Previews// L.A. Noire

Posted 1 Mar 2011 17:00 by
Games: L.A. Noire
As I explored the alleyway, I noticed a piece of jewellery hanging off of a dumpster, one half of an identity card and a blood trail which, after following it up some buildings and over rooftops, led me to the second half of the same card. It contains the address of the victim - Antonia Maldonado - so the obvious next step was to visit her apartment and talk to her landlady Ms. Lapenti.

Chatting to Ms. Lapenti ultimately led me to investigate one of two places - the bar that Antonia was last seen in before she was driven away to the crime scene, or the apartment of her soon-to-be estranged husband Angel. Along the way you realise the importance of the notebook you carry around - not only does it contain the clues you spotted (and you might not get them all before you move on) but it also holds locations to set as destinations and allows you to use Intuition Points to help you along if you?re struggling on a case.

First, the clues. These come in handy when in conversation - both with Ms. Lapenti, the barman at El Dorado and Angel (after engaging in fisticuffs with him in his apartment) - because you might need to refer to them if you suspect that witness is lying. How can you do that? By watching them - the rather immaculate motion capture technology used in L.A. Noire means that all you have to do is listen to the dialogue and notice the body language to see if something?s up in their statement.

After each question (there are usually four per interrogation) you have the choice of believing them, doubting them or using evidence to force a confession. And man, does it feel good to call these arseholes out on things. Oh, you don?t know anything about a divorce between you and your wife, eh? What about these divorce papers we found in Antonia?s room that you signed off on? BOOM. Have it. Satisfaction guaranteed.

If you suspect something is wrong in an interrogation but you have no evidence, casting doubt might work just as well. Otherwise, use an Intuition Point - these things rack up as you level up and progress through the game. The better you do, the higher your rank and the more Intuition Points you can use. Essentially, there are no real difficulty levels in L.A. Noire - the game is as hard as the developers intended, and these collectable points can be used to offer a helping hand if need be.

One use I found was in an interrogation, where some clues I could use for evidence in detecting a lie were crossed off, meaning they were the wrong items to present. They can also be used to identify all clues in a crime scene. It?s a brilliant, optional way of breaking down the traditional set of difficulty levels, which I?ll be honest bore the hell out of me really. No, I don?t want to complete the game on Hard only to do it again on Ultra-Mega Hard. Go away.

All in all though, L.A. Noire is shaping up to be more than a ?reversed, non-open world GTA.? Much more. The style is undeniably classy and noir, the slower pacing makes for a very different gameplay feel and the multi-layered story elements in between each case promise some real food for thought.

The Silk Stocking Murder, for example, resulted in Phelps being led to a fruit market and discovering key evidence in the store room - a bloody knife, Antonia?s jewellery, cases of wine sent to Angel? sort of indefensible stuff really. The proprietor of the market was taken in, but several questions are left unanswered - like the suspect?s lack of connection to the Black Dahlia and the curious nature of him leaving evidence so close. Makes you wonder if the wrong guy has been set up... I know I can?t wait to find out more - May can?t come soon enough.
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Games: L.A. Noire

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