I did not pay much attention to L.A. Noire simply because I dismissed it early on as a 1940s era Grand Theft Auto, which, as any loyal Grinding Down reader will know, is not my favorite game. I mean, you can see the Rockstar Games touch very clearly in its latest title, from the dynamic and stylized cutscenes to the minimap to their passion about having a stellar soundtrack. That last thing is not a bad thing.
Anyways, reviews are out, and besides having to constantly warn gamers that you can’t run over prostitutes in this one (aw shucks), the verdict seems to be that L.A. Noire is much more of an adventure game than a drive-and-shoot title. No random rampages allowed. Gameplay is more focused on investigating a crime scene, talking to witnesses, and piecing together an answer. Yes, there’s still some of those annoying “tail a car, but don’t get caught” missions, as well as some shootouts, but more or less, it’s all about the story and one man’s drive to bring wrongdoers to justice. I can get behind that. Considering the lack of strong, narrative-driven titles harkening back to the point-and-click genre these days, I might have to actually get this game–but not quite yet. I still have plenty of titles to work through, but once I’ve cleared a total of, say, 25 games for 2011, then I might go out and give post-WWII Los Angeles a try.
Oh, and about that soundtrack. It’s fantastic. You can preview six songs from L.A. Noire thanks to SoundCloud:
My personal favorite is the remix of Ella Fiztgerald and Louis Jordan’s “Stone Cold Dead in the Market.” The others are great, dancy remixes of classic, old-time tunes. Doesn’t necessarily evoke the sense of police work, but does transport one back to a simpler time, to smoke-filled rooms, to dangerous women in dangerous outfits, to falling victim to gorgeous, dreamy sounds, to finding love and chasing it down.