It isn’t often that a neo-noir detective procedural gets made into a video game but such is the case with Team Bondi and Rockstar Games’ L.A. Noire. This is a downloadable game that deftly combines a cinematic aesthetic and feel with gameplay ripped right out of the best adventure and puzzle games, L.A. Noire was unique when it premiered in 2011 and has become even more so in the 20/20 hindsight the passage of time gives us.
How to Download L.A. Noire
You can download the game from Steam. To start your detective adventure, proceed to click on the Download button located below the review. and if you enjoy detective games, you should also definitely check out Heavy Rain, which is a PlayStation-only title.
The Game Review
Released initially for the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3, this title has since made an appearance on almost every system up to and including Nintendo’s Switch.
Like the best, classic films, the game is compelling on two levels: It is a great game with a solid story but it also exists within a fully realized world that is both familiar and distant at the same time.
Set in the Los Angeles of the late 1940s, L.A. Noire embodies the grit and gruff of a city on the rise while also filling its narrative with all of the tropes and expectations of a noir thriller.
A strange film genre by today’s standards, noir films were extraordinarily violent, seductive, and mysterious for film-going audiences of the 1940s and the 1950s. L.A. Noire doesn’t shy away from this at all but, thankfully, leaves some of the more egregious features of the noir genre by the wayside in its effort to tell a game.
Because the narrative is front and center in this title, there is a bit of a linear feel to the game. Players take on the role of detective Cole Phelps who investigates crimes and solves cases which gradually unveil more and more of the central plot.
There is some semblance of player choice in the open-world LA segments. Here the player will undertake optional activities as well as explore some of 1940s LA, complete with time-period appropriate landmarks and the like.
As in many Rockstar Games, the enjoyment the individual player gets out L.A. Noire mainly depends on that player’s ability to enjoy the world and narrative that surrounds the player character of Cole Phelps. Even though the game came out in 2011, it has aged remarkably well and the core gameplay remains solid.
The linearity of the plot might be a detraction for some, but when you consider how deep the narrative is when you compare it to the majority of in-game stories, L.A. Noire is still a very strong game, if not a case study in how to do it.
Fans of Rockstar’s style of games as well as the time period within which L.A. Noire takes place will fall in love with this game. It might take time to grow on the rest of us, but it is worth putting in the effort.
- Amazing story and great atmosphere
- Genre appropriate without being a caricature
- Open-world segments are appropriately structured
- Somewhat slow in the beginning
- If you don’t like narrative-heavy games, move along
- A noir title through and through - action is minimal, mood is maximum