This past Friday saw the European release of L.A. Noire, and thanks to all the loyalty points I had accumalated from buying the Nintendo 3DS and a few other games in the interim, my copy didn't actually cost me anything! I've been playing it quite a bit over the weekend, and so far my verdict is that while Rockstar have another high quality game on their hands, I don't think it quite matches Red Dead Redemption, at least for me. I thought the first few missions as a patrolman were rather short and disjointed, but this does pick up when you get promoted to the traffic desk. From then on the cases are considerably longer, and involve scouring the crime scene for clues, interrogating witnesses until you find enough evidence to put someone away, or catch them out in a lie. Then you usually have to chase them down, either on foot or in a car.
The main technological breakthrough that L.A. Noire offers over other games is in the facial animation - never have video game characters looked so convincing. This aspect of the graphics is incredibly impressive, and necessary for the game to work properly - as without the facial ticks of the people you're interviewing, it would be much harder to tell if their withholding information. Nevertheless, outside of this, I don't find the graphics particularly amazing. The 360 version in particular suffers from some unfortunate glitching and slowdown - something that the PS3 version has managed to avoid, from what I've heard. I will save my final verdict for when I've managed to beat the game though.
Sorry for the continuing dearth of posts - things will pick up soon. There's a chance that I may get a job in London, and if that does indeed happen there will probably be a change in focus for this blog. For a little while at least, I will be spending quite a while each day commuting, so there will be less time to play on the 360 and PS3 at home and much more time that could be spent with my handheld consoles. I recently bought the latest version of the GP2X, known as the Caanoo, and it has many improvements over the original model, including a faster processor, inbuilt rechargeable battery and bigger screen. I'm loving it so far and have begun playing Final Fantasy V on a SNES emulator, one of the few games left in the series that I haven't played. Check the video below (not made by me) for an overview.