Why L.A. Noire changed my life
Games should be an experience...
I've often described video games, much to my fathers dismay, as the Hollywood blockbusters of our generation. It's strange and at 30 I still have these very same debates with my dad, but hell stick to what you know. My generation has grown up with video games and if you look at the difference now between my very first console (ZX Spectrum) and my PS3 the evolution has been extremely rapid. There have been several games through my life that I will go on to discuss in other lenses such as Goldeneye for the N64 and Halo for the X-box that have had me so involved the world stopped for me. As I have approached this generation and the steady age of 30 I thought this would end and to be honest I really started to believe that but there has been a few games that have caught my imagination like never before. I have played games like Red Dead Redemption and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and thoroughly enjoyed them, but not until Assassins Creed 2 did my mind revert back to the ways of old. I have often joked that playing Assassins Creed 2 made me want to go back to Venice, LA Noire made me want to go back to Hollywood and The Getaway made me never want to go back to London ever again. Jokes aside there was something magic about the first time I played L.A. Noire and I think quite simply it is that this game dared to do something different and ended up being not just a game, but an experience. So why should you buy it?...
Balls on the line
When I first picked up L.A. Noire: the complete collection I was immediately in awe on the detailed and accurate recreation of Los Angeles. The Rockstar team has 'built' and re-created 90% of the city with some artistic licence needed for some of the missions. I won't go into the story too much but many of the characters and story lines such as 'Black Dahlia' references were taken straight out of the history books. What I do want to say is that it would have been very easy to make this game all about shooting, driving and action. Instead they built a slower more thought provoking game that encourages the gamer to think rather than react. After searching the crime scene for evidence it was upto the main character of Cole Phelps to interview the main suspects and witnesses which is where the game comes into it's own. The actors who voiced the characters also had their faces filmed and mapped so that the characters on the screens had the same subtle facial expressions. Upon viewing the witness you are given the chance to suggest they are telling the truth, lying or that you doubt them completely. You may have to back up your accusation with evidence from the crime scene or with one wrong choice you may end up arresting and charging the wrong suspect. All of these features takes the game away from the norm and sets it on a shelf of its own. If you want a standard shooter buy Call of Duty but if you want to buy an experience try this.
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So how it changed my life
Well aside from the aforementioned 'game experience' rather than just a game it sparked my thoughts and imagination. I can honestly say without a shadow of doubt that it is one of my favorite games that I have ever played and writing this has made me realise that while I can recommend amazing games, I would make a bad reviewer of the grounds of why would I want to waste my time talking about something that didn't change my life? I could sit here and write reviews of Bulletstorm or Infamous 2 but I wouldn't get the same kick out of sharing one of these games with someone. L.A. Noire made me look forward to getting home from work each night and switching on the Playstation, it made me feel like a kid again and it inspired me to start writing again. I became interested in the topics in the game and started to research. I cannot suggest enough just how much you need to buy this game and I really hope it makes you feel as young as I did.