Game Review: L.A. Noire

L.A. Noire is an action-adventure role playing game where players take on the role of a detective to solve crimes in 1940s L.A.  The game play is a combination of action, and investigative work and embedded with a story.  The cinematic style of the period and a realistic portrayal of L.A. as a backdrop makes it feel like a movie production. The story revolves around Phelps, a police officer with a desire to be a leader and detective. The game periodically shows flashback of him serving as a marine, which I think was designed to spice up the character and to show a connection between the two roles.   The interaction of the game was a combination of story telling and player involvement in controlling the character to do police work such as driving to different locations to do investigative work and fighting criminals.

I found using a computer keyboard to be cumbersome and detracted from the game play. It would be better if developers could modify it for touch capability.  The game uses a lot of computer resources, and there were noticeable turtle-like sequences using an Intel Core i5 at 1.70 GHz with 4 MB of RAM and with all other applications turned off.

Overall the game has some good educational benefits to consider.  The fact that the game is easy to understand is useful when using it in an educational context.  It removes the time needed to get acquainted so that students can focus more on the different elements within the game.  Teachers will need to assess second language learners’ listening ability because much of the story revolves around the dialogue between characters.  In regard to learning activities, topics related to police work and investigation would be an obvious good choice.  Another would be the cinematic style during that era. This video provides interesting details on how this was created.  The game is long so activities planned for a set of scenes would be ideal.

Learning activities:

  1. Crime scene investigation; procedure; analyze crime data from the time period.
  2. Case study of actual crimes; analyze and categorize crime during that time.
  3. Cinematic style of the 19040s; prominent techniques; analyze how techniques are utilized in the game
  4. Play and reflect on experience; things meaningful; dislikes; utilize various media technology
  5. Play and discuss; experience, discoveries, dislikes
  6. Learn about L.A. cultural geography
  7. Model TOEFL writing and speaking activities

 

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