L.A. Noire (PS4) – Exploring a Bygone Era Just Got Better

L.A. NOIRE

L.A. Noire has been something special since its original release for PlayStation 3. It was so well-received then (and deservedly so) that Rockstar wanted to bring it forward to a new era on modern consoles. To that end, L.A. Noire arrived recently for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro.

From a gameplay perspective, the original stands up so well that little was changed for the more modern version. The city has been spruced up, however, with impressive graphics that retain the original feel. The draw distance has increased with less fog, both choices aimed at bringing a more pleasing visual to the game. The beautifully rendered cityscape is now viewable in all its glory giving players the chance to take a tour of a bygone era set in postwar Los Angeles.  With a wider field of view, decreased fog and an increased draw distance, all of the hard work of the level design team is evident.

LA NOIRE PS4 2

The interrogation system has been altered from “Truth / Doubt / Lie” to “Good Cop / Bad Cop / Accuse”. According to Rockstar, this tweak to the system allows for more nuanced game play, though I felt it was somewhat jarring. One minute, Phelps is level-headed and calm. The next, he was coming unglued and was even cruel at times. Again, this is the same as it was in the original — that part hasn’t changed at all. I suppose it really comes down to the new nomenclature of the interrogation system itself. What’s most important here? With the less distinct choices, it really just feels like Phelps wants to finish the case. Perhaps it’s just semantics.

Part of the exploration of the City of Angels involves tooling around in classic cars of yesterday. One of the original’s biggest complaints was on the difficulty driving. In the new version, however, Rockstar has you covered. Controls have been tightened up to provide a better overall experience. You can find cars to drive all over the city, a true not to the GTA series. Depending on where the car is discovered, graphic improvements can make the chrome details dull if it’s been neglected, or blindingly shiny if it’s well-attended. This seems to be part of the updated lighting in the PS4 version and something that crops up throughout the game from time to time, usually at night.

LA NOIRE PS4 3

Lighting oddness is rare and really doesn’t take away from the overall visual presentation, but you will notice from time to time. Yet at other moments, when you see dust motes swirling through the air, it’s breathtaking. Overall it’s a mixed bag, and mostly a good thing.

In the end it all comes down to the singular question of whether or not buying the remastered game is worth it. For our money, the answer is a resounding “Yes”. It is a tribute to brilliance in gameplay for those who like narrative adventures and to Rockstar’s vision when it released the original game. It’s one of the best detective games ever made and you simply can’t go wrong with the PS4 version.

LA NOIRE PS4 1

Just the facts, ma’am:

  • Showcased in 1080p for the PlayStation 4 and stunning 4K for PlayStation 4 Pro.
  • Includes the complete original game and all additional downloadable content plus new collectibles and detective suits to unlock, each with unique special abilities.
  • Features an array of technical and graphical enhancements for a more realistic Los Angeles.

Be sure to read our “official” review (Switch).

This review was made possible by a code provided by the publisher.

SCORE: 9/10

Pros

  • a beautifully rendered world that lets you visit a bygone era
  • realistic portrayal of “gumshoe” detectives
  • vast graphical improvements
  • facial animations are still as brilliant as ever

Cons

  • texture and lighting glitches from time to time
  • unnecessary “reimagining” of the interrogation system
  • driving is still a pain in the neck
Written by
Suzie is an avid gamer and has been since 1995. She lives in the desert with her own personal minion while dreaming of pixel worlds beyond Earth.

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