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L.A. Noire: Final Thoughts On An Innovative Production

After completing L.A. Noire and letting it sit a bit in the ol' noggin, I've got a few parting thoughts.

If you need to catch up, make sure to check out our review as well as the additional video commentary. I mention a few of the drawbacks concerning a "lack of identity" and pacing in the full analysis but here I want to talk about the innovative aspects of the game; specifically, the storytelling, acting performances, and MotionScan.

Firstly, being a proponent of the advancement of video game storylines in terms of overall writing quality, I was impressed at the presentation and depth of L.A. Noire's plot. Granted, it isn't quite as evident through the first half of the game but as things wind to a close, it begins to feel very much like a big-budget drama galloping to its much-anticipated conclusion. The characters flesh out fully, the various stories begin to merge and gel, and that good old-fashioned feeling of uncertainty and excitement dominate the senses. In short, it's dramatically sound.

There are few games that would probably make for a great movie with little adaptation; L.A. Noire could be a film tomorrow without altering either the script or the cast. Perhaps the reason it strikes such a chord with us are those memorable faces; faces that rightfully remain burned in our brain, faces that continually tell us more of the story. I was skeptical of this whole MotionScan thing but after seeing it in action and considering the sheer potential for such a technology, I'm now a believer. Drama is about people. Faces define people. Team Bondi's production is the first game to fully grasp this concept.

While I have my reservations about the actual detective work and how we question suspects and witnesses, it's still a very strong premise with an interesting and often mesmerizing style. The '40s theme really resonates strongly and becomes a staple of the presentation; it helps to cement the adventure's individuality and allows us to marvel at a bygone time. It really is a combination of factors that makes this interactive experience innovative; it isn't necessarily any one element. No wonder it debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival; this is the future of gaming in more ways than one.

I do think too much of it was saved for the last quarter of the story, as the characters felt like they came crashing down with the sheer weight of the revelations behind them. I also would've preferred the final challenge to focus on the mental aspect of the game rather than straight-up shooting. I consider that a mistake; you go to all these lengths to create something special and the end is...well, Red Dead Redemption. But the story really saves it; it's dark, more than a little depressing, and in the end, the insidiousness and pervasiveness of corruption and "justice" wins out. But only to a certain extent...

It's a beautifully designed game that will stay with the player for a very long time, and that's why it's similar to Heavy Rain.  It shows us that gaming can be many things and can deliver on multiple levels, and proves that top-notch writing, acting, and extreme attention to detail are still highly valued commodities in this industry.  The shooters can be as popular as they wish; it's nice to see the true revolution - the groundbreaking innovation - occurring outside the lines, so to speak.

P.S. I really can't stand the German accent. But you know, for some reason, I could listen to Elsa all damn day.

Related Game(s): L.A. Noire

Tags: la noire, l.a. noire, la noire review, team bondi

6/8/2011 10:30:53 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (37 posts)

FxTales
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 @ 11:21:18 PM
Reply

Monday. Monday is when I finally get to play this. Longest wait ever. Till then I shall continue to play on that guitar that's on google's main page because I have nothing better to do.

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sha4dowknight05
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 @ 11:28:48 PM

I LOVE THAT GUITAR!!! I type my name over and over again because it sounds awesome in guitar!!!!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 @ 11:38:35 PM

That thing is the future of music games.

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Beamboom
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 4:31:55 AM

Wow that guitar was COOL! What a nice sound it had.

Last edited by Beamboom on 6/9/2011 4:32:20 AM

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sha4dowknight05
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 @ 11:29:16 PM
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I need to get my hands on this game!!!

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TheCanadianGuy
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 @ 11:31:36 PM
Reply

heres hoping its not forgotten come the end of december!

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DIsmael85
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 @ 11:32:53 PM
Reply

I am still playing through this game, even after having beat it already. It is truly a great experience. Everything is so authentic and I just love it. Rockstar helped publish a fantastic game from Team Bondi.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 @ 11:35:33 PM
Reply

I'm getting close to the end but now inFamous 2 has all my attention so I dunno when I'll finish it but the analysis here has been very sound.

