L.A. Noire’s Story was Good but not Great, Gameplay is the True Star

My initial play through of L.A. Noire’s campaign came to a close yesterday, and for the most part I was thoroughly impressed with this game’s story until the last few cases.  I’m not going to dive into what actually happened, so there’s no need to worry about stumbling across spoilers, but I do want to throw some thoughts out there on the game’s overall plot.  For the most part I found myself more interested in each individual case versus the overall plot, so I never fully bought into the story of Cole Phelps.

Outside of some dreamlike flashbacks I never felt a connection to Cole in regards to who he is, and where he came from.  Like I said earlier I was more into the cases than Cole himself, which isn’t an entirely bad thing considering that the cases are all excellently written.  Although, this does become an issue in the game’s final few acts because Rockstar begins to tie Cole’s past with present happenings.  When some major changes in the L.A. Noire universe took place I found myself caring less about them than what Rockstar probably wanted me to, because I never became emotionally attached to Cole Phelps.

“Hi, I’m Cole Phelps and I’m a robot sent from the future. Take me to your leader.”

For the most part he seemed like a robot at times, void of emotions and a like able personality.  Maybe it’s just me, but I couldn’t have given two sh*ts about Cole as a person, and I blame Rockstar for this.  For all intents and purposes the dude has a great background to key on, but Rockstar seemed to focus more on the case at hand than developing Cole as a character.  Whenever they took him in another direction it was done so quickly that at times I didn’t really even know how things ended up the way they did.

I believe this is what led to the last few cases being less than suspenseful when they should have been full of angst.  Towards the end of the game some major events take place, but outside of some foreshadowing they pretty much feel crow barred in.  It’s almost like Rockstar had to scramble towards the end of the game to get Cole’s story wrapped up that they kind of hit the FF button a little too much.  This led to a very predictable conclusion that didn’t seem to jive with a game that is all about mystery.

Cole Phelps is at his Best When He’s on the Case

Overall, L.A. Noire is still a fantastic open world game that puts a unique spin on this worn out genre.  The cases themselves are the real stars of this noire drama, and unfortunately this is evident when it comes to the main characters overall arcs.  The end won’t blow you away, and Cole feels like an android, but this game is still worth a look if you need something to fill up your gaming schedule.  Just don’t expect some crazy Lost-like plot twists, because at its core the story of L.A. Noire is a simple affair that resembles today’s generic crime dramas that dominate the TV lineup more than an innovative take on the genre.  You’ve been given an opinion to love, hate, or agree with…


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Tags : L.A. NoireRockstar GamesSingleplayerStorytelling
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.