Review Update: L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition (PC)

We previously reviewed L.A. Noire for the PlayStation 3, so now that Rockstar Games has released L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition for PC, we decided to give it another spin.

All the features remain pretty much the same, including the ability to connect to the Rockstar Games Social Club for added bonuses and polling the community over interrogation options. Being “The Complete Edition”, Rockstar Games has included all the current DLC extras, including cases and suits, into one single package. I gave a few familiar and unfamiliar cases a go, including the newer DLC traffic case, “The Consul’s Car”.

To jump straight to the point, your Windows-based computer needs a fair amount of performance for the game to be the least bit playable. Keep in mind that L.A. Noire is a souped-up crime-adventure game that plays flawlessly in high graphical detail on the PS3. The game was tested on the Boot Camp Windows partition on my 2.93GHz Intel Core Duo iMac and was deemed acceptable by the ever helpful “Can You Run It?” hardware scanner over at the System Requirements Lab website. Despite this, however, L.A. Noire ran pretty sluggishly and I was forced to tune down the settings to get the frame-per-seconds count up.

Unlike Uncharted 3, where physical motion is captured with the faces of the actors doing live acting at the same time, L.A. Noire uses MotionScan, which merely records facial expressions to fine detail. Having sluggish performance also initially hampered my ability to watch the facial expressions of suspects for hints of a liar’s eye. It causes the facial expressions of the characters to jerk and freeze much like the buffering of a live video feed, which is especially common when there is activity going on in the background.

Performance woes aside, I’d also say L.A. Noire was built more for consoles for the simple fact that your keyboard doesn’t vibrate, making you rely only on the audio cues when you walk over a clue to inspect. Having the mouse for aiming works well, though, so taking out armed enemies should not be a problem. PC gamers should have no issues with bashing their keyboards for L.A. Noire, but it didn’t take long for me to switch to a wired controller for more precise controls, especially while driving.

I enjoyed L.A. Noire on the PlayStation 3 and that fact hasn’t changed. Cole Phelps is still the irrational investigator he has always been. L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition is still a very good game to add to anyone’s adventure game collection, but it boils down to whether your PC is capable of handling the game’s demanding graphics. At time of writing, there exists no official demo version of the game, so Rockstar Games has left PC gamers on their own, although PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of The Complete Edition are also available for those unwilling to push their computers to the limit.

For my review of the original base L.A. Noire game on the PlayStation 3, with details on gameplay and performance, click here.

L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition is the update to the Rockstar Games title, L.A. Noire. Also available for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. Tested on a 2.93GHz Early 2009 iMac running Windows XP. Screenshots from actual gameplay. Graphics settings tuned for “Performance”.