The brilliant world of L.A. Noire shaped an entire generation of gamers all around the world. The graphics and design efforts that went into creating the facial movements of characters alone, was epoch-making in its time. But a whole decade went by since its release, and games have gotten more and more evolved throughout the years.
And while nothing can bring back the feeling of playing with the good old L.A. Noire, some games get considerably close to it. Games navigated by making choices, and games revolving around crimes and detective work are highly sought-after, and Noire fans everywhere are trying to find the next best thing. Perhaps one of the games below will fill the void and offer a new obsession for those missing the murder, arson, scotch, and crime-filled fifties.
Updated August 31st, 2022 by Russ Boswell: There have been a ton of great detective-style games that have hit the market since the release of L.A. Noire but it’s been hard to replicate the unique and visceral feeling of the unique Rockstar cult classic. Players will be hard-pressed to snag a game that evokes the exact same feelings but there are some out there that offer up a unique story-driven experience while simultaneously tying in aspects of detective work and the gritty crime of the 50s. Here’s a look at even more games like L.A. Noire.
10 Max Payne
PS2, Xbox, Mac, PC, Game Boy Advance, iOS, Android
Although Max Payne has developed into its own action-packed series, the original games were actually pretty dark and L.A Noire-like in terms of their narrative. Players were able to explore Max’s damaged psyche while simultaneously dealing with criminals and other semi-supernatural and psychological dangers. The real bread-and-butter for the Max Payne games is the inclusion of “Bullet Time,” which slows down projectiles and allows Max to expertly dodge on the battlefield. That said, the story for Max Payne is actually quite engaging and dark, making it the perfect subject material for those craving something else story-driven.
9 Red Dead Redemption 2
PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia
Another Rockstar classic, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an expansive, beautiful, and heart-wrenching ride from start to finish. Although the game itself takes place in an earlier time period than L.A. Noire and the protagonist is much more cowboy than detective, it still deserves a nod thanks to its exciting story telling. There are some side missions (and even main missions) where players will be “solving mysteries and crimes” but the overall gameplay experience is much different than L.A. Noire’s. That said, the character design and interaction is where Red Dead Redemption 2 really shines, and players will find themselves wanting to interact with each character and learn all they can about them.
8 Mafia: Definitive Edition
PS4, Xbox One, PC
Although it’s a bit earlier than L.A. Noire in terms of the time period, Mafia: Definitive Edition is perhaps one of the closest games to the detective title in terms of “look and feel.” Featuring the same open-world explorative style, as well as a crime-ridden cityscape, Mafia is a blast for players that are seeking a similar aesthetic. An “old-school Grand Theft Auto,” Mafia puts players on the other side of the fence, giving them the means to experience life as a criminal, rather than a detective looking to clean up the streets. The Definitive Edition is a remake of the original and brings Mafia into the new age with beautifully updated graphics and gameplay.
7 The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter
: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a 2014 horror-adventure video game developed by The Astronauts. The game starts out by stating it will not be holding the player’s hand, therefore everything including the mechanics has to be explored while playing the game.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter takes place in an open-world environment, where players have to solve the deaths in the Carter family in order to piece together the story. The character is also equipped with paranormal abilities allowing him to recreate events (much like what is seen in Detroit: Becoming Human). The game also features some side-quest-like additional stories players can uncover on the way.
6 Murdered: Soul Suspect
: PS4, PS3, Android, PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Murdered: Soul Suspect surprisingly flew under the radar when it was released back in 2014. The game features a stubborn criminal-turned-detective in a dark and spooky town, and right at the beginning of the story, this faulty protagonist is shot and killed.
The story continues to follow the ghostly protagonist trying to solve his own murder. While the storyline is a bit scattered, the destination is worth it, as players can’t wait to get answers to all their questions. Overall, the game is a great experience for detective noir fans, and the story is well put together.
5 Detroit: Becoming Human
Detroit: Becoming Human is a highly complex game with underlying political, social, and even psychological elements embracing the incredibly well-written storyline. The reason it can be recommended for L.A. Noire fans is the crime aspect of the storyline. Like the hero of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the detective in Detroit can also recreate events helping him solve crimes.
Spiced with the amazing gameplay and plot, this is a perfect game for L.A. Noire fans who are craving more content and a mindblowing experience. The game runs on three storylines, each of them representing a different side of the story. One of these is played as a detective solving a series of crimes in fascinating and exciting ways.
4 Sherlock Holmes Chapter One
: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
When trying to find the best detective game out there, one name comes to mind: Sherlock Holmes. And there’s bound to be at least one Holmes game that encapsulates the meaning of being a good detective solving seemingly unsolvable crimes. So after sailing through the L.A. Noire cases with 5 stars, and binge-watching Sherlock on Netflix, hop on over to the Sherlock Holmes game franchise.
The Sherlock Holmes game series developed by Frogwares consists of 12 games in total, one of which was released in November of 2021. While it’s an incredible journey going through all of the classically-inspired Sherlock Holmes games, Chapter One is unique, as it’s the first in the series to be self-published by Frogwares. It’s also the first open-world game in the franchise, exploring the “origin story” of Sherlock Holmes as he investigates a mystery in his family’s home.
3 Heavy Rain
Heavy Rain is an interactive drama-action game, in which players control four different characters. Much like Detroit: Becoming Human, it revolves around a branching storyline, in which each character may die depending on the player’s decision-making.
The script is incredibly well-written, and the plot is super satisfying. It’s also one of the few games in which the player’s decisions actually matter in the bigger picture. The gameplay is smooth, and somewhat challenging (in the best way possible), and the underlying story of the serial murderer called the “Origami Killer” is very enticing.
: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Backbone is an homage to games like L.A. Noire and Disco Elysium. Ever since the first trailer for the game launched, fans of the aforementioned games have been eagerly waiting for the chance to experience this unique world firsthand. Just like the most successful detective game, Backbone features a less-than-perfect, broken protagonist.
The game kickstarts with a murder, a mystery to be solved, and throughout the gameplay, players must also recover the protagonist’s past and other side stories in dystopian Vancouver. The gameplay is smooth, the plot is incredibly well-written, and the characters are very colorful. For fans of L.A. Noire, possibly the best game to dive into.
1 Disco Elysium
: PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
The almost too realistic nature of human nature shines through in this dark, somewhat abstract game. In a world where people must be careful how they balance their job, their life, and even various drugs on the market, Disco Elysium paints a realistic picture of a faulty hero, much like the fan-favorite detective in Detroit: Becoming Human.
The game follows a tragic protagonist, a drunk, and seemingly pathetic detective. Players gain a deeper connection with the anti-hero of the plot by navigating through the harsh environment of the game. Since its release in 2019, Disco Elysium has become a great hit. Fans praise the game for its beautiful soundtrack, innovative gameplay, and amazing storyline.