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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Rockstar Games
Developed By: Team Bondi
Genre: Adventure
Players: 1
Rated: M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs, Violence)
Release Date: May 17, 2011
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Marcus Prunty

June 11, 2011 - I have always been a fan of the film noire and all the detective movies that have came out over the years, so when I heard Rockstar was releasing L.A. Noire; a game that attempted to tackle this genre, I was very excited like many people. After seeing what they did with Red Dead Redemption and the whole Wild West period, I knew they were going to do something special with L.A. Noire and the 1940ís period.

Teaming up with Team Bondi, L.A. Noire is a game set in Los Angeles back in the late 1940's. You play as Cole Phelps, a straight-laced cop who wants to be the best he can and wonít compromise his principles and become one of those cops that skirt the line of breaking the rules to get the job done. You start as a rookie cop patrolling the streets and after a few cases you move up to a detective in traffic division, and once you solve a few cases you move up to homicide and so on. You will have many car chases and gunfights and interrogations on your way to being one of the most recognized and respected figures in the community. The crux of the game is the interrogation. Most of the time when you play games where youíre interviewing people, most gamers tend to not pay attention to these moments because they are usually not as important. You can still figure out the story and make it through the game without analyzing or listening to all the dialogue.

L.A. Noire is a different beast altogether. Those scenes of dialogue are integral to the gameplay, so you need to pay close attention to the characters in order to be able to tell if they are being truthful with you, holding something back, or flat out lying and covering up the truth. Moreover, the only way to do that is to pay attention to their faces and their body language, which are the methods real police and detectives use to read people. The facial technology that Rockstar used in this game goes far beyond mo-cap. It is so in-depth that itís borderline realistic. The people look very realistic with all their mannerism and facial tics. From the movement of the muscles within their face, to the acts of people swallowing, breathing, and tensing up as you interrogate them and interact with them are all realistic in L.A. Noire. L.A. Noire is reminiscent of Heavy Rain taken to the next level of realism. I would say the level of detail placed into the facial recognition borders that of Avatar.

However being able to read the facial tics of the potential suspects and witnesses is not as easy as it sounds. You will pick up the wrong suspects a lot of times and like me after a while will just start assuming mostly everyone is lying to you. It gets a bit frustrating at times but once you learn what to look for you tend to pick whether theyíre telling the truth, thereís doubt in their story or if theyíre lying to you a lot easier but it still can be hit or miss at times.

There is more to interrogations and questioning then just talking to people and reading their faces. As Phelps, you have to search crimes scenes and examine bodies and the evidence that is left by the killers. This evidence leads you to other locations and individuals that will provide you with more clues. In addition, these clues you can use against suspects to tell if they are lying or not. I think Rockstar and Team Bondi did a great job of depicting what real police work is like for the most part. There is no point in the game where you are doing paperwork and other tedious parts of the job but for the most part, they capture the legwork aspect pretty well.

I must let everyone know that L.A. Noire is no Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption clone. In those games, you can run and gun down anyone you want and steal cars left and right or horses. In this game, you are Cole Phelps a cop/detective so you are on the good side of the law. You only get to use your gun in missions where other people are shooting at you or you are chasing down a criminal. You do not steal cars, you commandeer them in the name of the law. You donít want to run down people are damage buildings or other peoples cars cause in essence police arenít suppose to do those things. Your partners will warn you when you drive reckless like I tend to do in these kinds of games. Even though you cannot do those things this is a Rockstar game in that it is open world, which means you can stop in the middle of the case and go do something else.

There are 21 main cases that you have to solve. In addition, there are also 40 side missions or 40 other radio calls, which range from domestic violence to robbery where you have to run down the suspects and either arrest them or stop them with your gun. There are also famous L.A. landmarks that you can find, as well as 95 cars that you can find and identify; some of which are hidden, so you really have to do some searching. All of these extra things to do help you earn a higher rank and other snazzy duds for Cole to wear as well earn intuition points, which come in handy. Intuition points help break open a crime scene by displaying all of the clues that are available so you do not accidently miss one of them. They also come in handy when youíre interrogating or questions suspects/witnesses as it will take one of your options away so instead of having to pick from truth, doubt, and lie, you will only have truth and lie left so reading the face becomes a bit easier.

The graphics that were use in the facial detection aspect of the game and the level of detail that they went into with the recreation of 1947 Los Angeles is amazing. The area was fully recreated from the period. There were so many different kinds of cars, I was not even aware of there being that many cars in existence back during this time. Rockstar and Team Bondi did an excellent job when it came to the details and this is evident in their facial technology that they used which is integral to their whole gameplay. The sound design is the other side of the coin that helps to make a great game. The sound design is on par with most epic movies. The voice acting is amazing. I donít think I have ever heard this quality of voice-acting in any game I have played before. Every character; whether major like the coroner or your captain, to minor characters you speak with for 5 seconds or so sound authentic to the people of the time period. There mannerism and speech patterns just immerse you in the time as well as the sounds of the city and the people as you cruise the streets or walk around.

Team Bondi and Rockstar did many great things in this game; however, L.A. Noire is not a perfect game. It does tend to get repetitive at times with you going to a crime scene, and searching for clues, interviewing suspects and accusing someone. Although the cases differ, they tend to run together, so during these times I tend to switch it up and do some of those side missions so I donít get burned out on the game. In addition, another thing I did not like too much is that there is a possibility of accusing the wrong person for a crime and them being locked up without any real penalty to messing up the lines of questioning. The story mode just keeps going on. I think Rockstar and Bondi could have took it a step further and came up with some way to punish you for messing up the questioning and getting the wrong person convicted. The game does start differing at the end and spicing it up when it comes to Cole Phelps back-story and all but, I will not ruin that for you, however it is a welcome change of pace in the game.

L.A. Noire is a very different game, but that is what Rockstar has come to be famous for; tackling types of games that other companies would avoid. The facial technology is so advanced in this game that its borders on true realism. The line is starting to blur between video games and movies and this game is a prime example of the new trend. The inclusion of the black and white filter in which you can play the game, allows you to add a film noire viewpoint to the game, which is pretty cool feature that I played in and enjoyed. The true dedication of the main character being a good guy is a plus. Itís so easy to just run and shoot and kill but it makes the game more difficult being confined to that mode of youíre the good guy and good guys just donít kill anyone just the bad ones. The sound design and graphics are amazing but not on the same level as Naughty Dogís upcoming Uncharted 3 or Sony Santa Monicaís God of War 3, but are detailed enough that they make the game look and sound amazing. If you havenít yet played this game I suggest you add this one to your collection as itís at least 12 hours of solid gameplay, 20 if you decide to do a lot of the side missions and other extras that you have in the game. Look forward to Rockstarís next game to see if they advance on all the things they accomplished in this game.


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