L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition (PC) Review

The chance to reenter Team Bondi’s beautiful (if somewhat empty) rendition of 1947 Los Angeles was one I welcomed with the release of L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition on PC. With all the game’s heretofore released DLC and the ability to run a beautiful game at some properly high settings, I was ready to enjoy the dark noir storytelling all over again.

But while it’s nice to get the complete L.A. Noire experience in one handy edition and at a decent price, there’s not much else to set L.A. Noire on PC ahead of its console counterparts. This is a pretty simple PC port of a console game by Rockstar, and apart from DLC and a chance to play with a keyboard, you haven’t got much of a reason to opt for PC over any console version of the game. It’s pretty much all the same.

L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition: PC (Reviewed)
Developer: Team Bondi
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Released: November 8, 2011
MSRP: $49.99

This version of L.A. Noire maintains all the boons and flaws of the original Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions. It still has an engaging but somewhat thin story compiled of some of the best noir cliches available, and it still has a weird difference in tone between action sequences and investigations. L.A. Noire still manages to be highly engaging when you’re searching for clues — its primary gameplay mechanic — and somewhat off-putting when you’re chasing down and shooting criminals.

Primarily, you’re an investigator in L.A. Noire. As Detective Cole Phelps, you’ll wander crime scenes waiting to hear a little jingle noise as Phelps passes an object he can interact with. When that happens, you can pick it up and turn it over to glean clues from it. When you’re done (a tone sounds), you’ll usually proceed to use what you’ve learned in an interrogation with some suspect. You’ll ask questions, watch facial movements and listen to tone, and then choose from three responses to each of the interrogation subject’s answers, judging whether they’re telling the truth or straight-up lying to you. For lies, you’ll need hard evidence to back up your claim in the form of the clues you just gathered. You can also “doubt” a statement if you think the subject is holding back.

Just like when it was released a few months ago, the interrogation portion of L.A. Noire remains as compelling and groundbreaking as it was on consoles. Team Bondi made use of a new facial motion capture technology that’s still shockingly awesome, creating some really great, human-looking animations that are unrivaled anywhere in the industry. People look, sound, move and act like people. It’s really quite awesome, and the work of several superb, notable actors really helps elevate the storytelling and drama in the game.

The higher graphics capabilities on PCs sell these animations even better than on consoles, and largely the faithful and beautiful recreation of Los Angeles is stunning when viewed on the game’s higher settings. The problems with the gameplay remain — most of the buildings you can see in L.A. you can’t enter, the driving portions are pretty dull, and interrogations can sometimes be a little off-kilter in terms of what you choose (doubt) and what Cole Phelps says (“You murdered him, didn’t you, you evil old hag!”).

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2 Comments on L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition (PC) Review

Brandon J. Clark

On December 2, 2011 at 4:08 pm

So we get THIS and not Red Dead Redemption?



On December 3, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I picked this game up on steam when it was the deal of the day, I found it to be a really decent buy I enjoyed the entire game a lot.