L.A. Noire Gets Lost In The Shadows - GIKato Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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L.A. Noire Gets Lost In The Shadows

Rockstar games are deservedly well known for their immersive worlds, but I think L.A. Noire missed an opportunity in this department.

Before the game came out I was excited to dive into and be surrounded by the L.A. of the period, which often goes hand-in-hand with the film noire genre. Developer Team Bondi certainly has done a lot of work (maybe too much!) into recreating the city and the period, but I think a lot of that work isn't highlighted enough or made enticing for the player.

First of all, the fact that the film noire collectible film reels are so hidden in the game is a wasted opportunity for players to explore the environment. Out of everyone I've talked to who's beat the game, the most film reels any of them have found is two. That's two out of a possible fifty. I haven't found any – and I've even gone out of my way to look for them. To me, that low number signifies that they're just too hard to find. You should at least find some of them without even trying in order to set up a breadcrumb trail to make players want to hunt for the rest of them. But since they're so hard to find, I – like some of the players I've talked to – gave up. In contrast, the game does a good job with the locations, which give you a great sense of the city and its history.

I love all the period props, store fronts, signs, etc. that are in the game, and it would be great if the player could really get a good look at them with a first-person camera. Now, I know that installing a first-person camera actually requires a lot of work for the developers, so this is more of a wish list item than a criticism. Still, I often find myself wanting to stop and look into store fronts or survey my surroundings to check out the detail, but instead have to make due with the normal camera.

I like L.A. Noire, but not as much as I wanted to. I actually had to give up on the film reels halfway through, and resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to really get to play the game the way I had hoped. I wanted to really spend time meaningfully exploring the environment (and be rewarded for it), but given the lack of enticing gameplay peripheral to the story itself, the city itself feels a little shallow. I guess that's L.A. for you.

[Note: Thanks to reader Andrew Toney who correctly pointed out that there are 50 reels in the game, not 100 as I originally wrote. Blog edited correctly on July 7, 5:30 pm]

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