I think the first half of the game seems a little sub par because of the long development cycle. What struck me was how the game exudes quality at every turn. I considered the pacing and identity issues as well but given the whole production and what was accomplished, I simply couldn't take much off in the score. This game is top notch quality all around and I fully expect an N.Y. or Chicago Noire to blow us away in a few years with these kinks ironed out. The one thing this game needs is more dolled up broads though.



Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/8/2011 11:39:43 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 @ 11:41:04 PM

"The one thing this game needs is more dolled up broads though."

QFTTMFT

"Quoted For The Truest Mother Fu***** Truth"

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 6/8/2011 11:41:16 PM

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Qubex
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 3:33:48 AM

What do you think of Infamous2 World. I played the demo. Pretty good I would say... quite a lot of fun...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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maxpontiac
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 10:18:42 AM

LA Noire is a victim of inFamous 2 in my house as well. I knew it was going to happen.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 12:37:28 PM

I love it, I'm going out of town for a bit and it's gonna drive me crazy that I can't play it. I'm just as addicted as with the first one. It's better in every way too.

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maxpontiac
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 1:48:42 PM

World, I think it's even more addicting then the first one due to characters involved.

It's very similar to Drake and Sully is the Cole and Zeke duo!!

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YashaZz
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 @ 11:41:50 PM
Reply

I've just finished the game 10 minutes ago...
I loved the game big time, but those endings sadden me.

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Teddie9
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 12:21:37 AM

kinda sad but what happened after the credits was uplifting at the same time too. That is assuming you also liked Jack.

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FM23
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 2:44:46 AM

agreed Teddie

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 12:03:30 AM
Reply

Is the guy with the origami a nod to Heavy Rain?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 12:24:44 AM

Er...I bet not.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 1:56:45 AM

ya never know, its later in the game and I do stuff like that all the time.

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BeezleDrop
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 1:04:07 AM
Reply

Agreed Mr. Dutka,

LA Noire is indeed a landmark product. And when I am done being smothered by full time classes and work I will be able to sit down and get through more of the great game. I really enjoy the soundtrack, when I brought it home the first night I left it on the main menu in the ally for a bit just to hear that intro song, man I love Jazz.

Highly recommended, just like Heavy Rain.

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godsdream
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 1:23:28 AM
Reply

I want this game very bad. Putting it side to side for both who played Heavy Rain and this one who wins?? If you could only pick one which one would you pick?? Just to have a silly competition here, and have a stronger point of view if buying this one soon, or wait so the price drops a little.

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OverBerg
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 1:33:10 AM

godsdream,
I Haven't played L.A. Noire yet (see comment), but you would be missing out by not playing Heavy Rain. Do it. Do it now.

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godsdream
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 1:39:23 AM

No, NO. I have played Heavy Rain, and I liked it very very much. The one I haven't played is L.A. Noire.

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 2:18:13 AM

I'd pick Heavy Rain because it just feels much more cohesive. That's not to knock L.A.N, because it too is fantastic, it just took a hell of a lot longer to draw me in, but I'm sure that, now that I'm invested, it's one of those games that isn't going to let me go easily. Though iF2 will certainly help. Heavy Rain is my vote, and I don't think that'll change in the last four cases I have yet to do.
Peace.

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FM23
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 2:42:48 AM

Huh...well both are dry and don't feel like games really, but if I had to choose...I would go with Heavy Rain because its more emotional, but I would choose LA Noire because it's more game for the buck and the motion scan really sells the drama. LA Noire is cop drama, while Heavy Rain is human drama. Heavy Rain has some instances of spotty acting, while LA Noire is spot on in most cases. Heavy rain has plot holes, while LA Noire has a random twist, but then the same can be said about Heavy Rain. Heavy Rain isn't repetitive, but LA Noire really is.

So my choice? LA Noire, but hardly by a big margin

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OverBerg
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 1:26:42 AM
Reply

Can't wait to play this game. Sadly, haven't had time to do so yet. For some reason, I couldn't really get into RRD. Maybe I'll need to give it another try. I'd prefer more of a Heavy Rain experience rather than RRD with L.A. Noire, but that's just me.

Hear the L.A. Noire reference on South Park tonight? Ha!

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FM23
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 2:04:52 AM
Reply

Elsa was nice...even for a crackheard...lmao. LA Noire was a great experience and anyone who begs to differ is truly missing out on something special.

