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There's a million stories in the naked city. This is some of them.

  • May 19, 2011
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L.A. Noire is the latest game from Rockstar, best known for games such as Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption. It's a game that's both very similar to those and very, very different.

The main character of the game is Cole Phelps (Aaron Stratton, best known for his role as Ken Cogrove in Mad Men). Phelps is a WWII vet living in 1946 Los Angeles. He has recently become a police officer in the LAPD. He starts out as a beat cop and slowly works his way up through traffic and on up the ladder. Throughout he's solving cases, chasing bad guys and driving really old cars really fast.

I cannot think of enough good things to say about this game. Let's start with the acting. It's top-notch, and it's not just voice-over work. It's actual actors filmed and inserted into the game with motion capture technology. This technology is especially noticeable in the faces, which frequently look very "real". In fact, it's also most important there as you have to analyze the body language and facial expressions of suspects and witnesses when questioning them. When you do so, you can decide if they're lying, telling the truth or that you doubt their story. I do rather wish the game came with a "bluff" option, which would have been very handy and is a typical tactic used by police.

Beyond the acting, there's also the environment. Actual cars from the 1940s are used. This is good and bad. Good, because they certainly look great and commandeering a Ford, Packard or Chevy is much different than, say, jacking someone's Faggio like in the other games.On the other hand, the cars handle like you'd expect 1940s cars to handle. This is entertaining at times, but believe me, when you're in a high speed chase and trying to corner with one of these, you'll long for a modern vehicle.

And then there's the city. Los Angeles in the 1940s was a fascinating place, and this game does a great job of capturing what the city must have felt like back then. You see Red Car trolleys, signs for Nixon, and a total absence of TV-related things (though I passed several radio repair shops). It's a very noir kind of city, and this game does an excellent example of showing you a noir LA.

As for the cases, they're pretty straight forward. You find out about a crime, go investigate the crime scene, talk with people and make a collar. Pretty A, B, C. But along the way, you'll get calls on the radio that enable to you go deal with street crime which is, frankly, a bit more entertaining in many ways. Also, unlike the other games made by Rockstar you can't just pull out your gun and start shooting or run over everyone in sight. You are a cop, after all. So usually if you want to go shooting, you'll want to handle as many of these street crimes as you can.

Overall there's nothing I really dislike about this game. I look forward to playing more and to the inevitable sequel and expansions. And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go out and hunt down some criminals. My name's Phelps, and I'm a cop.

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More LA Noire reviews
review by . August 15, 2011
Theres a corrupt cop in LA for every Tommy burger knockoff.
Okay not really but a corrupt LAPD isn't anything new, so why play a game that has this as a plot point, because LA Noire is one of the most atmospheric games out there.      In the game, you play as Cole Phelps, a regular and decent cop who climbs the ranks into a detective and into the gross and greasy world of Los Angeles's fame, vices, and violent side.  Cases start off with simple murder investigations and spiral into OD victims, violent murder and arson cases.  …
Quick Tip by . August 15, 2011
WW II Marine turned cop cruises the beat of the City of Angels in the late 40's to solve crimes and uncover corruption. Great game but needed a little more.
About the reviewer
C R Swanson ()
Ranked #59
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … more
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About this video game


L.A. Noire is a gritty, single player detective game set on the infamous streets and in the smoke-filled back rooms of postwar Los Angeles. Designed and developed with a nod to the classic film noire movie genre, L.A. Noire blends crystal clear graphics that bring the iconic look and feel of the era to life, with a combination of innovative technology and unique gameplay that allow you to solve crimes through interrogations and investigation. Additional features include: five LAPD based crime desks to work, the ability to analyze the case as well as suspects for clues, an accurate block-by-block recreation of eight sq miles of 1947 Los Angeles, multiple difficulty settings and more.

L.A. Noire game logo

Amid the postwar boom of Hollywood's Golden Age, newly minted detective Cole Phelps is thrown headfirst into a city drowning in violence and corruption. Utilizing groundbreaking new technology that captures an actor's facial performance in astonishing detail, L.A. Noire is a violent crime thriller that blends breathtaking action with true detective work to deliver an unprecedented interactive experience. Interrogate witnesses, search for clues and chase down suspects as you struggle to find the truth in a city where everyone has something to hide.

A beat cop stopping you from entering a crime scene being investigated in L.A. Noire
Cross the police line to solve the worst crimes of Los Angeles' infamous postwar era.
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Against an overarching plot of violence and betrayal, L.A. Noire challenges players to solve a series of self-contained cases as they ...

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