First Look: L.A. Noire

When you get an email from Rockstar, it pays to read the email carefully and not jump to conclusions.  I just assumed that yesterdays show and tell for L.A. Noire was going to be a hands on affair, just like Red Dead Redemption was.  Of course the email had clearly stated this was going to be a hands off demo.After my initial disappointment of discovering I was not going to be handed the controller, I sat back to enjoy my first real experience with the world of L.A. Noire.  Our host would be taking us through a single mission – or case as is the, um, case with Noire – which starts out with the games main character going to investigate what is initially a traffic incident but turns out to be attempted murder.

Of course to get from traffic incident to attempted murder is the tricky part, and it’s what makes Noire the game it is.

Now before I go into too much detail about the game, I should mention that Rockstar stressed that this was an early build of the game and that the graphics were no where near the polished state that they would be when the game gets released later this year.Now whilst I could see a graphical difference between the screenshots I’ve been seeing recently and the gameplay that Rockstar showed us, graphically this early build was amazing.  THis is all the more amazing when you realise that Rockstar have faithfully recreated 8 square miles of 1947 Los Angels.If driving round a historically accurate LA isn’t enough for you – and why should it be – the main piece of new tech in Noire is MotionScan, Noire’s ace up the sleeve allows for subtle facial animations that give you visual clues when interrogating POI’s – that’s persons of interest – so you can make a snap judgement as to how honest they are being with you.It’s not just the facial expressions however that will drive your case.  You’ll have to hunt down the evidence and follow leads, keeping track of everything in your notebook and remember the little details you’ve picked up to help coerce the truth out of people.That’s right, L.A. Noire is a video game where you have to concentrate and use your brain.  But before you all make snap judgments, this is a Rockstar game so each case will involved a variety of police work, including some very GTA style sub missions, such as tailing the bad guys and a shoot-out at an abandoned movie set.  The hour and a half demo even included a hint as to some achievement whoring opportunities.Another thing hinted at during the demo is the Red Dead Redemption style random encounters – our host was driving over to speak to another POI when the police radio came to life, asking for back up at a armed bank robbery that was going down.  Even though our host ignored the call, it added another interesting dynamic to the game.One case doesn’t make the game, nor does it really illustrate the stroyline, but we’re told that the main character – Cole Phelps – is a decorated World War II vet who is being fats tracked though the LAPD.  But it’s up to you just how far Phelps gets up the ladder.  Successfully solving cases is how Phelps will gain promotions, so unless you’re paying close attention, you’ll be staying a police rookie for some time.Whilst on the surface, Noire might not look as action packed as Red Dead Redemption, it is looking like a solid gaming experience that will consume your life for some time.  It’s certainly got a new depth of gameplay, and with the action elements thrown in to spice it up, you’re not going to get bored.

It’s a bit early to say, but L.A. Noire is shaping up to be one of the best releases of the year.

Last modified on Friday, 21 January 2011 18:22

You may also like...