Whether it’s a routine missing person or a string of harrowing murders committed by the Black Dahlia, Mr. Phelps (does anybody else want to do a Bob Johnson impersonation when they hear that name, or is it just me?) has to use his grey matter in order to determine who is behind the crime. The inspection of crime scenes, apartments and a few fresh (not to mention grisly-lookin’) corpses spawn clues, which are triggered by a vibrating sensation from your controller.
Don’t think for one minute that you’ll find them all via this electronic quivering, though: it’s very easy to miss certain clues, and you don’t necessarily need to find ‘em all in order to close your case. Sometimes your partners (or other people) will help you out if you’ve overlooked something. You may even alter the way the entire chapter plays out if you miss a piece of information, but the game always sets you back on your feet; it’s your detecting skills that will determine how well you rate with your superiors (and, more importantly, the game’s scoring system).
Another line of inspection that is of vital importance in L.A. Noire is the ability to interview suspects and witnesses. And, thanks to a very talented supporting cast of real actors, these civilians have a variable range of facial expressions. Are they lying? Being honest? Maybe they’re uncertain about their statements; maybe you’re uncertain about their statements — it’s up to you to judge by pressing a button while you’re interviewing these city dwellers. But choose to accuse or trust with carefulness, as wrongful blame will result in less-obliging individuals.
Oh, and before I forget: you’ll want to buy the soundtrack for this game. Just sayin’ it now, kids.
If some of you are thinking that L.A. Noire is a lot like those old Police Quest computer games, I suppose it’s safe to say it is. One might even consider it to be a modern-day successor of it. Some of you might scream out “sacrilege” over me even thinking that, but, if you look closely enough, you might just see it for yourself. The major difference, of course, is that L.A. Noire is a truly excellent game: one that delivers in terms of its animation, gameplay and character performances.
Anyone that’s ever lived in Los Angeles will also appreciate how truly remarkable — not to mention accurate — the game’s map of L.A. is here. A good buddy of mine was able to visit his old apartment was (or should I say “would eventually be?”) when he picked up the game. The reason behind this is that Team Bondi — the real brains behind the game itself — used fifty years’ worth of aerial photographs by Robert Spence in order to create the impressive layout we see in the final product. Certain liberties have been taken for the sake of story, however: take, for example, the inclusion of D.W. Griffith’s massive set from Intolerance — which was actually torn down in 1919.