one of three ways, which will lead the questioning down varying routes.
As mentioned before, the interrogation scenes require graphics (and voice-acting) that are believable and in that regard, the game does not disappoint. In fact, the game is generally great to look at. Los Angeles is well realised with the era being unique in gaming themes. However, the city doesn’t feel as alive as other open-world games do, which does suspend belief just a little. But ultimately, this is a game all about the story and the attention to details required to solve the unfolding drama around you.
The game is not one for everyone. It takes itself pretty seriously and can be very challenging due to its unique story and gameplay features. L.A. Noire Remastered also may not be different enough from the original to give those who played it the first time a reason to do so again. However, it is what happens when Rockstar pushes themselves to do something other than GTA and they remain true masters at creating quality gaming experiences for gamers.
What L.A. Noire is, is a true slow-burn detective thriller that is mature and still unlike many other games released in the last few years.
Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
Distributed in SA by: Prima Interactive