As exciting as a service like Onlive is for mobile gamers, its utility for more complex games is diminished somewhat by the limitation of translating a control scheme designed for a device with dozens of buttons and dual joysticks into a touchscreen experience. At least one of Onlive’s offerings is working around that: Rockstar’s 2011 hit LA Noir is getting touch-native controls on Android, granting a more friendly touch-based user interface that dynamically adjusts depending upon the game’s situation. This makes the Onlive version of LA Noir play more like a tablet game and less like a remote-controlled experience.
There’s only so much you can do to change up a complex game’s scheme – the standard virtual joystick and A-B-X-Y combo remains. But when dealing with in-game dialogue (a huge part of LA Noir, which is basically an RPG by way of Dasciell Hammitt) the interface will respond to individual touches, making the game much more intuitive on both smartphones and tablets. The Android version of this upgraded experience is available now, but iOS users will have to wait for Apple to finish their approval process. It’s a 30+ hour game and those Mac users aren’t really used to anything more complicated than Angry Birds, so it could take a while.
Those who’ve purchased the game already should see the updated interface the next time they log in to their OnLive account. At present LA Noir is the only game to take advantage of this customized control scheme, but more popular games should be added soon. We’re holding out for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. LA Noir costs $39.99 to purchase through Onlive’s service, which is free to access.