Game Playing : L.A. Noire

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Nick and I like to play games on our XBox. We don’t always go for the same types, with me preferring the adventure / scary / puzzle ones (Lara Croft, Silent Hill, Bio Shock) and he liking the strategic war ones (Gears of War, Modern Warfare) more than I do. But there have been many that we both equally like too, including the Elder Scroll series, Fallout and Invisible War. To fill you in if you don’t play electronic games, each takes hundreds of hours to play and usually involve a progression of levels as you gain experience. Some are linear in that you must proceed through the game one step after another, while others are open, where you can decide where you go and what quests you do at what time.

If a game was well received by the audience, follow-ups are usually developed, some continuing where the last one ended and some having the same premise as the first one(s) but varying in story line. This makes selecting a new one to play easier. We also like to follow the makers of the game, assuming if they made one that we really liked, other games they produce will also be excellent.

Not only do we find games to be a low-cost form of entertainment, we find them to be absolutely engaging, and really good for your brain and co-ordination. With the recently revealed information on brain function beginning to deteriorate as early as ones 40s (waahh), we want to keep our grey matter as exercised as possible!

We often get one another a game for birthdays and/or Christmas, and the person who received it as a gift gets to play it through first. We will occasionally watch one another play, but find that this ruins the surprise element for when we have a go at it ourselves, so in our home, game playing is usually a solitary pass time. And since we use our one and only television to play them on, this leaves the other with plenty of time to pursue other endeavors!

This Christmas I wanted to give Nick a game in his stocking (which is actually a bag not a sock but that’s beside the point) however I wasn’t sure which one he wanted most. There were three options that I thought he would like: two new ones in the war game category that he likes, or one called Skyrim in the Elder Scrolls series, a fantasy role playing game. So I gave him an ‘I Owe You’ so he could pick which one he really wanted. (I also want to play Skyrim but the choice was up to him!)

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So last week we took a walk over to our favourite game-store, EB Games at 425 Queen Street West (at Spadina), so he could pick out his gift. If possible we buy our games secondhand as this saves a bit of money but more importantly promotes recycling. With no prompting from me, Nick went for Skyrim (yay!). It is newly released so a used version wasn’t available yet, however he also picked out a used one for me to play, called L.A. Noire. (His gift and I get one too … sweet!)

When I found out it was an installment by the Canadian company, Rockstar Games, who put out the Grand Theft Auto games and Max Payne, which I found quite fun, I decided to start playing L.A. Noire right away. And it turns out that it is great!

The scenery, sets, characters and animations are mind-blowing. These photos are some screen shots I took of our tv as I played a bit this afternoon.

In a nutshell, you are a cop in 1940s Los Angeles and have the wardrobe and wonderful cars to go with the era. They used real actors to model the characters and they really and truly look like and have the mannerisms of who they are modeled after. The main character (who you play) is modeled after the actor who plays Kenny Cosgrove in Madmen, Aaron Staton. And I’m sure I was just talking to Natalie Portman yesterday, while she was a witness at the scene of an accident!

And the cars .. oh the cars. There are 95 models in all to try and so far I’ve only driven 13 of them, but they are so pretty and cool. Since Rockstar Games was at the forefront of creating games on a platform for computerized driving around a city map, they have perfected the driving experience and honestly you could just drive around and be happy with this game! Basically, you can just get into any car left standing without a driver (like in parking lots and such) which is how you find a new ride to drive. Today I took a spin in a Nash LaFayette Convertable! A fun little side-aspect is as you increase in rank throughout the game you find some rare hidden cars to drive too. I’ve only found one so far but it was neat. Whenever you get into your car the radio starts up and you hear a wide assortment of excellent music of the era, such as Gene Krupa’s Jungle Drums.

There are a series of main crimes you must solve in order to progress through the ranks of the police force, plus lots of little side quests like robberies and such to play. While we are playing it on the XBox, it is also available for Playstation and PC. All in all (obviously) I am highly recommending you give this game a try. It is quite fun!

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Here is a link to the site for L.A. Noire where you can read all about it and watch the excellent trailer. By the way, I forgot to mention that this is without doubt, adult entertainment. The murder scenes are quite gory and there is lots of swearing. As a result, if you visit the site, you will have to agree that you are of age in order to enter.

ps: Nick is really enjoying SkyRim too but I haven’t sneaked too many peeks in order to keep it fresh when I get my turn to play it.

Do you play electronic games? If so, which are your favourites?

Happy Monday to you … wishing you a great start to the week.
xo loulou

games
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