Wednesday, February 9, 2011

L.A. Noire

WOW! Let me begin by saying, every time a game is touted as having ground breaking graphics approaching reality, I typically find myself let down by the end product. This idea that game technology is approaching what the vfx/animation world is doing is always a bit laughable to me. While games are progressing so are vfx and animation. And while I have seen impressive games before, the statement of its achievement is always accompanied by, "For a game." While L.A. Noire still looks like a game, there is some technology in it that is incredible and requires no "for a game" excuse. The facial expression captured in the cinematics rivals even avatar and surpasses Tron's C.L.U. and that is saying something. While the rest of it looks like a computer game it is impressive for a computer game. Great game lighting, environments, animation. But the facial expressions... amazing! I will extend that even to the character animation in the cinematics as well. Typically they contain the less than life tells of motion capture, always feeling floaty and ungrounded. L.A. Noire however everything feels anchored, has weight and the best part... can I say it again... amazing facial expressions! This is the new standard for facial capture, period, no genre card attached.

While the game is obviously violent and fairly graphic (usually a deterrent for my consideration of purchasing a game title), I find myself extremely excited to participate in game play to see just how far they took it. The idea that the game play is about problem solving and deduction in a way that is virtually never present in an action/shooter game is amazing. The environments and game play look amazing. I must say, thus far I am impressed.