Since last year I have been wondering what all the hype was surrounding Rockstar's lastest title L.A. Noire. I have played previous Rockstar titles but have never really been able to dig my feet in and enjoy the sandbox style of play. Despite the 'oohs' and 'aahs' from colleagues and friends during last year's E3 and after the preview several weeks ago, I had no inclination to see it or play. Then the game arrived at my doorstep and peer pressure set in, so I played.
I had trouble putting down the controller long enough to write this article...
Dammit Rockstar! I'm hooked. I know it has everything in the world to do with the stories and the characters. I am a sucker for mid-century anything (ahem, Mad Men!). I like challenges - of any kind really. Oh, and I like video games, in case you didn't know. Sleep be damned as well, I got very little last night.
Nothing is perfect and L.A. Noire is no exception. As with all Rockstar titles, I cannot drive without crashing into everything. Running people over may work in Grand Theft Auto, but not so much when you are a cop. Don't blame me, it has to be the game mechanics, right?
The characters look much like the actors voicing them and this is part of the appeal. Aaron Staton voices main character Detective Cole Phelps - by the way, he is in Mad Men. There are several cases, which you can solve relatively quickly, but there are also smaller side missions you can choose to take all while some underlying, long-running story arc seems to be building along the way. I realize many studios attempt to achieve the same balance but few succeed. Rockstar has found a formula that works for them but instead of sitting on their "laurels" and settling, they tweak a bit with each new title without undoing the foundation they have created. Think of it as remodeling an old home.
L.A. Noire may not be for everyone. Some of the missions are unforgiving, you can lose hours (and hours) playing, and may be you actually aren't into 1940s noire but there is no denying the appeal of this game.
So now you know, if you are not playing L.A. Noire you are truly missing the experience. There is so much more to touch on but I will wait until I have completed the title to get into all of the finer details.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some more bad guys to take down.