Rockstar has certainly branched out this generation, going beyond their original cash cow that is GTA to try out some new ideas. LA Noire is the latest example of this. While conventional Rockstar games have you playing as an outlaw who destroys everything in sight to get his way, LA Noire does the exact opposite. You play as a detective who has to solve a series of crimes in order to protect the city of Los Angeles and rise through the ranks. It was a fresh idea for Rockstar and a risky move for them to make, but it paid off once again.
The setting is in post WWII 1940s Los Angeles. You play as Cole Phelps, a young detective who has made a name for himself in The War. His violent time in the war still haunts him and drives him to do good for the sake of redemption. This leads him into cases that take him into the corrupted heart of the city he has vowed to protect. As he digs deeper, more and more opposition comes his way, which makes you want to root for him to win even more. LA Noire's story does a very good job of keeping you on the edge with excellent voice actors and extraordinary new facial capture technology. Special detail has been given to the time period itself, making sure all the slang, music, fasion, and general culture of the 40s is accurate for both the good sides and the bad. LA Noire's presentation is truely remarkable.
Gameplay is very different from previous Rockstar games. Being a police officer, you cannot rampage or go on killing sprees. Your weapon can only be used at certain points of the game for the sake of self defense. Instead, the main gameplay elements are solving cases. You do this by gathering clues from the crime scene and interrogating potential suspects. The latter is what I found to be the most fun part of the game because it uses the realistic facial capture to its advantage to test your skill for interrogation. You have to determine if your suspect is lying or not based on his facial expressions. Lack of eye contact and nervous expressions are a dead give away of a liar, but as the game progresses, it becomes harder to call a bluff. Finding all the clues, getting the right perp, and interrogating properly all lead to a rating at the end of the case and a level up for intuition points to make it easier to call a bluff or find clues. LA Noire's reward system truely feels rewarding when you land the bad guy in jail.
My only complaint for this game is that the free roaming aspect is pretty empty, which is a shame because the detail put into the city is very remarkable and is one of my favorite open world settings in general. The city is huge, but there is very little extraneous activities you can do other than random street crimes. It feels like a missed opportunity to add some real replay value to the game and make it even better. Even without this though, LA Noire took up a lot of my time for the story modes alone and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Overall, LA Noire is a very original concept that pushes the story telling to new heights. Some have dismissed LA Noire's facial capture technology, but I believe this will become a standard in the future of games for any studio that wants to create a true realistic experience that blends the best of film and video games. LA Noire is probably one of the most original and risky video games ive played in a long time. Anyone who wants something different and loves law drama should give this game a try.