LA Noire: A 1940s set homage to noire fiction that uses state of the art technology to give in-game characters a level of realism never seen before.
Gone are the days where computer game characters looked like a cubist’s blocky nightmare, now with the aid of motion capture technology the smallest detail of a person’s face can be placed into the computer generated world. Using technology called MotionScan, an array of cameras captures every angle of an actor’s performance, so every minuet twitch is recorded.
…when you start interviewing suspects the real fun begins.
From the start of the game you take the role of Detective Cole Phelps, a troubled but principled cop intent on seeing justice is brought to the city. The basic mission structure finds you scratching around crime scenes for clues, following up these clues then narrowing your suspects until you’re ready to make an arrest. Sounds straightforward enough but when you start interviewing suspects the real fun begins and the motion capture technology really starts paying off.
…there is a real sense of accomplishment when you catch someone out.
With your notebook full of clues and a keen eye for body language, you have the option to either believe the suspect is telling the truth or lying. Looking for a tell tale twitch of the face or shifty look in the eyes is an absolute joy and there is a real sense of accomplishment when you catch someone out. The story-like missions make the game episodic, like you’re watching a TV series with each mission furthering a story arc as well as being standalone. Car chases, shootouts and hand to hand combat pepper each mission making it unpredictable.
All this is highly commendable and fun for a time, but there is a strange lack of depth to this game, which is surprising considering the developer Rockstar’s track record with the acclaimed Grand Theft Auto series.
There are a smattering of collectables and secrets to divert you and a small collection of unlockable costume upgrades to attain, but that’s about it. Regrettably not much in the way of replay value.
The city’s period-accurate design is gorgeous and worth a wander around, it’s just a shame there is so little to do outside the main missions.
So a flawed classic maybe, but one worthy of investing in, if only to experience the truly inspired interview sections and to see where Motion Capture really comes into its own.
Images courtesy of Rockstar Games, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and LA NOIRE