Retrospective: L.A. Noire

L.A Noire is a game that feels (and looks) more like a film from beginning to end, blurring the line between entertainment and art. We absolutely love this game but what is it that keeps us coming back for more, a year after its release?

This Rockstar title sees you serving sweet lady law by taking on the role of Cole Phelps, a war  hero who is adapting to life as a beat cop on the streets of Los Angeles.


You are assigned a partner and quickly introduced to the key elements of the job: investigating crime scenes, interviewing witnesses, high speed chases and of course shootouts. The former of these may sound a little boring but searching for clues and determining a liar with a false alibi (either by finding contradictory evidence or simply by the nuances of their facial expressions) soon becomes deeply rewarding.

Once you have learned the ropes you will begin to ascend the ranks of the force starting off in Traffic, then Homicide, then Vice – each department having specific cases assigned to it. As well as this, you will also be investigating an ongoing subplot to uncover the corrupt dealings of L.A’s political elite.

Each department also has 10 (or so) ‘Street Crimes‘ to complete. These are miniature cases that vary in difficulty and can be completed at any time during your career.

Many games in the past have given the illusion of a cinematic and engaging narrative in the past. So what is it that enables L.A Noire to triumph where others have failed?

Some credit has to be given to the new MotionScan technology, which is used to create some of the most realistic facial features that we have seen to date. Top quaity voice acting also plays a vital role with Aaron Staton as Cole Phelps and the likes of Michael McGrady, Adam Harrington and Sean McGowan. Mainly though, it is the fiendish attention to detail and sense of style that Rockstar games like Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption are famous for.

The Sum Up

What this game lacks in the multiplayer department, it more than makes up for with its enthralling narrative and complex characters. The completionists among you will also find replay-ability through collectibles, exploration, revisiting old cases and a wealth of DLC. With a varied and vibrant soundtrack coupled with a wonderful recreation of 1947 Los Angeles, Rockstar and Team Bondi have truly created a masterpiece here. If you haven’t already, you owe it to yourself to give this game a go. Do it! That’s an order.


L.A Noire is available now on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.


Author: James Sterling

Associate Editor (Game) for PopBucket, avid gamer and educating folks about the Wilhelm Scream since '98. Show him some word-love.

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