It's been a long journey, but after seven years of development of incredible ups and downs, L.A Noire is finally here.
L.A Noire, developed by Sydney-based games developer, Team Bondi, is by far the most ambitious and most expensive game ever produced in Australia. Some $50 million was sunk into making the ground-breaking 40's era detective thriller game, placing it in the 8th position of the top ten most expensive games ever produced from a 2010 list compiled by Digitalbattle.com. It surpassed the huge production values of Killzone 2 ($45 million) and Final Fantasy XII ($48 million), and was listed just behind Halo3 ($55 million) and Metal Gear Solid 4 ($55 million).
The seeds of doubt on L.A Noire were planted when it began to suffer numerous delays. It slipped from an expected release in 2008 to 2009, and while Team Bondi had revealed very little in the way of media or any information about L.A Noire, popular gaming website, Destructoid, went so far as to claim the title as "the new Duke Nukem", suggesting it was nothing more than vapourware. From Destructoid...
There are a few great signs that something is actually vaporware. The most prominent sign is usually a game never actually having a release date, but always being hinted at as being released sometime within the next year. That's one check for L.A. Noire...
It isn't proof that a game exists and thus, and I know this is a bold move, I declare L.A. Noire the new Duke Nukem.
L.A Noire was then pushed back again from a 2010 release to 2011, and it sparked some heated discussions where many expressed doubt and concern in our own news section including those from ex Team Bondi developers on various aspects of L.A Noire's development. It marked a frustrating discussion low point on tsumea, and it was enough to push local games developer, Morgan Jaffit, to post a response on his own blog to some of the negativity around L.A Noire...
(Jaffit) What I don't understand is why everyone in Australia seems to be wishing for their failure, when with the limited knowledge we have to hand we could as easily anticipate success.
Jaffit will undoubtedly feel vindicated this week as the review embargo on L.A Noire has finally been lifted today, and game critics who were supplied a review copy of the game last week are now able to publish their thoughts on what has been the most highly anticipated game of the last few months. While the game does have some minor faults, it's been enjoying an overwhelmingly positive response from games critics everywhere. Of the 23 reviews that has been accumulated so far on Metacritic, it is averaging a score of 91 out of a hundred, ranging from 80 to the maxiumum of 100.
First to break the review embargo was the Guardian, giving L.A Noire a score of 5 out of 5 stars last Friday...
(Steve Boxer) Ambitious, daring and utterly compelling, LA Noire blurs the line between gaming and cinematic entertainment
5/5 - Giantbomb
L.A. Noire is a bold release, because it defies the expectations not just for the type of game Rockstar usually releases, but also for the type of game that receives this degree of care and proficiency in its execution. The world already has enough open-world action games, but a game which marries that open world to such a methodical style of gameplay, with a budget this big, is a rare thing indeed.
10/10 - Total Video Games
A defining moment in video games on this generation, and more than just because of its use of MotionScan technology. The free-roaming genre has become a little stale in recent years, yet LA Noire manages to inject a renewed sense of vigour to the scene and capably demonstrates that video games don't have to be just about your trigger skills.
Rated A - 1up
Team Bondi has gone to great lengths to wrap you up in the game's story, and from my experience they've succeeded. I investigated these crimes. I apprehended the suspects. I pieced together all the clues. L.A. Noire had me more involved in its first thirty minutes than some other games do in their entirety, and that makes this a game you may regret passing on. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon -- and for the rest of your gaming life.
10/10 - Videogamer.com
There's something entrancing about the way this game plunges you into the violence, the corruption, and the sadness of post-war Los Angeles. Each of the four major desks has a remarkably different tone, and while the slow reveal of Phelps himself is the major narrative thread, it's equally true to say the dark heart of the city itself is an equally important protagonist. As you stoop to inspect the naked body of a mutilated young woman, as you shakedown a gambling racket in a dusky backroom, as you pick through the skeletal cinders of a burnt-out building… as you do these things, you'll silently admit the truth: you don't want to stop the bleakness, you want to revel in it.
And what about Desctructoid which had claimed L.A Noire as vapourware? Well, they gave it a score of 9.0 (Superb)...
L.A. Noire is a testament to the possibility of bringing dark, adult, mature games to the mainstream market. When I say mature, I don't just mean that it throws in sex and violence under the pretense of being for grown-ups. It is truly mature, with the kind of narrative you'd only expect to see in a major TV drama series or crime movie. No game released this generation has tackled the subject matter found in L.A. Noire with the same degree of intelligence and respect, and no game has blended gameplay from various genres so seamlessly, in a way that delivers something far more unique in experience than the sum of its parts.