It’s that time of year again. E3 is coming and the hype train is beginning to hiss. In preparation for this year’s maelstrom of new video game delights, which starts on June the 15th, we’re running a twice-weekly series of features highlighting the big hitters you’ll want to keep an eye on at the show.
Some you’ll know, some you won’t, but all will require your complete and undivided attention. So tune in to GamesRadar every Wednesday and Saturday, and have that attention primed and ready.
Today, we’re looking at Rockstar's PS3 and 360 urban detective drama, LA Noire.
Why LA Noire is one to watch
- Most games involve *making* dead bodies. But the emphasis in LA Noire is - in your role as detective Cole Phelps - tidying them up. This is a concept we're familiar with in TV, book and film, but not so much in games. And that makes it unique and, consequently, most definitely 'one to watch'.
- Developer Team Bondi has gone to extreme lengths to recreate the most authentic 1940s LA experience possible. The city itself is a near street-for-street approximation based on maps from the 40s and many of the cases Phelps works on take their inspiration from actual police records. Vehicles, thankfully, look the part, but are more fun to drive. That is, they go faster than they really should do.
- The facial recognition technology used by Team Bondi is, by all accounts, something amazing. So amazing that it's actually possible to tell if a witness or suspect is lying simply by reading the emotion and expression on their face. Whether or not you trust that person will influence your line of questioning.
- LA Noire is absolutely *not* Grand Theft Auto in olden times. However, it does have a few things in common with Rockstar's mega-series. There are going to be stacks of characters - each time Phelps is promoted, he gets a new partner. And, like Liberty City, LA Noire's metropolis will be in a constant state of flux. When driving around, Phelps may spot a car-jacking or robbery being committed and he'll also be able to pick up calls through the police radio.
- Phoenix Wright is the closest we've come to being a virtual detective. So the chance to examine crime-scenes, interrogate suspects and gather evidence in a huge open-world 1940s LA is unbelievably appealing.
- While sleuthing dictates LA Noire will be more cerebral than the average video game, Team Bondi has been mindful to ensure gamers with a healthy appetite for action will not feel short changed. As a case reaches its conclusion, the action quotient gets turned up. Expect car chases, shootouts and fisticuffs when Phelps makes his move on prime suspects.
- LA Noire is going have an immense branching storyline. The game's script weighs in at around the 22,000 page mark. Which, according to the developer, is the equivalent of 12 feature films. It has an episodic structure, but with an overarching thread that follows Phelps as he rises through the ranks from beat officer to homicide.
Criminal investigation has never looked so freekin' exciting. Are you concurring or objectioning with this opinion of LA Noire? Tell us. And while you're at it, why not share with us the games you're most excited about seeing at E3 2010. Let us know in the comments, or through our exciting social networking portals on Facebook and Twitter.
April 28, 2010