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L.A. Noire

May 17, 2011
Blood and Gore, Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs, Violence

Video Game Cat Review

Date of Review:  December 17, 2012
Format Reviewed:   PS3
Language / Country of Origin:   English / USA
Online Capability:  There is downloadable content (DLC) available for this title: “The Naked City,”  “A Slip of the Tongue,” and “Rockstar Pass.”
Equipment Needed: None needed.
Maintenance Required:  None required.


Explore the streets of Los Angeles in 1947 as a Los Angeles police officer trying to rise through the ranks of his department.  L.A. Noire begins at the patrol desk of Officer Cole Phelps of the Los Angeles Police Department.  After solving several cases, including pursuing criminals involved in gangster activity and hunting down the perpetrators of rapes and murders, Phelps is promoted through various departments, such as Homicide and Arson.  Phelps, a WWII veteran, is ultimately brought into investigations that reveal how members of his squadron have disrupted the drug trade by selling stolen morphine brought home from the war, upsetting the Mob who usually benefit from such trade.  The plot thickens as these investigations reveal fraudulent schemes that have the profits of the morphine sales invested into real-estate – with close connections to many L.A. police officers, local businessmen and even the Chief of Police.

Cultural / Historical Value:
L.A. Noire aims to carefully simulate 1940s Los Angeles. The Los Angeles depicted in L.A. Noire is an accurate re-creation based on over 110,000 aerial photographs of the city.  Even its traffic patterns are based on historical knowledge.  Further, while patrolling the streets of Los Angeles, players listen to vintage 1940’s radio media, with the occasional police radio interference related to the game.  L.A. Noire also memorializes real-life unsolved investigations such as the “Black Dahlia” case and sets the player in pursuit of these notorious crimes. L.A. Noire was created by the same development team as the acclaimed Grand Theft Auto series and, similar to those titles, allows players to explore the open world on their own time – with a lack of a linear plot or gameplay.

Teaching / Learning Characteristics:
L.A. Noire simulates the steps required to solve crimes as a police officer.  Players are responsible for gathering evidence, hunting down leads, interrogating suspects, and ultimately charging criminals.  If players do not gather enough relevant data or evidence to charge a suspect, players may not progress through the levels to solve the cases and finish the game. Players must be patient and thorough when examining crime scenes, or else they may accidentally miss clues that are crucial to solving cases.  They also must pay close attention while interrogating suspects in case they overlook facial cues that illustrate if people are lying or telling the truth.  Critical thinking skills are also mandatory in order to solve cases as there are often not obvious connections between pieces of evidence and guilty suspects.  Eye-hand coordination is also tested in this game, as the player must chase after fleeing suspects and show good handy-work with standard issued weapons.

Replay Value:  
L.A. Noire offers fair replay value.  Players can return to previous cases in order to re-solve them and gain greater depth into the unfolding plots. The more accurately a case is solved, the more of the plot of the game that is revealed.  This game can also be played in a black and white version of itself.  Those looking for added content can also purchase expansion packs.

Likely Audiences:
Fans of the Grand Theft Auto series may be interested in this title, due to its similar open world environment.  Gamers who enjoy crime shows and the murder/mystery genre will also appreciate this title.  However, due to graphic content, mature language and subject matter, L.A. Noire is meant only for adult audiences.

Overall Score:

Other Reviews:


About the Author:
Ben Bigalke is an avid traveler, bicycle enthusiast, lover of animals and video gamer extraordinaire.  He grew up taking the stories and virtues told by the Nintendo of his childhood to heart.  As an adult, he continues to appreciate the entertainment and learning experiences that videogames offer and studies the technological and artistic advancements they have made throughout his lifetime.  As a videogame reviewer, he enjoys both observing and experiencing the cultural impact that these games have on his generation.


Award Giver Category Verdict
Spike Video Game Awards 2011Best Graphics Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2011Action/Adventure Game of the Year Third Place
Golden Joystick Awards 2011Ultimate Game of the Year Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2012Artistic Achievement Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2012Best Game Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2012Debut Game Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2012Design Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2012Game Innovation Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2012Original Music Winner
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2012Performer
(Aaron Stanton as Cole Phelps)
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2012Story Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2012GAME Award of 2011 Nominee

Additional Info

ESRB Description:
Blood and Gore, Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs, Violence


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