L.A. Noire: Hands-on with Rockstar's super sleuth 'em-up

This is our first attempt at questioning an individual. The transition to suddenly interrogating someone is very slick and soon Phelps and Galloway are ready to begin. Ms Lapenti is the landlady of the house and we're hoping she can help with our enquiries. After the Ms. Lapenti finishes her chatter, a set of three options appear - Truth, Doubt and Lie. This is where that MotionScan comes into its own. You've all seen those signs of lying - whether it's a mate who giggles when you inquire whether he's just farted or asking your partner if they know why your favourite white t-shirt is now a pale pink after a washing mishap - the signals are all here in the characters faces and Ms Lapenti looks a little worried here. 

We press Doubt when she says she doesn't know where Antonia was on the night of her death. She soon 'fesses up that she might have been at the El Dorado Bar. Ms Lapenti doesn't appear to be lying when she mentions that her awful husband, Angel, might have had something to do with it too, so we Believe her. But it's not always clear cut as we find out when we accuse her of lying about whether she knows more about the night of her death. Pah! So close to perfection. But at least we have enough evidence to follow a lead on the victim's husband.

Not-so super punch out

Above: We're really not sure that the fist fights work well in L.A. Noire. Only time will tell, we guess

As L.A. Noire allows branching storylines to be investigated when you like, you can either drive to the El Dorado Bar here or Angel Maldonado's house. We head to the suspects house, kick the door in and engage in a spot of fisticuffs. This is the sole part of L.A. Noire we're unsure about at present. Granted, we've only had one fight, but currently it feels like it breaks the rhythm of the plot and detective bits. Don't get us wrong, as Cole finishes off Angel and his brother it does feel meaty but we just hope these are kept to a minimum throughout the game.

Once we've cuffed Angel and his brother, another interrogation takes place (which we won't spoil, but let's just say Angel is surprised to find his wife has been off-ed) and Phelps and Galloway comb the apartment for evidence. There's a matchbox from the El Dorado Bar in there, a crate from the Just Picked Fruit, which is full of alcohol and, hold on, what's this? A shirt covered in blood. Case closed. Or so we think. We walk door to door in the apartment block asking the neighbours whether they heard anything the night of the murder and one nosy old woman confirms she saw Angel chase Antonia out of the building. It's not looking good for Mr Maldonado.

Above: We didn't get to do any shooting :( 

As we head over to the bar a call comes over the radio to tell us to head back to the station. Donnelly is there to tell us that the Black Dahlia murderer has sent another letter. It's a poem and adds more fuel to Phelp's hunch that it's one man killing these women and not a bunch of copycats that Galloway seems intent on believing. We head to the interrogation room to turn the screw on Angel.

Just as it seems we have our man, Angel confesses that he has indeed had a rough time with Antonia recently but he'd never kill her. The bloodied shirt? Mr Maldonado is adamant that the blood is of his brother who he punched the night Antonia was whacked. He also spills the beans on a fruit market owner, Clem Feeney, from the Just Picked Fruit company who had an eye for his murdered missus. All of this interrogation is played out with Intuition Points. This system is sort of like a 50/50 option in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire where one interrogation option is removed, which makes it easier to work out your line of questioning. You earn said points by increasing your rank by nailing a case 100% or finding all the evidence at a crime scene. At it's most basic, it helps idiots to solve a case, which we guess is a nice touch to include everyone.

The final chase

Cole and Galloway head to the El Dorado Bar where Antonia went that fateful night. The bartender explains that she was drunk and was yelling about how she was going to divorce her husband. The bartender also said how he advised Antonia to get a cab home and pointed her to the Just Picked Fruit market across the street, where she could call one from their phone.

In the market they meet Clem Feeney, the man who Angel said fancied his now murdered wife. He's uneasy about us snooping around - and with good reason. After booting open a locked door they poke around and find bottles of booze in crates, a bloodied scalpel and a jewellery box belonging to Mrs Maldonado. Clem legs it, hops into a car and a chase ensues.

Above: Chase sequences are a frantic affair as the perps try to throw you off by ducking down tight alleyways

It's a classic GTA-style chase across the city, with Galloway instructing you to get closer so he can shoot out the tyres of the escaping car. It doesn't last very long, because either a) the car slowed on purpose or b) we're instantly amazing at driving in L.A. Noire but we attempt a T-stop and manage to flip Clem's motor. He's put in cuffs, and sent off to the police station and that's where our demo ends.

The Rockstar PRs are then keen to explain that all may not be as it seems, which we're kind of thrilled about seeing as though Clem suddenly being the murderer felt too abrupt. What connection could he have with the murders, if he isn't the one doing them? Does he know who the Black Dahlia killer is? Why didn't he just ditch the incriminating evidence far from his store, the fool?

