What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that L.A. Noire is a crime thriller featuring gunfights, nude corpses, and strong language. It is targeted specifically at adult players and is not intended for children. The game’s complex cases force players to unflinchingly investigate some very disturbing crime scenes, absorbing as much as they can from mutilated bodies and other bloody evidence in order to identify and track down criminal suspects. While mature themes are prevalent throughout, the story is presented from the side of law enforcement, and its protagonist -- the character that players control -- is depicted as an incorruptibly good cop seeking justice in each case he is assigned.
What's it about?
Combining elements from film noire, modern procedural police dramas, and third-person open-world action games, L.A. NOIRE puts players in the shoes of Cole Phelps, a decorated World War II veteran who starts a career on the L.A. police force in 1946 and quickly gets promoted from beat cop to detective. Each new case requires him to study crime scenes in search of evidence and to record clues in his notebook. He puts the pieces together to identify persons of interest, then finds and interrogates them. Thanks to a bar-raising, performance-capture technique, characters are capable of subtle facial expressions that may indicate when an interviewee is holding back on the truth or outright lying. Players have to decide on the fly whether they trust the responses they hear, and could accidentally send the wrong person to jail if they make mistakes. Players can also choose to accept quick one-off missions -- in-progress bank robberies, domestic abuse situations, suicidal jumpers -- via calls that come in over the radio as they drive through an intricately detailed recreation of mid-century Los Angeles.
Is it any good?
There’s no other game like L.A. Noire. Some elements -- the third person gun battles, for example -- are clearly derivative. However, the meat of the game -- procedural investigations that involve exhaustive crime scene searches, intense interviews with persons of interest, canvassing people who live near crime scenes, chats with the coroner to gather scientific evidence -- is something that’s never been seen before in this manner in the world of interactive entertainment. And it’s extremely compelling.
At least it will be for some gamers. There’s little doubt that a game like this won’t prove engaging for all. Miss a clue or fail to interpret a subtle interviewee expression properly and your job can get much harder. The slow pace may leave some action junkies wondering what they signed up for. However, game fans who have always wanted to know what it might be like to be a character in gritty old police thrillers like Double Indemnity or Touch of Evil will be in pure heaven.
Online interaction: Players can connect with Rockstar’s online Social Club to see how other players have handled certain issues in witness and suspect interrogations. Community results are shown as percentages; no communication is involved.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about violence in games. Does it bother you if games allow or direct you to hurt innocent characters? Do you prefer to always play as the good guy?
Does this procedure-oriented game make the job of a detective seem interesting to you? Do you think you might have a knack for finding clues, reading interviewee reactions, and putting puzzle pieces together?