LAnoirePG 1 | PG 2

“We can do this the Easy Way… or the Hard Way…”
Interrogation is where 'L.A. Noire' and the new facial animation technology truly shine. After an investigation Cole will have a series of questions he can ask suspects and other characters. After Cole asks a question the player must watch the response of the one being interrogated and decide whether the character is telling the truth, whether they should be doubted, or whether they are lying outright. If the player selects the correct option he/she will be given a bit more info and maybe even some new bit of evidence. Choose incorrectly and no new information will be offered. If the player suspects a character is lying then the player must select the evidence that contradicts the characters statement. Overall interrogations are fun and surprisingly engaging.

Furthermore, characters that have had little engagement with the police seem easier to read. Character’s who are unaccustomed to police interrogation will have significant tells like eyes darting around, swallowing, and facial expressions that express a sense of unease and worry. Whereas characters that have a significant amount of police interaction (like repeat offenders and gangsters) will look Cole straight in the eyes while lying, or have an arrogant smile that can make it incredibly difficult to decide if there is truth or lies behind their gaze. To help with these more difficult interrogations the player can choose to use intuition points. Using intuition can either remove an option from the list of responses Cole has to a character’s statements, or can connect to the community to see which response most players have chosen (but be warned, just because the community has selected one choice over another does not mean that choice is correct.)


Shots Fired
Another significant gameplay element in 'L.A. Noire' is the combat. Combat is broken into 4 different aspects: foot chases, car chases, melee, and gun fights. Foot chases move the game into “chase mode.” During “chase mode” Cole runs faster and the camera becomes shaky adding a sense frenetic energy to the scene. Cole will chase suspects along streets, through buildings, and along rooftops. If the suspect escapes than the player fails the case and must redo the chase sequence. Car chases work similarly as the player tries to knock the suspect off the road and again losing the suspect results in a failed case. Fist fights and gunfights are nothing new but they are fun. Fistfights are like mini boxing matches with dodges and punches and gunfights use cover and basic gunplay mechanics. Of course if Cole dies in one these combat sections than the player must restart from a checkpoint. There is an option that if the player fails a combat section a few too many times then he/she can skip that section all together (this option to skip combat sections can be turned off in the options menu).

Follow that Car!
The final major element of gameplay is tailing a suspect. Cole can follow a suspect on the street and hide himself by pretending to read a newspaper, using the cover mechanic to hug a wall, or by pulling his fedora down over his face while pretending to examine a shop window. Cole can also tail a suspect in a vehicle and this basically requires the player to stay within a certain distance of the suspect’s vehicle until a predetermined destination is reached and the narrative can continue.


This Open World is Closed for Business
Technically, 'L.A. Noire' is an open world game, but there is barely anything to do in 1940’s L.A. The most interesting option available to players is responding to unassigned cases, known as street crimes, that come through the car radio every so often while driving around L.A. These street crimes usually involve a short gunfight or chase sequence but they can vary. For example in one unassigned case I had to stop a suicide attempt. Other than these street crimes a player can search for L.A. landmarks, hidden film reels, and hidden cars. In other words, beyond the street crimes, L.A. is simply a collectibles hideout. This is a shame considering some of Cole’s partners mention pastimes that off duty cops enjoy, such as bowling and drinking, so there is some precedence to have casual activities for players to explore.

Where did you Learn to Drive?
Driving around L.A. is far more of a pain than it should be. Any little scratch on the car Cole is driving incurs a financial penalty at the end of the case that can lower a case score. It is almost always better to let your partner drive to a destination, which will simply have the game cut to the next destination. The problem is that if Cole’s partner drives then the player has little chance to respond to street crimes. During Car chases the driving is fun but all other times I found it a chore and I usually let my partner take the wheel.

Case Rewind
There is very little incentive to replay 'L.A. Noire,' but a player can choose to replay any case he/she has completed in order to get a better case score, and maybe to see how different choices might change the case. There is also a free roam mode that allows the player to drive around L.A. and complete the streets crimes and find collectibles that he/she might have missed. The level of replayability is mainly for completionists who want to better their scores, find every collectible, or want to complete every street case.


'L.A. Noire' is a hybrid game that does quite well at keeping its component parts entertaining and engrossing. The narrative has a few missteps and the lack of a real open world is a bit disappointing but the character performances are outstanding. 'L.A. Noire' is more about the experience of being a detective in the 1940’s than it is about offering fast-paced gameplay. So if you are looking for a major action title with massive gunfights and twitch gameplay mechanics then 'L.A. Noire' is not the game for you. If you are looking for something new that engages you in ways that no other game has before, then give 'L.A Noire' a try. 'L.A. Noire' offers an experience that will not be quickly forgotten with a cast of characters that will be remembered fondly after the credits roll.

  • Generally fun and engrossing narrative
  • Incredible performances
  • Interrogation gameplay is unique and engaging
  • Great visuals and Sound
  • Game offers a completely unique experience
  • Open world is underutilized
  • Cole Phelps is not a very interesting protagonist
  • Driving in L.A. feels like a chore
  • Button mashing works as an effective way to find evidence
Quote: "L.A. Noire offers an experience that will not be quickly forgotten with a cast of characters that will be remembered fondly after the credits roll."
Reviewed by James Farrington | 02.23.11

Similar Games: Mafia II (7.6) | The Godfather 2 (7.8)


L.A. Noire

Rockstar Games

Team Bondi

Action Adventure

US Release
May 2011


PS3, X360

Players 1
HD 720p-1080p
5.1 surround
D/L Content