Thursday, April 21, 2011

L.A. Noire looks worthy of the hype

It’s very rare these days I become excited to get my hands on a new game. I think this has stemmed from years as an avid gamer of being disappointed after finally playing a title which I have waited months of hype for. However, when detective thriller L.A. Noire was announced (which arrives for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on 17 May in North America and 20 May in Europe), I almost instantaneously returned to my naive youth – anticipating what could be the game of the year.And this time I think my excitement is justified. This game looks like it will live up to the hype.

L.A. Noire, set in post-war Hollywood during its golden age, sees you take the position of Cole Phelps, a young LAPD detective looking to crack down on corruption, murder, drug dealing, arson attacks and racketeering, at the same time as trying to climb the ranks of his own department.

However, you'd be wrong to think that the game sees you simply search for clues, chase down suspects, interrogate witnesses and solve the case – bish bash bosh – become the commissioner.

This game seems to be offering so much more – especially in its level design detail and scale, storyline, character creation and animation. On top of the fact that you get to do real detective work – which from my memory I cannot remember any game ever really succeeding at.

The game has also incorporated groundbreaking new animation technology to capture every movement of an actor's facial performance in detail – meaning that players will have to look at character’s expressions to guess if they are telling porkie pies or not.

It’s not that my excitement was based purely on what I have seen in the teaser trailers or read either, the game has heavyweight backing.

Developed by Australian independent third-party game developer, Team Bondi, in conjunction with Rockstar Games (which of course brought us the world changing Grand Theft Auto series) this new franchise is pushing real muscle in terms of gaming pedigree.

For those who may not know, Team Bondi was founded by Brendan McNamara, writer and director of gangster romp The Getaway, and the former director of development for Sony Computer Entertainment’s Team Soho Studio in London. The Getaway, although linear and at times a little boring on the gameplay front, had a well produced, albeit dark and violent storyline, gripping cinematic cut scenes - all set in a visually impressive re-creation of London.

If the Team Bondi/Rockstar partnership works, it bodes well for what we can expect in L.A. Noire – original and interesting storylines, in-depth character creation, fantastic visuals, massive and detailed maps and hours of entertaining action.

I hope for the young me that this game isn’t another hyped up disappointment; but from what has been shown so far and the credentials backing its creation, L.A Noire looks set to be a classic.