On the whole, L.A. Noire is a breath of fresh air in this FPS filled world, and finally getting to grips with the game has heightened our anticipation for the game even more. We're hoping that there will be enough variety throughout the story to keep things ticking along nicely, and that the game won't just devolve into talky bit, drivey bit, punchy bit, case closed formula too much. But for now, Team Bondi and Rockstar seem to be onto a winner with this crime-thriller.

March 1st 2011



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  • lovinmyps3 - March 3, 2011 5:35 a.m.

    I think this will be good. Can't wait for it to come out!
  • cougarmony123 - March 2, 2011 1:43 p.m.

    oh amazing , i love this ! . I am a lawer 32 years old, mature and beautiful , and single at present ..and now I am seeking a young man who can love me is the first and best club for Cougars and Young Men. So i uploaded my sexy photos there under the name of irishcutie23.. on ~~~~ Cougarmony.c om`````` Please Check it out!I'm serious
  • HarryBalls - March 2, 2011 10:19 a.m.

    did someone mention PUBIC HAIR?
  • CitizenWolfie - March 2, 2011 10:06 a.m.

    I've been waiting for LA Noire for ages. Wasn't it first announced when the PS3 came out? Anyway looks great, the preview sort of confirmed everything I'd hoped it would be. Especially loving how they are weaving in real crimes (like the Dahlia murder). Maybe they will have some real life mob figures in there too? Hopefully a public demo will be out soon to get the hype really going.
  • Revolution472 - March 2, 2011 5:19 a.m.

    wow...the very first screen of the dead lady looked horrible, as in horrible graphics
  • LTS - March 2, 2011 4:19 a.m.

    I remember Indigo Prophecy! That's the only detective work experience I have with video games. I'm gonna suck at this game unless there's an ice corpse
  • Ironarm - March 2, 2011 3:51 a.m.

    Cannot...wait....any....longer! This is going to be amazing!
  • Fiirestorm21 - March 2, 2011 2:31 a.m.

    Not a huge GTA fan, but I have high hopes for this one.
  • Yeager1122 - March 1, 2011 11:12 p.m.

    Sounds better and better each time you guys have a preview.
  • Cruddi - March 1, 2011 10:59 p.m.

    I worry about the games length, i'd like a good 12 hours plus for the first playthrough. Here's an other rockstar game i can add to belt... played 90% of rockstar games (even the uncut manhunt 2)
  • sublimelabs - March 1, 2011 10:21 p.m.

    @jackthemenace ...There are guns involved. Did you look at the screenshots in this article? Check the trailers and you see gunplay.
  • Risonhighmer - March 1, 2011 10:07 p.m.

    I just realized what the characters remind me of. I love that fact that they use full facial animation, and it's going to add a whole lot to the game, but it kind of makes the characters look like the guys in Sons of Butcher.
  • Crypto140 - March 1, 2011 9:13 p.m.

    I wonder if there is any difference between the PS3 version and the Xbox 360 version? Like doesn't the PS3 have Blu-Ray or something like that?
  • Mooshon - March 1, 2011 9:10 p.m.

    This is starting to sound like a real cracker. Been getting a bit weary of generic game mechanics of late. Good descriptions nathan.
  • santaclouse37 - March 1, 2011 8:50 p.m.

    @ nadrewod: That's some pretty optimistic thinking, but kudos on the research. I can not wait for this game. It seems my wallet's gonna be hurting for the next couple months. Excellently written preview, GR.
  • nadrewod - March 1, 2011 7:42 p.m.

    I think that you beat the chase that fast simply because the "T-stop" (or "PIT maneuver" as it is called here in the US) wasn't used that much in the 1940s (when this game takes place). In fact, it wasn't even popular until the 1970s, so the AI in this game is probably not designed to try and break out of a "T-stop" (that way, the driving feels authentic).
  • Balaska - March 1, 2011 7:01 p.m.

    If Rockstar get this right, this could lead to an end to are games art arguement, this has the potential to be as gripping as any film and as engrossing as any book.
  • fetalspray - March 1, 2011 6:45 p.m.

    Hmm wedding ring connotes that his family may be threatened at one point or another me thinks
  • jackthemenace - March 1, 2011 6:20 p.m.

    Sounds pretty damn slick, but no shooting? Forgive me for being a cliche, but i want at least a few guns in D: You can't have a clever, Game Noire GTA without shootouts!
  • Coolicle122 - March 1, 2011 6:17 p.m.

    This is gonna be good. I'm really excited to play a detective game thats actually gonna be good.(i'm looking at you CSI) I hope there is gonna be a playable demo sometime i hope.

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