Ever wanted to be a detective? This is you lucky day, punk! LA Noire Remastered Review
It was a dark night, and the city outside had never seemed so restless, but here inside my office, my sanctuary, it was peaceful and quiet. That was until he came into my life, like a careening bull he burst into my office wild and frantic, the look on his face, utter shock or joy I couldn’t make out. Breathless he muttered something while flailing his arms uncontrollably, now I didn’t know what he wanted but I knew this had to be important. I raced over, grabbed what was in his hand and looked. It was a disc. I pushed it into the open slot of my console. This was the biggest case I had worked so far and I knew exactly why this guy was in such a rush to get to me, it was a newly delivered game and it was what I wanted and needed for so long: L.A. Noire – Remastered.
Welcome back, old friend.
If you regularly read my words on this blog, you’re likely familiar with my familyand how I grew you. You probably also know the influence my parents had as I grew up. I’ve written about it many times. My parents likes and dislikes have rubbed off on me. My dad’s great love for detective stories is now mine too: be it books like Sherlock Holmes, movies like Dirty Harry or series like Poirot and even Maigret (which, if you haven’t the remake with Rowan Atkinson, you totally should!). Before I go into what I like and don’t like about L.A. Noire – Remastered, let me just run over all the ‘technical’ aspects of the title so that you can impress people on social media.
L.A. Noire was a neo-noir detective game developed by Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games. Originally in 2011. The one I’m going to be talking about is the remastered version of the same game that came out in November last year. The game was originally released on PS3, XBox 360 and PC, but with the remastered version, they re-released for Nintendo Switch (oh how I miss you, my sweet friend), PS4 and Xbox One. If I’m being completely honest here, I think the Nintendo Switch is where this game will really REALLY shine.
The story focuses on on a detective (controlled by you) who is trying to work his way up the ladder by solving cases (or if you’re me, just trying to not get fired for the amount of pedestrians I drive over on my way to the ‘actual’ crime scenes) in 1947’s Los Angeles. You’re a detective living through what is just an average day in the life of… You wake up in the morning, get issued a case, get in your car, joke around with your partner, drive to the scene, you look for clues, speak to people, solve the crime and repeat again tomorrow.
And yes, this does mean that after a few hours the game sort of loses some of its excitement and starts to enter the mundane, but for the first few hours? It’s magic.
The best way to explain this game would be to compare it to an interactive movie. Everything just screams FILM, and because of that, there is a lot La Noire is able to get away with. For starters, the missions can seem pretty generic at times and there is a lot of ‘colorful language’ as well as some pretty shocking racial slurs, but I feel like this all works together and exists to help give it the raw, authentic feel that makes La Noire special. I do not condone this behaviour in any way but it fits the genre and timing of the game relatively well.
I didn’t really pay as much attention to the investigations at first. The game was just so pretty and I rather enjoyed stealing people’s cars and driving them around while listening to their music. But I REALLY should have made a bit more effort with the tasks at hand. Before I had grown tired of joy riding through the city on the department’s dime, I found myself faced with my first perp to interrogate and boy, was I clueless!
What makes La Noire unique, and is by far what I was most impressed and confused by, is the facial animations.
They used 32 cameras to capture all of the facial expressions that their cast of actors portrayed and this attention to detail means every slight twitch, nuance, and emotion is shown. You need to be able to pick up on it in order to tell if people are hiding something from you, telling you the truth or lying. Something I am guaranteed to always get wrong but it’s still a pretty impressive and unique take on things all the same.
The reason why I think La Noire will really shine of the Nintendo Switch is because I think its a game best played in short bursts.
When you sit down and try to ‘binge’ play it you become way to aware of its repetitive nature, lose focus and get way to frustrated with not being able to solve anything because of the lack of focus. Whereas if you play it chapter by chapter on the Switch I think you’ll be getting that fresh, excited feeling each time you dive back in, a feeling that was lost to me when I was 8 hours in on my PS4. When we get down to it, I feel like even though L.A. Noire gives me warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feeling when I think about it, and while it really is one of the better-done Detective games out there, I still feel like I wanted more.
The game is fun, don’t get me wrong – but it’s also only fun at first, once you’ve solved your first case its paint by numbers, you do the same thing, in the same sequence, with very little deviation again and again.
While they’ve tried to give you some fun features to keep you entertained, like a Garage to show off all of the cars you’ve illegally acquired or an option to play the game in traditional Black and While film Noir style, I still just can’t imagine L.A. Noire giving you more than a week’s worth of entertainment. If you’re feeling in the mood to put on your detective shoes this weekend or just want to sleuth around for an hour or two while lying cuddled up on the couch then L.A Noire would be pretty fun, but if you’re looking for something that you can still be playing a few weeks from now: then L.A. Noire is probably just not the game for you.
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