L.A. Noire review for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: Xbox One, PS4
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar Games
Medium: Cart/Disc/Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

It?s been quite some time since I played L.A. Noire when it first released six years ago. With everyone on the re-release/remaster bandwagon, it’s no surprise to see more and more games come to current gen consoles. The real surprise though is seeing AAA titles like L.A. Noire, DOOM and Skyrim come to the Nintendo Switch.

For as long as I can remember with having the ability to play games on the go, there was always a sacrifice when it came to the quality of portable games. This wasn’t limited to games being released for every imaginable platform, only have the portable versions be the worst versions. This included gimmicky devices like the Tiger handheld games — those were just hot garbage.

But I digress. The main reason I bring this up is because we are in a time where you can get quality home console type games to play on the go with minimal sacrifice in quality. L.A. Noire is the perfect example of that for me. Most of my time with the latest release of it was on the Nintendo Switch due to my daily work commute to the city, which really worked out. However, I will be speaking about both the Switch version and the Xbox One/Xbox One X version here.

Man, did it feel good to drive around 1940s Los Angeles again solving crimes, chasing criminals and interrogating the hell out of anyone I had the chance to. For one, Rockstar knocked it out of the part with choosing this game to be the first of hopefully more last gen titles to getting the reworked treatment. L.A. Noire was one of my favorite titles for the Xbox 360 because I felt it was way ahead of its time with extraordinary Motionscan technology, that to this day can still beat out questionable tech that comes out of other AAA studios. (No, I won?t go there.) On top of that, we were given this gritty and realistic city to explore with a wide variety of characters and a story that keeps you wanting more.

The original release landed mostly favorable reviews and did well on the market, but I feel there are a lot of gamers that missed out on this classic and now is the time to jump in. Sometimes, it?s a breath of fresh air to play what can be considered a slower-paced crime/thriller simulator of sorts after spending many hours playing action RPGs, FPSs and other high energy genres.

Honestly, this is one of the few cases, where it could?ve been released as is and I believe it would still hold up on the current gen consoles. There was just so much substance to the core of the gameplay, with investigating crime scenes, answering dispatch calls in between cases or just exploring the town. But, that?s not the case with Rockstar and they made sure to include some appropriate additions for each respective release.

The most notable improvement to the game is the Dialog System change to your interrogation choices. The original gave you the options to choose from during these sequences. Cole need to determine if the person was telling the “Truth”, if you had “Doubt” which required evidence to prove your case or you could choose “Lie” if you didn?t have proof but didn?t believe them.

This became the core component that defines the type of cop Cole becomes. This was a challenge to get right in several cases because it?s hard to read Cole to see how he may emotionally react based on these choices. With the remaster, these choices were changed to give a better guidance to how Cole will react to each person he interrogates. The new dialog options are now  “Good Cop”, “Bad Cop” and “Accuse”. For the most part, these helped me guide Cole to be a better cop and welcome this change. This will be a mixed bag for veteran gamers based on their previous experience. The change is in all versions of the game..

On the Nintendo Switch, touch based controls and Joy-Con support which give you more accessibility on the go, even though in my case, I didn?t care for either use. With the touch screen, you can pinch to zoom, go through Cole?s notebook and tap on areas of interest. I think gamers that already actively use these components on the Switch would enjoy the additions. The Joy-Con support, is more on the lines of gesture based camera movement and aiming, but you can also use them when brawling. Outside of these new additions, the game includes all the previously released DLC included with some new outfits and collectables.

The Xbox One version is where you really see the improvements for obvious reasons. I was also playing on an Xbox One X and took advantage of the 4K/HDR enhancements. The game already was fantastic looking, but now with the enhanced realism, everything is simply stunning. Out of everything in the game that I loved, the one thing that bothered me a bit was the characters faces.

The faces don?t seem to fit as well as they did before with everything being cleaned up now. It?s not a deal breaker as they still look amazing given how lifelike the mouths, eyes and overall emotions convey. However, the faces feel almost like they?re being taken from other assets and added to the bodies.

This is a minor gripe I have, as I?m sure there are reasons behind it. That?s only noticeable with the Xbox One/PS4 versions as the Nintendo Switch version has much less texture details for obvious reasons but still feels like a much-improved release of the original graphics.

The only other issue I had with the game was in handheld mode for the Switch. Using the Joy-Cons attached the Switch makes for an uncomfortable experience when driving and shooting. This is primarily due to the design of the Joy-Cons not being intended for games like this. Thankfully, when using them with the controller adapter in handheld or docked mode is an easy fix. The best solution if applicable is to use a Pro controller of course.

Overall, L.A. Noire is a solid release that gives me hope that if gamers support it, we may get some other Rockstar classics in the same vein. Can you image having games like the original Red Dead Redemption or GTAIV on the go?! I can!

Rockstar Games provided us with L.A. Noire physical copies for review purposes.

Grade: A