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By Siri Karri

I’m going to cut to the chase: Buy this game. I’m not kidding.

If you have an IQ above that of an average watermelon, more than 15 minutes of spare time in a day, and a working game system you owe it to yourself to buy this game.

What this game masters better than any game before it is “immersion”. Immersion is when the line between the game world and real world begins to blur, when the basement around your TV screen fades to gray and only the game laid out before you exists.

One of the barriers to “true” immersion was that game characters’ facial expressions were always subpar. Even games that were written as well as, say, Mass Effect 2 always suffered from the fact that the characters’ expressions never truly conveyed the emotion in their voices. Someone could be telling you about how their mother was brutally raped and killed and still have the expression usually reserved for new Botox patients.

MotionScan technology fixes all of that.

In layman’s terms, Rockstar used over 30 cameras to capture real life actors as they spoke their lines and translated it onto the screen. What this means is that the player actually feels everything their character/NPC is feeling. You can tell when people are agitated and when they’re just toying around with you and it shows in their faces. The gameplay of sleuthing directly ties into this with fantastic results.

The real meat of the game revolves around solving cases by gathering evidence from crime scenes and interrogating criminals/witnesses. Basically, you ask the man/woman a question and gauge their answer on whether or not it’s true. In previous games, interpreting a character’s emotions was a crapshoot since it all depended on the voice acting. Now, you can ACTUALLY read a person’s face similar to real life.

Maybe the liar refuses to make eye-contact with you or seems very measured in his responses. Perhaps he’s too calm. It sucks you into the game in a way that even the most epic RPGS by Bioware can’t.
Now you may have noticed that while everyone loves LA Noire, the scores have ranged from 8.5 to 9.0 meaning that it has some flaws. And it does.

While the interrogation and sleuthing sections are inspired, everything outside of it seems rather uninspired. The driving, the shooting, all of it has either been done just as well if not better in other games. Despite the beautifully recreated 1940’s LA, the large sections between casework can often grow repetitive.

Another problem is longevity. Since LA Noire’s core gameplay revolves around mystery and suspense and not inspirational gameplay, there’s no real reason to play it again; you know what’s going to happened already. It doesn’t have the open world berserk appeal of Grand Theft Auto IV and it means that while you can literally get infinite hours out of Grand Theft Auto IV and not get bored, LA Noire has a definite expiration date.

Don’t let my criticisms of LA Noire deter you; it’s a fantastic game. The MotionScan will not be duplicated by any other game for a while and it gives a whole new meaning to the word “cinematic gaming”. The rest of the gameplay, while uninspired, is still solid and dependable enough that it doesn’t spoil the actual sleuthing.

In short, LA Noire is a flawed gem, but a gem you literally won’t find anywhere else and if you don’t buy this game you are a horrible person.

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