L.A. Noire (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 07.12.2017 6

Review for L.A. Noire on Nintendo Switch

In every generation, there are tons of games that don't receive the attention or audience that they deserve. One such game was L.A. Noire. While it launched to favourable reviews, comparisons to GTA were always going to be made, and this slower, methodical game that focused on detective work and reading characters' reactions failed to draw in everyone it should have. It's exciting when these games get remasters; it gives a second chance to players who missed out the first time around, and lets those who enjoyed the game re-experience why. What's most exciting about this release, though, is the Switch version. That is if it's not just a lazy port that can't live up to the PS4 and Xbox One versions.

For anyone who didn't get to play L.A. Noire the first time around on PlayStation 3, the game tells the tale of Cole Phelps, an ex-Marine who returns home after World War II and joins the boys in blue. The course of the story follows Cole through his career at the force, seeing him develop and grow from a uniformed beat cop to the glamorous world of traffic, and then into the actually exciting departments of the LAPD, like vice and arson, and, of course, homicide. Cole deals with numerous episodic cases while the player is introduced to his history, and a wider story plays out in the background, building to some big developments in Cole's life and a widespread criminal network with ties to his past.

Screenshot for L.A. Noire on Nintendo Switch

This story plays out over a sprawling recreation of 1940s Los Angeles. Their history with Grand Theft Auto titles gave Rockstar a solid base in developing these sorts of environments, and they used their skills with aplomb here. While Grand Theft Auto let players revel in their freedom, though - smashing through the streets with a reckless abandon, causing monumental damage to property and human life - playing as a cop here means no running down civilians or driving into buildings. Each case has a potential score of between one and five stars, and while this is mostly reliant on finding all the clues in the case or correctly picking up on the behaviours of suspects during negotiations, the fines accrued for not following the letter of the law can all add up to a disappointing score.

The gameplay is split up episodically into 26 different cases - the original 21 cases bundled together with the five DLC cases. They each play out the same way. Cole is given a new case from his chief, heads off to investigate a crime scene, then after figuring out the situation, he has to interrogate suspects and chase down perps. The majority of this core gameplay remains unchanged from the original, with all the positive and negative aspects still in attendance.

Screenshot for L.A. Noire on Nintendo Switch

There's a grand scale to LA, and while the episodic nature of the game means exploration isn't a focus, instead, the player is pushed along from point A to B. It is recommended to head out into the streets of LA, since those who do will find some side activities worth picking up. This isn't a modern-day sandbox, so don't go expecting hundreds of hidden items or a mass of side-quests, but there are a few cars and suits to unlock, and some general street crime to put a stop to. These activities highlight some of L.A. Noire's biggest flaws, though. Traversing the world as Cole is not smooth, and stepping into shootouts is horrendous, as the slow, janky controls fight against the will of those holding the controller constantly.

Screenshot for L.A. Noire on Nintendo Switch

The interrogations were always billed as a huge part of the game. Rockstar integrated motion-captured faces to let the audience try and play Sherlock. In every case, Cole faces off against villains and witnesses, asking questions based on things found in the investigations, then has to figure out whether the person is lying. One minor change made to these interrogation aspects is a grammatical one. In the original, Cole could select from "Truth," "Lie," and "Doubt." This has now changed to "Good Cop," "Bad Cop," and "Accuse." It's a tiny change, but it helps in predicting what Cole will say. Just like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, what seems like a simple choice often spins out into a surprise, as Cole screams in the poor witness' face. The characters in the investigations, on whichever side of the table, are the highpoint here. Slimy and sleazy, corrupt and arrogant. There are so many characters that players will love to hate.

Being a port of a remaster, a big focus of this release has to be how it compares to the original release and the other platforms. Well, graphically, it's pretty great. The original version on PS3 ran at 1280x720, while this remaster runs on PlayStation 4 at 1920x1080, and that resolution is matched on the Switch! At least it is while in docked mode. While in handheld mode, that drops somewhat to 1440x1080 - still a considerably higher resolution than the original. On the performance front, the original ran at 30fps and there's no improvement on that on the Switch. It still suffers from issues the original did with the performance, too. When too many people and cars get on screen at the same time, the performance drops noticeably in both docked and handheld. There are also issues with pop-ins and the audio occasionally goes out of sync during FMVs.

Screenshot for L.A. Noire on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

There are so many big games these days, it's easy to forget the details of one even as recently as last gen, and L.A. Noire does a fantastic job in reminding just how good it is. The story is engaging, the investigations are fun, the world is deep and immersive, and the interrogations are truly unique. Even with the slight performance woes, the game is very impressive on Switch, especially in handheld mode. This, along with titles like Skyrim and DOOM, sets a promising precedent, and open the door to many other games well deserving of remasters that would be amazing to be able to play on handheld.

Developer

Virtuous

Publisher

Rockstar

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

It's great how well this has been made on Switch, and makes me wonder if there's already more in store from Rockstar. GTAV Deluxe, perhaps? Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

It's a really good game and a good looking game at that, but the draw distances when outside are appalling! I don't understand how a game of this age could have such a poor draw distance on a more modern console like the Switch. I can only think that it's not optimized as well as it should have been. I mean, the last generation of consoles had open world games with better draw distances! That's my only gripe with an otherwise good game.

Our member of the week

I've just noticed something about this. The game has achievements, but since the Switch OS has no achievements integration, you have absolutely no way of checking out which achievements you've unlocked or not. Other games on the Switch have a specific menu for it to compensate, so you can actually keep track of this sort of thing, but this one doesn't. That sucks!

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

RudyC3 said:
I've just noticed something about this. The game has achievements, but since the Switch OS has no achievements integration, you have absolutely no way of checking out which achievements you've unlocked or not. Other games on the Switch have a specific menu for it to compensate, so you can actually keep track of this sort of thing, but this one doesn't. That sucks!

That's dumb. Maybe it's hidden somewhere? If I remember right, in Disgaea 5 on Switch, you had to speak to a certain NPC to check your achievements list, which is the same as the trophies list from the PS version.

RudyC3 said:
I've just noticed something about this. The game has achievements, but since the Switch OS has no achievements integration, you have absolutely no way of checking out which achievements you've unlocked or not. Other games on the Switch have a specific menu for it to compensate, so you can actually keep track of this sort of thing, but this one doesn't. That sucks!

You check them online like Rockstar's other games at Social Club. Achievement and other thing's show up there.

socialclub.rockstargames.com

Our member of the week

Trepe said:

RudyC3 said:
I've just noticed something about this. The game has achievements, but since the Switch OS has no achievements integration, you have absolutely no way of checking out which achievements you've unlocked or not. Other games on the Switch have a specific menu for it to compensate, so you can actually keep track of this sort of thing, but this one doesn't. That sucks!

You check them online like Rockstar's other games at Social Club. Achievement and other thing's show up there.

socialclub.rockstargames.com


So you can't check them if you're playing it on the go where there's no WiFi, that still sucks that you have to be so dependent on being connected when a simple menu woould have done the trick.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

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