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 2:24:51 AM
Reply

Y'know, I actually wish that I'd gotten even to the point that I currently am before I'd written my editorial on the game. Don't get me wrong, I stand by what I said there, but I feel that it's a bit ingenuine, given how well the game has managed to draw me in since. I agree with pretty much everything that was written here, but I still retain the idea that L.A. Noire has more potential than was actually met, as the personal drama isn't quite as intense as it could be and

**SPOILERS**
the whole thing with Cole's scandal with Elsa and his wife throwing him out just came out left field. There was really no precedent for it, and the first time we see his "loving" wife, she's kicking him to the kerb? I'm sorry but that's a sign of unbalanced writing.

**END SPOILERS**
Anyway, that's just my thoughts. I need to get this game out of the way pretty much tonight, which is not going to be easy, but I'm really going to try to hammer through it when I'm done here and looking for news for TR.
Peace.

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___________
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 3:18:09 AM
Reply

awesome game, but sadly also seriously flawed!
everything feels like they held back, they did not want to go the extra mile in fear of it being too hard, and people getting frustrated and quitting.
also its very inconsistent!
one time a suspect will keep a complete stright face, so you think there telling the truth but nope there lying.
so a few questions later same person, same actions, so last time 1 + 1 = 7, so you would think this time it would be the same.
right?
wrong!
also allot of times you will find 2 pieces of evidence identical, but you can only choose one to prove a lie?
so how am i suppose to tell which one is the correct one?
the green granny smith apple, or the other green granny smith apple?

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Qubex
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 3:35:28 AM

Interesting to get your point of view on this, it sounded like it was very impressive all around. How flawed is it really?

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Beamboom
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 4:38:40 AM

"a suspect will keep a complete stright face" -> Isn't this done on purpose, since some are better at lying than others?

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___________
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 9:30:38 AM

its not only the faces sometimes suspects will have a stright face, but be blinking allot.
so you start to suspect them, but sometimes there telling the truth and doing that and sometimes there not.
another thing some suspects may have a straight face, no twitches, normal slow blinking, but swaying left to right.
again sometimes that means there telling the truth, other times it means there not.
your really rolling the dice picking what means what.

theres allot of story aspects that really hurt the game too, dont want to give any examples because it will spoil the game.
but its like it sets you down a path, gradually gaining progress, then all of a sudden it just stops for whatever reason!
its like your walking to a door with a really eary golden glow, then you go to open the door and just before you can see what is in there you have to stop.
its like oh come on, i was soooooooooo close!!!!!!!

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Qubex
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 10:23:27 PM

"Its like your walking to a door with a really eary golden glow, then you go to open the door and just before you can see what is in there you have to stop. Its like oh come on, i was soooooooooo close!!!!!!!"

But isn't this what is supposed to make the game challenging?

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Last edited by Qubex on 6/9/2011 10:23:44 PM

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___________
Friday, June 10, 2011 @ 9:33:11 AM

not gameplay, story wise.
theres allot of points you spend hours finding a solution to something, are just about to find the solution, then am called away for whatever reason and you never find that solution.
the games allot like alan wake where something will happen, you will investigate then figure out a idea on what happens, then the game throws something else at you contradicting what you originally thought happened.
only difference is alan wake eventually tells you what happened, this does not it leaves it up in the air and makes you move on.

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Cole
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 9:17:34 AM
Reply

I've heard that LA Noire's ending is disappointing. I have the game and I almost completed it, but then my PS3 died.(YLOD)

I've already had my dearly departed phat replaced ,but I've lost all my save data and I really don't feel like starting over from scartch right now. All my attention is focused on Infamous 2 at the moment.

So.. without any spoilers.. could someone just tell me if this game has a satisfying resolution, or not?

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___________
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 9:32:05 AM

whether you find it satisfying or not will be subjective to different people, but i enjoyed it.
its a good tie up to all the events in the game, exactly what a ending should be.

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bebestorm
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 10:45:23 AM
Reply

Nice write up. So far we have Noire and Heavy Rain as two very unique titles and I hope they have left a impression on the gaming industry.

I completed the game a few days ago and I thought it was well written story. Team Bondi did a great job with the cast. I enjoyed homicide but vice and arson were the best.

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