When L.A. Noire first launched back in 2011, it was a game that made me stop to think about what I was actually going to do while playing. A part of me was trying to just jack cars here and there and run through the streets ala Grand Theft Auto but then again I was always held back by the deliberately slow pace of the game. Another part of me was scratching my head while trying to piece parts of the puzzle to solve these cases being presented to me, often times wasting moments examining those damn empty bottles on the street.
Despite all of that, the game was a technical masterpiece, employing a facial capture technology that was beyond its time, as it did not only impact the game visually but it was an integral part of the gameplay as well. Fast forward to 2017, in the time of masterpieces like Horizon Zero Dawn, does the remastered version do enough to keep this then blockbuster of a game relevant in this day and age? Check out our review of L.A. Noire remastered!
For those of you who have not played the original version, L.A. Noire tells the story of LAPD investigator Cole Phelps as he tries to solve crime cases scattered across classic 1940’s Los Angeles. Gameplay and controls are quite similar to another Rockstar game that you may have heard of called Grand Theft Auto, as you control Cole from a third person view scrounging around the neighborhood for clues and interrogating suspects to tag the perpetrator and bring justice to the table. It’s a great concept, and it is wrapped together nicely with graphics that look sharp but feel dated (in a good way), adding to the overall atmosphere of the title. Hey, the 1940’s look is hard to pull off but L.A. Noire does that right and does it very well, pinstripe suit and all.
The voice acting is superb and is a vital piece in solving cases along with the fantastic face capture technology. Since you’ll be interrogating suspects throughout the game, a twitch of the face or a slight crackle in the voice may give away the suspect and Rockstar made sure that these things were front and center in this title. It’s something you’ll really want to pay attention to while playing so if you’re the type of player who loves his fast paced action and explosions everywhere, your time is probably better spent playing something else. While the game does have action sequences here and there, don’t expect run and gun type gameplay, something that we’ll get to in a bit.
So what’s new in the 2017 version? Well buddy, if you’re looking for a whole slew of additional features then you’ve come to the wrong place. That doesn’t mean though that the 2017 version isn’t without its improvements. First off, the graphics have been upped a notch, with 4k gaming being a possibility on the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X. As realistic as the graphics were before, it gets crazy good in the 2017 version! It gets kind of confusing though, seeing everything so sharp and crisp but the animation of the characters moving and walking around is still stuck in 2011.
L.A. Noire dropped a few cases as DLC after the release of the game and in this version, expect all 21 cases to be present, AS IT SHOULD BE! It would have literally been a crime that even Cole Phelps wouldn’t have been able to solve if the remaster didn’t include all the additional content but thankfully, the law is on our side on this one, you can breath easy now.
Having played both versions of the game, I can definitely say that while visual elements have been greatly improved, the same cannot be said for the controls. L.A. Noire still feels as clunky as ever and if anything, I was wishing that this was fixed in this version of the game. Movement is rather slow, aiming during skirmishes is sluggish, and don’t even get me started on the driving controls. Well ok, I guess I could kind of forgive the driving controls, seeing as the vehicles didn’t have all the fancy technology we all enjoy in our vehicles now, so maybe Rockstar was just being realistic. Some people may be able to look past it, but my biggest gripe for ANY game that I play is that it has to have good controls and L.A. Noire takes a big hit in this department.
One thing that has been changed is the interrogation feature, employing a Good cop / Bad cop choice rather than the Truth / Doubt / Lie choices of old. To be honest, and while it may be the unpopular opinion, I felt that the old system worked for me more since the choice was clearer in the direction you wanted to take. It took a while for me to get used to these new titles since I really didn’t know what good cop / bad cop was really trying to accomplish and what Cole was going to say after but you’ll get the hang of it sooner or later and you’ll be a master interrogator in no time.
- Great game concept
- Face capture technology feels dated, but is still a sight to behold
- Soundtrack and voice acting is great
- Sluggish controls
- LOTS of empty bottles
- Character animation could have been improved
Final Verdict: 7/10
L.A. Noire was a great game back then and is still a good game now. While it may not be for everybody, it is definitely a game that should be played by everyone at least once because the design is superb and the feeling of cracking that case is extremely satisfying. Cole Phelps moves around Los Angeles like he’s got weights around his legs but this doesn’t stop the game from being an awesome detective action adventure that can get you hooked as easily as an episode of CSI.
L.A. Noire is out now for the Sony Playstation, Microsoft Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch!
*Review was made through a Sony Playstation 4 version review code provided by the publisher.