L.A. Noire on Switch is an attempt to teach an old dog new tricks. It’s the video game equivalent of Steve Buscemi’s “how do you do, fellow kids” - and without most of the new additions specifically for Nintendo Switch, perhaps it would have been just fine.
a few little tweaks here and there are relatively welcome, of course. In interrogations, the choices were previously “Truth, doubt, lie” - and they rarely corresponded to the actor’s following dialogue, often resulting in detective Cole phelps yelling at children and innocent witnesses just because they looked a bit shifty. In the Switch version, the options have been changed to, respectively, “Good Cop, Bad Cop, accuse”, which more closely follows Cole’s reaction, albeit with an implication that you can swing between moods like Tarzan on vines.
L.A. Noire is still an impressively wellthemed game, with noir practically spilling out of its stylish fedora hats. Incomprehensible ’40s slang gets sprinkled in like pepper, and cases inspired by real life nicely centre the world in historical fact.
However, the pacing is strange, and cases and conversations are often over much too soon, as if they’re being rushed through like a toddler telling a story. Worse yet, the game wavers between treating you like an absolute moron with unskippable tutorials, and then telling you that you’ve been promoted for the fifth time in two days for being The World’s Best detective.
The facial animation – something that L.A. Noire was well known for six years ago – stands up remarkably well, neatly sidestepping the uncanny valley of deadeyed automata that even the highest budget games can’t avoid. It’s wasted on the “tells”, though - the weird shifty faces characters make when they’re lying - because every single one looks like a constipation face, and none are subtle.
But if you’ve played L.A. Noire before, none of that is news to you. The new additions to the game are probably what you want to hear about instead - and it’s not good news.
L.A. Noire can’t help but constantly remind you of all the Switch features it has shoehorned into its re-release. From the controls tutorial in the menu, which tells you all about touchscreen and motion controls but not actually about how to use the buttons, to the incessant use of Hd Rumble whenever you jump a fence, discover a clue, or fart gently into the wind, it feels like you’re being beaten over the head with New Features. It’s unnecessary, and pulls you right out of the game - besides, who on earth wants to play L.A. Noire on a touchscreen? and who can remember the ten thousand gesture controls for the Joy-cons? Who even wants to?
L.A. Noire is an easy seven-point-five out of ten on any day - but its insistence on using every bell and whistle the Nintendo Switch has to offer makes it a pain to play. Features should add to entertainment, not diminish it. L.A. Noire didn’t quite strike that balance.
The open world is conspicuously empty. Every two seconds, a car horn sounds, yet the streets are bare. There is never traffic in LA Noire’s weirdly quiet Los Angeles. Who is beeping? Where is everyone? Why is it so dull?
la Noire on Xbox 360