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L.A. Noire Review

January 4th, 2018 by

Noire 001L.A Noire was somewhat of a ground breaking game during the golden period of last gen. Using motion capture technology for facial animations, known actors became faces in the story and not just their voices. It was very movie-like. It was also very polarising. A Marmite game if you will. You either loved the game or hated it – or purchased it, never played it, double dipped on steam, played briefly and then picked it up again on the Switch and are looking at it with somewhat fresh eyes. I fall into the latter group.

Like most re-releases on next gen the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions got prettier. The Nintendo Switch has a lot of bells and whistles added to take advantage of Nintendo’s hand held technology. Firstly though let’s look at the game.

Because it’s Rockstar it doesn’t take a detective to know that it’s going to be an open world game. This one is set in the Hollywood genre of Film Noir. A cop mystery where you play a man who upon his return from serving in the war puts his new skills to work cleaning up a dirty old town. From dirty cops to Hollywood sex crimes (who would have thought a six year old game would be so up to date). You name a Hollywood cop cliché and it’s here all wrapped in a satisfying story alongside some side activities and quests because in this iteration DLC is included.

The big mechanic in LA Noire was the interrogation, hence the facial feature animation, and it is still somewhat of a unique trait to LA Noire. However for the re-release they have had some love shown to them. The animations still stand out as more human than other characters but not as much in a creepy way.

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A slight change has been made to the interrogation choices as before selecting the “doubt” option – your alternatives being “truth” or “accuse” – meant that your character would often fly off the handle in an unexpected and unwanted way. This has now been changed to “good cop”, “bad cop” and “accuse”. A small change but one that fits the reactions just that little better.

As you would expect with a next gen re-release, there are better graphics, better lighting, better animations, better, well everything. The switch also gets touchscreen and motion controls however with it being the same game as other consoles it is a little shoehorned at times. Rockstar though have tried their best to make sure it works well. The little rumbles when starting a car, climbing ladders and sifting through evidence add a little extra nuance to the game.

Where the Switch comes into its own is when you undock the console. Obviously the game looks amazing and is a pretty good argument for more last gen games to be released on the Switch but the touch screen turns it into an old school point and click adventure allowing you to guide your character through the crime scene or select a body stump or sift through your evidence notebook. Crazily this works better than the original controls and Rockstar certainly need some kudos for implementing a control system that actually adds to the whole experience exceptionally well, where others may have just tacked on as a lazy gimmick to sell a few more copies.

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Just like hot coffee and apple pie, this is a damn fine port of L.A Noire. The previous generations’ issues have been addressed. It looks prettier. Interrogation scenes work better. Every single DLC pack is included and Switch owners get the added benefit of touch screen and motion controls. On top of all this, it’s good to see some of the big boys playing nicely with Nintendo again and hopefully this will be the start of many beautiful friendships in the future.

Midlife Gamer Rating: 8.5/10     Format: Nintendo Switch / Xbox One / PlayStation 4     Release Date: Out Now

Disclosure: Midlife Gamer Staff Writer Simon Stevens reviewed his personal copy of L.A. Noire. The title was reviewed over the course of 5 days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.




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