Tuesday, May 17, 2011

POPped Review: 'L.A. Noire' is the game to beat this year

The POP Patrol has been looking forward to the release of L.A. Noire for quite some time now. After having my hands on the game for quite a while now I honestly have to say - L.A. Noire is the best game of 2011.

Let's give you some back story on the plot of the game.  You play the role of L.A.P.D Officer Cole Phelps, who has returned to Los Angeles from fighting in WWII.  Now he's working his way up the ranks in the L.A.P.D. and you need to take him on that journey.  You start off as a beat officer trying to break a couple of cases.  From here your experience begins to rise as you work your way up in the department.

Writer and Director Brendan McNamara, along with the talented group at Rockstar Games and Bondi, have done an amazing job at re-creating early Los Angeles.  The detail is amazing, so much so that I found myself more distracted observing things than playing the game.  Everything is perfectly set to submerse you in to the era.  This goes for the music as well.  From the opening credits through actual game play, it's a sweet jazz score from Andrew and Simon Hale that could rival Jerry Goldsmith's Chinatown.  The score is also used to give you clues during your detective work.

The detective work is what really pushes this game along.  It's not just looking around a crime scene for clues, it's the questioning of witnesses and interrogation of suspects that is the jewel of this game.  The expressions and reactions of the characters is beyond what I've seen in any game before.  

That's not to say that it is 100% photo realistic.  There is still the usual "dead eye" syndrome that makes some of the characters kind of creepy.  You have to pay attention to their mannerisms when questioning them in order to get out information that's usable.  If you don't, witnesses and suspects become irate and then refuse to talk to you.  If you find yourself without any more clues or leads, you'll then have to restart your case.  That's not always pleasant to do.

In exploring Los Angeles in the game, you can wander the streets if you choose to.  In your wandering you will love the look of everything.  And if you're an L.A. native it will seem weird to be able to know exactly where you are going and to see what it used to look like.  Sadly, your partner will tell you get to get back to investigating the case.

During your investigations there will be several tools to help you along the way.  At first you'll find yourself looking at everything that can be explored.  As you move along you'll get to know what to use and what doesn't matter.  You're questioning skills will also go up.  

*Hint* For much of the driving, have your partner drive.  You'll be able to get more info from him during this time as back stories are explained a bit more.  

If you purchase L.A. Noire at GameStop you'll also get a download code for an exclusive vice case - The Naked City.  I'm hoping that more cases will be made available for download soon.

L.A. Noire gives a full experience that no other game has matched yet this year.  The story is so well put together that I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the rights to the game have been optioned for a movie or television series.  This could make a great series on HBO.  

We can not recommend enough that you pick up L.A. Noire as soon as possible.  There are more titles hitting this year that have everyone excited, but in our opinion, L.A. Noire is the game to beat this year.  

What say you?

POPped by
Jungle Jesse

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