Rain beat down hard on the window panes of my office…lightning rolled about the clouds off in the distance… I paused a moment to watch, and then returned to pouring myself a couple of fingers of Canadian whiskey… I didn’t have much of a taste for the local rot gut, and my olive supplier had run dry, so a martini was out of the question
It has been a tough couple of days…the case of the missing iPad had frayed everyone nerves, turned out the 5 year old had left it behind when he broke into his sisters bedroom and had forgotten about it, crying foul that it has been stolen, a master criminal this guy ain’t. With the iPad safely returned, but the “victim” facing a stretch up state (confined to his room) … some people just can’t catch a break.
I needed to unwind, relax, the idea of aimlessly grinding my through battlefront, or destiny didn’t appeal, I need to something different, so I splurged, I figure what the hell, ya only live once right ….so I bought myself the remastered version of L.A. Noire from Rockstar games, a rerelease of the 2011 offering, in which you play 40’s detective Cole Phelps, a stand up guy and war hero (played by Aaron Staton of Mad Men fame) your job is simple to serve and protect the people of Los Angeles, at the height of its post war prosperity, even though many don’t want your help.
You started out as a beat cop, which provides you with an immersive tutorial on how to look for clues, integrate suspects and generally navigate your way around the environment, and if you ask the right questions and make the right call you can crack the case, and with enough success start to rise through the ranks of the LAPD.
This game has many elements which I enjoy, the game uses a similar open world environment to the grand theft auto series, with many points of interest and hidden items to discover and collect, my favourite of these are the classic cars of the era hidden throughout the city.
But it’s an open world and you can essentially just patrol around and respond to calls that come in through your car radio, these are small stand alone missions that don’t affect the primary narrative, they range from dealing with robberies, to gang violence, to talking down, guys wearing tin foil hats, (a personal favourite of mine…..HI DAD ! – long story which I will tell you about another time.)… a small tip, while you can commandeer any car you want, they obviously aren’t cop cars and don’t have a police radio, so you will miss out on the calls.
The police work part isn’t as tedious as it sounds, Rockstar have done a great job keeping to concise narratives that give you enough information to solve the crime if you make sure your through and paying attention without need to to sit there and listen to people prattle on and on.
The element I really like is the facial animation of the witnesses and suspects, you ask them a question and they provide answer. You then need to make a decision on how you will continue the questioning….will you be the good cop, the bad cop, or will you just flat out accuse them of the crime?
Your decision is based, not only on the clues you have examined or on the evidence provided other people, but also watching the facial expressions of those your interviewing. Are they telling you the whole story ? Are they hiding something ? Some characters are better liars than others so it’s not as clear cut as I had originally thought.
Your choice will determine how much useful information they provide which lets you solve the case more quickly or arrest multiple parties rather than just 1 or 2 of the guilty. There are also intuition points which you earn as you level up, these can be useful as they remove the least helpful choice, and make it more likely you will select the approach that gets you answer need.
Just remember, that you are an officer of the law, destroying property and hurting innocent bystanders effects the score you receive when you solve a case. So remember that this isn’t grand theft auto….don’t run over people….well try to avoid it as much as you can.
This release is available on Xbox, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and there is also a HTC virtual reality version available, both this and switch version could be a lot of fun and I hope I get the chance to try one or both of them out soon, but whichever platform you have it on, it is a lot of fun, and I highly recommend this game. If you after something that will test your ability to read people, solve the crime and catch the bad guy, or gal.