LA NOIRE (the review)
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Fast forward things nearly thirteen years, and you’ll get L.A. NOIRE, which takes what its most noble of forefathers had in mind and turns it into something useable. Sure, the game may still be scripted, but unless you replay all the missions with the intent of doing them perfectly, the gameplay will be different from gamer to gamer. There’s going to be the meticulous Joe Friday player, and the slip-shot gritty cop who just wants a confession, and the DIE HARD type who will gleefully fill every character with lead that the game allows him to. All of these approaches seem to be possible, though I tend to be more of the first one.
GRAPHICS – Much has been made of the graphics both good and bad. The character models themselves are beautiful, and the facial animation capture system is something wholly new to gaming. It’s so damn cool it actually becomes a gameplay mechanic, and rightfully so. On the bad side though, the character models and the facial animations are so cool, that they make some of the other animations seem lackluster and stale. This is especially apparent in some of the walking animations, or when you notice your character, and your partner walking together, and they have the exact same stride.
Even though the rest of 1940′s Los Angeles is recreated painstakingly, and There are even licensed vehicles from the era, and ugly suits, the interior environments might fall flat. But again I feel like this is because other parts of the game are so beautifully done that the ones that are old hat to the genre, stick out sore and red.
GAMEPLAY – To be up front, this game is not GRAND THEFT AUTO, it’s never going to be, nor does it make any claim to this point. If that’s what you want, look elsewhere.
Again, much has been made of the gameplay good and bad. It’s a real noir story. It’s character driven, and it’s dark. It’s slow for a video game in today’s market, but it hits its mark from a writing standpoint, and from the standpoint of atmosphere.My point is noir people will love it, and shooter people will hate it. It plays and thinks like a literate person’s video game. You can take that as irony, or as insult. I don’t care. I just call ‘em like I see ‘em.
FINAL SUMMATION(S) – This is not an action game. No one should even pretend to the contrary. It’s really more like a Lucas Arts adventure game (think SAM AND MAX or FULL THROTTLE) than it is anything else. Just churched up for the new generation. If you aren’t familiar with those, I don’t know this is the best introduction, and I am sad to say it, because I love it so much. Hell, I love the whole genre, and I love noir. If you are familiar, though, you’ll love it, and if you are willing to take classic gaming for a spin in a ’49 Buick and a fedora, this might just be fun for you. If you’re not though, you might just want to rent this one. Either way, though, don’t miss it.
“...There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one's head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people's pain. You ought to have some apprehension that the man you see before you was once even younger than you are now and arrived at his present wretchedness by imperceptible degrees.”