LA Noire Review

Anyone familiar with James Ellroy’s LA Quartet books (LA Confidential, Black Dahlia, Big Nowhere and White Jazz) will instantly recognise the 1947 Los Angeles setting in which Rockstar have placed our main character, LA cop Cole Phelps.

The film noire style, superb music score and gritty underworld settings set the scene as you travel round an accurately recreated city investigating crimes, interviewing suspects, searching for evidence at crime scenes and piecing the jigsaw together.

Your character, Phelps, is played by Aaron Staton, better known for his part in the TV dramas Mad Men. If you’ve watched it you’ll recognise his face immediately, that’s how well Rockstar’s motion scanning technology has brought the characters to life. This isn’t just used to make the game look good, you need to read the faces of suspects to decide if they are telling the truth. Shifty eyes, hesitant replies and other nuances give away guilty suspects allowing you to challenge their statements and often extract more vital information for the investigation.

Crime scene searches are also fun. A discreet ‘tinkle’ noise gives away when a clue is in the vicinity, but this can be turned off to make the game a little more challenging. Dead bodies need to be examined for evidence, so expect to be rifling through the pockets of corpses if you want to solve the crimes.

The first few cases are fairly easy, as the game holds your hand to help find all the clues and solve the crimes. Don’t let this put you off, once you’re settled in they get harder and it’s possible to miss vital clues, making suspect interrogation much harder.

It’s not all point and click though. There are gunfights, car chases and fist fights to mix things up, with plenty of street crimes that you can follow up between your 21 main missions.

If you’re looking for something different then LA Noire is definitely a unique game and one that will captivate you from start to finish.

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