Will Preston

Tag: L.A. Noire

Put me through to R & I!

by on Jun.07, 2011, under Review, Video Games

Monday Morning. I’m investigating the scene of a possible homicide. After driving like a Nascar berk through a highly pedestrianised part of LA without anyone batting an eyelash, we arrive at the ticker taped clearing with gawking rubber-neckers in tow. The body of an unidentified woman (naked) lies in a possible rape position. It’s the rendering of her netherings that catches my eye. Inspecting the body by rotating her arms until my hands rumble, I’m given more clues about the murder. Clues to the crime aren’t so much dotted, as they are conveniently placed.

Rotate right stick to play footsy

Again, a rumbling rotation reveals even more clues on the scene. A shaky bystander is being questioned by police. After snapping out of the trance brought on by the creepily realistic face movements, it’s up to me to believe everything she says or nail a dead otter to her head with the words ‘Liar’ written in mud. Her eyebrows tell me she has something to hide, but what? I wave the bloodied rope in her face in a vague effort at getting her to admit to the murder of Mrs Gleason, the bank robbery last week and the unauthorised eating of my sandwich back at central precinct. This all leads to nothing, so I’m forced into doing the whole thing again at the next crime scene.

 

Whilst most of the gameplay in LA Noire tends to follow a familiar pattern, there’s no doubting at how atmospherically thick it is. I mean, there is a point in some games where you never forget you’re playing a game, but thanks to some fantastic acting and the brand new motion capture technology that Rockstar have been Chinese Democracy-ing for the past seven years, I was convinced at times that I was watching a new TV series in a similar vain to Mad Men. I believe we have now reached a milestone in graphic technology in mainstream gaming where the lines between reality and a virtual environment will tangle like Alan Moore’s beard. It does require in depth gameplay and fluidity to make the escapist experience in this medium possible, but effort on the visual front does help the eyes pop out into the fantasy.

Cameras the size of children

As far as I’m concerned with LA Noire, it is the most well presented console game to date. Now that I’ve got all the shameless felating of the game visuals out of my system, I can get round to talking about the game itself. In short, it’s practically an adaption of LA Confidential. It’s the late 40’s, and Cole Phelps has been promoted to the ranks of detective within the world’s friendliest (sarcasm) police force. The course of the game takes you through several cases which you need to solve through a strung together series of point and click style searching, shooting, driving and fighting. Rather than stick to the sandbox style of play that Grand Theft Auto influenced just about every game out at the moment, LA Noire goes for a more separated approach. You’re never out of a mission, but you can free roam the city to an extent. Just don’t expect to go on a rocket launcher fuelled rampage that Rockstar usually fires at you. You’re a cop remember. Protect and Serve, is the LAPD’s motto.

 

Art Deco-tacular

Although the Euphoria engine still makes your character walk like he’s carrying too many Tesco bags full of oranges, the cars handle the best in any sandbox game that I’ve played. And they look bloody nice too. Marv from Sin City was right when he said that modern cars look like electric shavers in comparison. Noire-esque incidental music playing whilst tailing a suspect really completes the image. I’ve already bought myself some nice braces for my trousers. The trilby is next. Even the story has the potential to trump other top gaming narratives so far. There are a few twists that I can’t mention for health reasons and the dialogue is just perfect in places. As I said, a very well presented game.

 

The only possible downer is that there’s no real free roam in the Grand Theft Auto sense and there’s no multiplayer to laze into. But can that be a bad thing? Although it does limit the replay value, it makes the focused single player more fulfilling, like a well stuffed sandwich. Although you already know the outcome of each case, there are still many alternative ways to end it. Some with surprising results. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to listen to jazz in my trilby whilst talking like James Cagney. Being single is great.

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Another Rockstar game with great hats

by on Apr.13, 2011, under First Look

This year, I only just managed to catch that brilliant film that is L.A. Confidential. Watching films about morally ambiguous cops wearing hats and suspenders kinda makes you wish you could get away with wearing such a style down to the local Co Op and back. Thankfully, I can just resort to pretending to do that behind the safety of my Xbox pad, as Rockstar Games once again avoid releasing another Grand Theft Auto.

Originally announced for the Playstation 3 as an exclusive title (bringing their exclusive title library to almost double figures), L.A. Noire eventually moved over to the cross platform side of the party (that’s a damn good party to be at). The game takes place in the city of Los Angeles (I’ll pause why you calm down from surprise) at the end of the Forties, where men were men and women were more woman-ish than they are nowadays. Lousy women’s liberation grumble grumble. You’ll be on the side of the law this time as you’ll play a detective caught up in corruption and murder to a pleasant jazz soundtrack that fits in nicely. Nothing says corrupt murder like a trumpet solo.

One of the main features of the game is the new motion scan technology that makes the faces move more face-like. Now for the first time in a videogame, people will actually have more than five expressions. It’s only a matter of time before someone takes that technology and bastardises it into a game where you run around making bizarre faces at people. Mind you, as long as it has a decent multiplayer, I’d still buy it.

The game is set to have the same gameplay layout to Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, but will probably allow you less bazooka rampages than you would get from Niko Bellic. If it’s anything like the first Mafia game, the cars will look nice, but handle like a bath on wheels, whilst the guns will shoot people…providing you aim them correctly. Not much to say on that really, is there. Ok, we’ll probably see a saturation of Tommy guns, leading to gamers everywhere to shout out endless James Cagney lines at an annoying volume.

So far, L.A. Noire is looking to fill that Trilby shaped hole for now that Mafia 2 failed miserably at doing. After taking nearly seven years and around $50 million to make it will be released next month on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

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