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#3: L.A. Noire
I’m not going to lie to you, I absolutely loathe L.A. Noire but to deny the game is nothing short of a technical marvel would be selling this game short. Rockstar has never shied away from taking their games in new directions so when they took a chance on a relatively unknown Sydney-based developer they had a lot riding a single title. Even after the dust has settled L.A. Noire still managed pull off an impressive and incredible feat.
The player takes the reins of Cole Phelps, a rookie cop who rises through the ranks of the LAPD in 1940s Los Angeles. Players be warned. This isn’t Grand Theft Auto. If you’re expecting a game that allows you to crash your police cruiser into anyone or anything or shoot your gun willy-nilly in the streets then look elsewhere. This is a game that relies more on the drive of its characters, its dramatic storytelling, and suspense rather than the action of shooting a gun.
My gripes with the game are superficial. You never really die during gameplay and you rarely ever fail a case (even if you are the worst interrogater imaginable). Despite being an open-world sandbox game, L.A. Noire is extremely linear, providing little incentive to explore the meticulously crafted 1940′s Los Angeles. But for me, I found the game extremely repetitive, never being about to take on more than two cases in a single sitting. What the game does get right is its film noir aesthetic taking queues from recent films like The Black Dahlia and L.A. Confidential, a perfect musical score to match, and superb voice-acting from a star-studded cast. Interrogating witnesses utilizes Team Bondi’s MotionScan technology, which filmed the facial responses of real-life actors with 32 surrounding cameras.
It’s a shame we won’t see any future games from Team Bondi since the studio officially closed its doors in October 2011. At its heart L.A. Noire is a mystery game, just like what Rockstar did for the Western with Red Dead Redemption so to does L.A. Noire for the hard-boiled detective genre. A title that won’t soon be forgotten.