Video Game Review: L.A. Noire (PlayStation 3)

Being both a fan of film-noir and several video games put out by Rockstar over the years, L.A. Noire should be a pretty awesome experience for me. It was a mixed bag but the game falls mostly on the positive side.

It benefits from the fact that it stars an actor from Mad Men, one of my favorite shows of the last decade or so and it even has cameos by other Mad Men actors. A few familiar faces will pop up throughout the game. There are no major stars but you do see certain characters played by actors you’ll recognize from various things. I had a lot of, “Oh, wait! That’s that guy from that thing!” moments.

L.A. Noire follows the same sort of gaming style as Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption. However, being that it forces you to be a cop that performs “by the book”, it makes the game more limited than those other games from Rockstar. You don’t have the freedom to make moral choices and thus, the free roam aspect of the game isn’t a true free for all. I wish you had the ability to walk a different path but the game’s story and the purpose it serves is still entertaining and worth your time.

You mostly play as Cole Phelps, who is played by Aaron Staton. You are an ex-Marine from World War II with a past that comes back to have a major effect on the overall story. Within the main timeline of the game, Phelps starts out as a patrol cop and moves into being a detective, moving around into different branches based off of how he is promoted or demoted. However, these promotions and demotions aren’t really based off of anything you can control.

The graphics are solid, the motion capture is absolutely top notch and this game utilized it in ways that no other game had before it. It is certainly innovative and impressive and the motion capture work is what makes this game come alive and what provides the unique experience of interviewing characters and making decisions based off of how they physically react to your questions and evidence.

L.A. Noire has been out for a while now and I hope it becomes a franchise in the same vein as GTA and Red Read. I guess time will tell but quite some time has already passed.

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