Good cop, bad cop, what’s the difference?
When L.A. Noire originally released, there really wasn’t much else like it. The mixture of Rockstar open world design and the choices of an adventure game set to the backdrop of classic detective films was a match made in Heaven. With the flurry of remasters and re-releases cropping up in the last couple years, this game felt like a perfect fit to introduce to this generation of gamers. The real question is if it could get traction once again in a fairly different landscape.
Make no mistake. While there is a Rockstar logo on the cover, L.A. Noire is fairly different from a lot of their other games. The world is open, but players are not going to be shooting random pedestrians or stealing cars. Instead this game focuses on abiding by the law and bringing down the criminals we all like to mimic in that ‘other’ Rockstar title.
MSRP: $39.99 (XB1, PS4) $49.99 (Switch)
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, Switch
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
Players assume the role of Cole Phelps, a street cop that eventually progresses to a detective. The idea is to investigate a series of crimes and decide who to accuse. There is a lot of collecting clues and unraveling the mysteries behind each one. Interviewing suspects and making judgment calls based on the evidence. The ideas are sound, but the execution sometimes left a bit to be desired.
Everything in the game is based around the facial expressions of the characters. The facial capture is second-to-none, but it was still difficult sometimes to tell whether the suspect was lying or not. Also there are three choices when questioning someone. In the original game it was Truth, Lie, or Doubt. For this remaster it has been changed to Good Cop, Bad Cop, or Accuse. This makes it easier to figure out what response will be given, but it is still sometimes hard to read the suspects.
Visually the game looks great in 4K. I checked out both the Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch versions. The Xbox One really shines with the added detail in 4K. The weather and lighting has also been improved, and the faces are a bit easier to read thanks to the added resolution. This is still a last generation game, but it was so well designed it has aged extremely well.
Speaking of the Switch version, there are a few differences worth mentioning. First off, the obvious of being able to play in handheld mode. In this mode players can also use the touch screen to pick up clues, which is really cool. There are also gesture motions with the Joycons that are better than they have any right to be. This version is easily the least impressive visually, with some frame rate stutters in portable mode, but it gets the job done.
L.A. Noire was a unique game that deserved a second chance. My biggest hurdle in recommending this version though is the price. Sitting at $40 on XB1 and PS4, and a whopping $50 on Switch, that is a financial pill that is hard to swallow, especially when I can snag the 360 or PS3 versions for under $5 at any local used retailer.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.