L.A. Noire is an open-world neo-noir detective game that was developed by Team Bondi, and it was published by Rockstar Games. It is the only game that was developed by Team Bondi, which was closed down on October 5, 2011, just a few months after the game was released. It was released on May 17, 2011, for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and then later on to Microsoft Windows in November, and the remastered version on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch on November 14, 2017.
The game takes place in Los Angeles in the year 1947, two years after the Second World War ended, and it follows Cole Phelps, who becomes a police detective throughout the city of Los Angeles, and he attempts to solved crimes, and cases during his life of a police detective.
The game opens in late-1946 to early-1947 Los Angeles, Cole Phelps returns to Los Angles and later becomes an LAPD police officer. Months later, he later becomes a police detective at the Traffic, Homicide, Vice, and Arson desks. And he must solve all of the dark cases throughout the city of Los Angeles.
Why It Rocks
- For starters, this is an open-world police detective game that has a very interesting premise about the rise and fall of detective Cole Phelps that attempts to solve any dark cases in post-war Los Angles in the year 1947.
- It has very likeable and memorable characters in the whole game, such as Cole Phelps, who is a good protagonist. It also has very likeable partners (except Roy Earle), such as Stefan Bekowsky, Rusty Galloway, and Herschel Biggs.
- You're able to play either a good cop or a bad cop at the same time.
- Excellent soundtrack that was composed and produced by Andrew Hale and Simon Hale, especially the memorable main menu theme, they made soundtracks was inspired by films from the 1940s, though the team avoided specifically composing for this time period, instead opting to focus on that after the music had been produced. What's more, that the 1930s-40s theme soundtrack also has a mix of suspense, haunting, and horror soundtrack.
- On the topic, you can listen to a lot of catchy 1940s songs on KTI radio, such as "Murder He Says", "Hey! Ba-Ba Re-Bop", "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall", etc.
- The gameplay design is nicely crafted as players must investigate crime scenes for clues, follow up leads, and interrogate suspects; the player's success at these activities will impact how much of each case's story is revealed.
- It has good gunplay that gives the guns more realistic recoil.
- Tons of real-life 1930s and 40's cars as this game has real-life licensed vehicles such as Pontiac, Buick, Chevrolet, Ford, etc, rather than parodying them. This game also has 95 vehicles, most of which are drivable.
- Speaking of real-live vehicles, there are 15 total hidden bonus vehicles. By reaching certain ranks, you will unlock the location of each vehicle (5 at a time). They will be represented by a "?" on the map. These vehicles are also some of the best in the game some varying in terms of design, handling, and speed.
- The game's tone throughout the story is nicely done, with a mix of lighter themes, darker themes, haunting themes, horror themes, and even suspense.
- It has an interesting interrogation system where depending on if you get answers right or wrong, can give you more info on the events prior to the incident and/or a clue.
- The game has a number of funny and iconic moments, such as the way Cole gets verbally aggressive when selecting "Doubt".
- It has great performances, such as Aaron Staton, who is played as Cole Phelps.
- Mickey Cohen is actually is a good antagonist, who is based on the real-life Los Angeles gangster of the same name.
- Good graphics that will almost give you a late-1940s feeling in the streets of Los Angeles, what's more, is how accurate the setting of 1947 Los Angeles is. Even more importantly, It has lots of real-life locations and landmarks throughout the city of Los Angeles that you can actually visit, such as the Union Station, Chinatown, and Angels Flight.
- The DLC cases are great, especially the DLC case called Nicholson Electroplating.
- Throughout each level you can find a newspaper. Reading a newspaper will trigger a cutscene showing the backstory of whatever is on the front page. At first it may seem like nothing, but as the game progresses you begin to realize that the information given is based around the events of Courtney Sheldon getting acquainted with Doctor Harlan Fontaine all the way up to the Suburban Redevelopment Fund's downfall.
- There are secrets that you can actually find, such as golden film reels, police badges, novels, and golden records scattered around the city of Los Angeles.
- In the remaster, they decided to make the game a little easier thanks to the novels collectible. By finding all 8 novels, the player will be rewarded the 'Hard-Boiled Detective' outfit, which when equipped provides the player with an automatic wrong-response removal of all interview questions, when being worn.
- Unlike when using a Intuition Point to remove a wrong response, if Cole accuses them of lying the game does not cross out incorrect evidence to make the selection easier.
- Some of the textures for the faces did not age that well in 2011 standards, even in the remastered version.
- You cannot drive or ride any type of vehicle for whatever reasons, such as riding a Pacific Electric Railway Streetcar or driving a White Model 798 Bus, a Ramez Removals Delivery Truck, etc.
- Finding any of the collectibles mentioned in WIR #16 is frustrating since the game doesn't mark them on your map. What doesn't help is how they're scattered all around Los Angeles. The only way to find them without frustration is to just Google it.
- Roy Earle is an incredibly unconvincing partner, and he is one of the worst characters to date in the Vice desk in this game.
- Reading the faces of the suspects to tell if they're lying or not, does not work because of how ridiculous the faces can be. At other times, the cues are either Sherlock easy, or sometimes it's very subtle. Sometimes they make a quick frown or eye roll, which can lead to the player selecting "Truth/Good Cop" and ruin their perfect interrogation.
- There's not much to do in free roam mode, other than street crimes and looking for collectables.
- The ranking system doesn't do anything other than give you outfits and the location to secret cars.
- The Homicide desk can be unnerving for squeamish people, due to the high amount of blood, and for half of the cases, the nudity.
The game was almost critical acclaim for its advances in storytelling, presentation, and facial animation technology. It had been reported to ship over five million copies worldwide.
- You turn on the black and white colour, it'll make you feel like you're watching a 1940's film.
- David Zwierzchaczewski (who did cutscene animations for the game) used to work at Oska Software from 2002-2004 as the lead 3D artist/animator.
- The company that made the game, Team Bondi, went bankrupt due to how expensive it was to make the game and shut down the day before it was released.
- It even spawned the "Press X to Doubt" meme.
- A year after the game was released, there was going to be a spiritual successor game called Whore of the Orient, which would've to take place in 1936 Shanghai, in the hands of Western powers, filled with mob crime and political troubles. It was actually planned for targeting the 2015 release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows, unfortunately, In June 2016, an interview with Whore of the Orient producer Derek Proud revealed that the game was effectively cancelled, and it was not had a status update since 2013. What's more, there are a few screenshots of this cancelled game, and it has a leaked gameplay footage, which was uploaded in March 2012 on Dailymotion, and on YouTube on August 2nd, 2013. You can check this out on Unseen64 website: