Sunday, September 1, 2013

L.A. Noire is a game you should get

Here's a video game that is cheap and a lot of fun to play. It's L.A. Noire and it's a new classic. The game came out in 2011, so the price is no longer $59.00. At Best Buy's website you can get it for a mere $19.99.

L.A. Noire takes place in Los Angeles, 1947. You play cop, Cole Phelps, back from his service in World War II. At first you start out as a patrol officer but after a few tutorial missions you move up to detective. The bulk of the game play is solving crimes. But there's enough car chases, fist and gun fights to satisfy action junkies.

The title of the game and its ambiance takes inspiration from the film noir genre. If you like movies like The Big Sleep (1946), Farewell My Lovely (1975), Chinatown (1974) and L.A. Confidential (1997), you'll love L.A. Noire.

While the story takes place in 1947, the technology used to create it is cutting edge twenty first century. The motion scans of actors faces are simply amazing. Computer rendered faces have eye rolls, winks, crinkles and winces. There's one gun fight where Phelps takes cover and winces while being shot at. It's simply remarkable. The music on the radio is from the period. Whereas the soundtrack is orchestral. And the game's main theme is modern jazz. All this makes you feel like you're a hero in a classic film noir movie.

Video game are becoming a new platform for storytelling. And L.A. Noire works because of brilliant writing and directing by Brendan McNamara. Yeah, there's a logical misstep during the Homicide cases. You'll realize that the murderer in the big plot twist would have to spend a lifetime to set up his crimes. But one story and series of missions makes up for that. The mission Fallen Idol and the Arson cases are as good as any of the classic film noir movies. They're complicated and full of moral ambiguity.

So take trip back into time. Walk down those mean streets and experience the world of L.A. Noire. The grade is A.

By the way, in this trailer, you get a taste of the great John Noble's performance. The man is a one man acting class. Remember him in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Fringe?

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