As L.A. Noire’s May 17th release date draws closer, Rockstar has released a much awaited gameplay video explaining some of the game’s features, just like they did with Red Dead Redemption. This preview is based on that very same video where we break down the facts and offer our opinion on the matter.
Unlike Rockstar’s GTA series, where open ended gameplay has been the focal point, L.A. Noire will be a tad more linear concentrating on detective work rather than random violence and over-the-top shenanigans. As Cole Phelps, a World War II veteran and beat cop in the L.A.P.D. (Los Angeles Police Department), players will rise through the ranks solving various cases – based on real world ones – that will apparently reflect the violence of that era.
Smile for the birdie
Cracking a case in L.A. Noire will be broken up into a bunch of systematic steps. Upon arriving at the crime scene, players will first have to examine it with a fine tooth comb, looking for clues that could provide a valuable insight on the crime, perpetrator or victim. After this you may have to tail certain key witness to verify their alibi. And finally you confront the perp via the game’s much touted interrogation system. While I have no problem with this structure, I only hope every case doesn't boil down to completing said mechanics over and over again or we could be looking at another Assassin’s Creed.
But of course Assassin’s Creed never employed Motion Scan, a revolutionary facial animation technique that allows developer Team Bondi to project emotions in a highly realistic manner. Upon asking a perp or a witness certain preset questions, players will then have to gauge their facial animations and decide whether they’re guilty or innocent. Gauging reactions will be an integral part of the game and player’s decisions could either make or break a case. Making a case will progress the narrative forward but what if players somehow screw up a case. Will they get suspended for a while? Will they be demoted? Or will that case be gone for good? Either way we hope the game penalizes players in a unique way instead of slapping them with the clichéd Retry option.
Combat in L.A. Noire looks like a blend of Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto IV. While zooming in, the camera pans in over the shoulder so you can line up that perfect headshot. In the presence of cover, players will be able to shield themselves from bullets like they would in the above mentioned games. From certain shootouts in the game, it seems environmental destruction has been amped up a notch as well. Hand to hand combat, something that was rather horrible in GTA IV, looks like it’s been reworked as well.
So are you gonna get me a coke or what?
Like all Rockstar games, the city of Angels where the game takes pace has been created “meticulously” from the ground up. Of course, since the game takes place in the forties, it will reflect that era's style. Besides the architecture, this will be evident through the game’s vehicles and clothes. Speaking of clothes, Cole seems to have changed his outfit quite a few times during the trailer but they all looked like presets. This once again points towards Rockstar’s mantra for this game that LA Noire is not GTA in the forties.
I can see you
From the little we’ve seen so far L.A. Noire looks mighty impressive. It may end up being light on the action but allowing players to step into the boots of a detective may prove to be an interesting diversion. And for those craving another open world fix, there’s always GTA V.