The term Noir is used primarily on films commonly coined as Film Noir, this was popularised by two French critics and when translated to english, this means dark movie or something sinister or shadowy. Pretty interesting and it doesn’t stop there. The setting takes place in Los Angeles in the year 1947, you control Cole Phelps an LAPD officer who is the perfect lead for this movie-ish video game. Players must not only play the usual GTA gameplay but you have to think on your feet. You need to have attention to detail and hope for the best that you used your best judgement.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, HTC Vive
Developer: Rockstar Games
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release Date: November 14, 2017 (Xbox One, PC, Switch), December 2018 (HTC Vive)
This review is based on a review code provided by Rockstar Games.
Aesthetics are amazing on this game. It draws inspiration heavily on stylistic films made popular in the 40s and 50s – think about it like Pre-Fallout disaster and everyone is still alive and going about their normal daily living. I loved how the game stayed true in using retro themed colors across the gameplay with that mysterious darkness that could pop up whenever and to add drama, you can also pay the game in black and white. Original game was released on 2011 and in comparison, graphics has been tremendously enhanced. Facial expressions on their faces are so precious, it looks like you are talking to someone real. The way their mouth twitches when justifying themselves; the way their eyes shows despair or anger when making their statements – it looks surreal! I can’t even tell the difference except if I have a strong evidence against it. Which brings me to the core of the game as a detective action gameplay.
This is those type of game plays where finally you live and breathe to be a good cop. You solve crimes, investigate evidences and locations and as what I pointed out earlier, you interrogate characters that could potentially be a witness, person of interest and finally might be the criminal itself. This isn’t your normal GTA gameplay. I have high respect for Rockstar but this game for me exceeded my expectations. Investigating sites and items takes a good eye especially when you toggled off the visual tips on the game’s settings not only to add challenge but to raise your points to spend on intuition. So let’s go to intuition – these are points that you acquire on every successful interrogation that you do and you can spend this by eliminating a wrong choice so you can have a better chance. Now, some items are minute, you can easily brush them off as irrelevant but it could be a vital piece to your investigation.
When interrogating, you can either play as Good Cop if your instincts are telling you that they are telling the truth, Bad Cop if you want to encourage them with threats and a little bit of violence. Accuse if you know they are lying to your face but for this to work you need to have a strong evidence and if you choose an incorrect action, this could lead to your interrogation to fail and you will never get the best outcome. What makes it challenging is when to call their statements bull or when to throw an evidence. I failed a couple of times, but it made me more resilient to go further and be more careful on the next case. These cases as interesting as they are were actually inspired by the real-life crimes that L.A. went through at that time.
Shootouts which normally happens in action adventure type of game is not nearly as important on this game, you can also get into a fist fight which is equally fun. Dodging incoming punches and grappling your foe to admit defeat are polished, though it could get repetitive at times. Driving around the city is spectacular as you see those sunny colored billboards or nights brightened by neon illuminated lights. Typical car chase are also present but controls are there to help you get through those tight curves but at times you may have to stalk some cars and that might get a little bit boring.
Glitches for me are very minor on this game, on foot framerates tend to drop or when it’s daylight character faces lean towards being grainy but this isn’t really a distraction as you get engrossed with the game’s’ storyline. Sometimes while you are investigating, not all items on the perimeter are useful such as beer bottles, cups or tires. But this goes on on so many scenes where I feel like this should be a challenge from time to time not to duplicate ‘lures’ to give more meaning to the investigational gameplay that this game offers.
Certainly advantages outweighs these issues and the game runs pretty well. Highlights are well maintained when the scenes do matter and even if there is only a small percentage of gun fights, gameplay and storyline makes up for it. This game also offers an open world gameplay giving you the freedom to choose and play side quest missions or drive around the city and just bask in L.A.’s ambitious spirit. There are also hidden collectibles spread around the city, newspapers, novels or gold film reels which encourages exploration and adds them to your Trophy collectibles too. Definitely a roller coaster ride and a player shouldn’t miss out on.