L.A. Noire mixes video game, crime drama

Every once in a while, there appears a game that makes you just sit back in your chair and say, “Wow.” Developer Rockstar has done just that with its latest project, L.A. Noire. The amount of effort put into the game to make it as fluid and interesting as possible shows through in the excellent gameplay and gaming experience. Set in the 1940s, L.A. Noire puts the player in the role of detective, solving various cases throughout the streets of Los Angeles and even shedding some light on the inner workings of the Los Angeles police department.

The player takes on the perspective of Cole Phelps, a World War II veteran who has worked himself into the Los Angeles police department after returning from the war. The game takes the player through the career of Phelps as he advances from being a normal police officer to being promoted to a detective through the various departments in the LAPD, from homicide to the Administrative Vice department.

The game itself plays exactly how one would expect from a game titled L.A. Noire. The game feels like it plays through as a film noir, a cinema term describing Hollywood crime dramas from the 40’s and 50’s. Players are also given the option to play the game in black and white for a more authentic feel.

While solving mysteries and crimes as Detective Phelps, the player will need to find clues to at the areas he or she investigates, which could be someone’s house or a workplace.  Players will meet a variety of different characters in their quest for answers, and each character all have his or her own agenda. It’s up to the player to determine if they are telling the truth or lying when interrogating.

While searching for clues, background music will play very lightly indicating that there are clues to be found. Once all the clues in an area are found, a certain chime will play as an indication that all relevant clues have been found. It will then be time to go and interrogate the person of interest in the case.

The game also incorporates a leveling system for solving crimes, answering questions right and solving petty street crimes. Once the player levels up they are granted an intuition point that they can use for various things such as displaying the location of all clues in an area or asking the community for an answer to an interrogation question.

Since this is a game developed by Rockstar, it has some elements that are similar to other games Rockstar has developed such as the Grand Theft Auto series. The city of Los Angeles is available at the player’s disposal to fully explore in a sandbox style. Players are also allowed to basically do whatever they want in terms of driving, damaging property and stealing other people’s cars. However, the player is rated higher with the less damage they cause.

Rockstar incorporated a variety of new technologies for video games in this title. The first is a technology developed by Lightsprint called “global illumination.” Global illumination allows for light to be enhanced in ways that were not possible before, such as enhanced reflections and refractions that aid in noticing or finding clues.

Another technology implemented is called MotionScan developed by Depth Analysis. This technology allows for facial features to be captured at a huge amount of angles for a very realistic representation of facial expressions. Such technology allows interrogations to be more realistic by way of judging if people are lying based on if they alter facial expressions quickly or if they are fidgeting or whatnot.

Rockstar has really done a great job with L.A. Noire. The in-depth realism in it brings the style of gameplay to an entirely new level that has never been seen before in the world of video games.

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