L.A. Noire

By canana, Posted 10 Mar 2011

In whom do you trust?

Developer: Team Bondi
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release Date: May 17, 2011
Platform(s): PS3, X360
Genre: Adventure


Rockstar Games has built a solid reputation with titles and stories worthy of lavish Hollywood productions, packed with charismatic characters and suitable gameplay to explore quirky scenarios in open world games. With titles like Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption in their track record, it is natural that players expect big studio productions out of the renowned publisher. The company has just revealed new details of its next blockbuster, L.A. Noire. The game takes place in Los Angeles in the year 1947. The game was built thinking carefully about all the features of that era, with the streets, cars and all the characters’ costumes are from the '40s era.


You are Cole Phelps, a cop who wants to clean the streets, solving crimes. The problem is that in the midst of it all this, the city of Los Angeles is completely taken by corruption. The game involves a series of investigations, from drug traffic to homicides. Crime scenes of the game are completely natural. The facial capture technology used to make the game is completely new and offers great realism to the table. Each facial movement was done and captured by actors to add more realism to the characters. This alone yielded 200 terabytes of material. All this is crucial for you to continue the story; you can sort of look at it as a game of poker, and the look of each character will determine if they are speaking the truth. As the detective, you need to investigate each of the suspects and piece together the clues to solve cases.


Cole begins the game as a patrol officer, though his reputation will ensure rapid promotion within the department. This, however, does not mean you will not have to work just because you deserve such professional advancement. In truth, the whole early part of the game acts as a tutorial, ranging from foot patrol into the early investigations as a detective. The first, more demanding charge is playing as an investigator of the traffic division. When investigating what appears to be a simple car crash, it's just the start of a great story involving corruption in Hollywood, rape and pornography. The inspiration in films like Chinatown, Blue Velvet and others is evident, and helps to create the somber tone and moral ambiguity that covers all characters in the game's plot.


Each ranking has a stack of cases that must be solved so that you can earn a new promotion. By the way, all crimes that appear on L.A. Noire are real-life cases filed by the police department of Los Angeles back in 1940. But the most interesting fact is that the gameplay itself is - at its core - a good old point n 'click adventure. It is true that Rockstar can infuse a unique style and the dynamics is indeed different, however, the base is the same. Investigations begin with a visit to the crime scene, where you should look for clues, where you looked for anything significant and interesting details and then combine and analyze all the elements to reach a conclusion.


But the special Rockstar touch – which has already shown its effectiveness by allowing the player to raid the area freely – is seeking any information or evidence that is relevant to the case. Within the research mode, a song will be playing until you find all the clues that are really important. However, you actually don't need to find all the elements at the crime scene. The more information you have, the easier it is to create a list of suspects and actually solve the case. To help you analyze, you will have subtle variations in the music itself, indicating when you are nearing something important. If things are too difficult, your partner may also join in the fun.

After an analysis of the clues, you can draw up a list of the main suspects and L.A. Noire is there that shows all its cards. The new scanning technology captures the facial movements of the face of the actors who dub the characters, creating "avatars" that are incredibly realistic and gives an unprecedented degree of immersion. In fact, the technology is so efficient that there is no correction or animated models. That is, all the characters - that interact with the protagonist - are actors. So, if you talk to a man who just take a beating and is covered in bruises, the actor had to be prepared with make up before entering the capture of images. The system serves to make everything more beautiful and engaging. The ability to convey every part of the face is a key element of the gameplay presented in L.A. Noire. 

When you're questioning a suspect or simply talking to a victim, how he/she behaves, their gestures, the eyes movements, eyebrows and even the flutter of the lips and voice changes can be interpreted as clues. You will have to be aware of all these details about who is telling the truth and who is trying to hide something from the police. The interrogation happens with questions developed based on evidence analysis collected at the crime scene and in other interrogations. It is unclear how the dialogue will unfold or even if the questions will have some influence on responses. What is certain though, is their ability to manipulate the truth, which will be essential for the resolution of cases.


After each answer, you have three options: believe, doubt or confront the speaker, accusing him/her of lying. The dynamic is great and works as follows: if you believe that someone knows more than you're talking about, just select the doubt option at the end of the answer. If you doubt the suspect, you push the interrogator for more information and to really interpret correctly the use of body language of the person he will give more details - which can lead to new questions, new suspects or clarification. However, choose the wrong person and they may refuse to cooperate, which certainly will cost you valuable data about the individual case. Also, if you accuse someone of lying, that alone will not enough; you have to show evidence to actually support your argument.

There is no denying the fact that collecting evidence and interrogating suspects make up the main essence of the gameplay, but L.A. Noire will also have a lot of action sequences. How could it be different in a Rockstar game, which will undeniably feature the car chase scenes and shootouts in GTA's style? The similarities with Grand Theft Auto are apparent, plus with some innovations. First, the damage is automatically regenerated. In addition, the game also features quick time events. At certain times, you can press the button to kick a door, jump through a window and so on. L.A. Noire is another great production from Rockstar, and as such is promising to be one of the biggest releases of 2011. The game arrives in stores May 17 for both the PS3 and X360.

Marco Cecilio, NoobFeed

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  • Watching that video... those facial animations are astounding. I just got really excited about this game.

    Posted Mar 10, 2011

  • I've never really been super excited about any of Rockstar's games, but this one looks pretty interesting.

    Posted Mar 10, 2011

  • Very excited about this release.

    I love how the facial models actually had to act, rather than just provide their voice acting. Even their hair had to be 1940's era-styled for the visual capture, along with the make up.

    Also, Cole Phelps' actor is actually from the television show Mad Men, in case you thought he looked familiar. There's a few recognisable actors.

    Great preview, canana! :)

    Posted Mar 10, 2011

  • It's heartbreaking knowing that there won't be any PC version.

    Posted Mar 10, 2011

  • @Sleven I thought the same thing. There might be one eventually as the GTAs made it there, but then again, Red Dead Redemption didn't. bummer.

    Posted Mar 10, 2011

  • @Buckley : I even prayed for the RDR to come on PC. But Rock Star had to disappoint :( So I can't be too hopeful for this one.

    Posted Mar 10, 2011

  • I sooooo want this game!

    Posted Mar 10, 2011

  • Why so many awesome games coming out in 2011. I am running out of money!! Bloody hell!!!

    Posted Mar 11, 2011

  • @Koshai Right?? Expensive Year!

    Posted Mar 11, 2011

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