Review: LA Noire (PS3)

By Wayne Webb

People have been raving about this game and how spectacular it is. It deserves every accolade it gets, if not more for the design, the acting, the scenery and the plot. However, as a game, it has flaws.

The representations of actors in this game/film hybrid deserve special mention.  As a big fan of the movies I often recognised who the characters were being played by before anyone spoke a word. That’s how good the design and graphics are.

They are beautiful too see, and the Los Angeles of 1947 is a sight to behold. There’s an option to change the colour for black and white to really enhance the film noir feel.  Though I did try it out, more than often I wanted to see it in the full colour that the designers had produced so well

The story is engaging and mysteriously twisted, keeping your attention and bringing you back to complete more of the game and find out what happens next. The dialogue and attitudes are right for the time, with racism, sexism and violence doled out in unpleasant – but not glorified – measures. It works; you feel the seedy underbelly or criminals and cops in the LA police department and you get caught up in the inexorable tide of the advancing plot.

However, there are problems in the gameplay. I found the controls frustrating at times. Clues will make the controller vibrate when you walk past and even if you know exactly where to look (i.e. the clue is visible) too often you have to reposition to engage it. Running is erratic and you run into people without trying to when running through crowds. Driving is very similar to Grand Theft Auto (by the same company) and therefore I hit more lamp posts and fences than I should have, but this time that’s not the point. The instructions are occasionally confusing too; very early on you are pursuing a felon you are told how to pull your gun and fire.  But when you do? You have to restart and chase without shooting.  Likewise when you are told how to get your partner to drive, it doesn’t work until the next promotion – very frustrating for the instruction to not match the game.

It’s still worth it, and I will play it to the end. I just wish they had smoothed the rougher edges of gameplay first.

Pros: Stunning visuals, great acting and storyline, a true movie-game.
Cons: Gameplay weak in places, infrequent saving, control glitches.

4 out of 5 Shacks