LA Noire: An eyes-on preview of Rockstar's detective-thriller

On the case

Rather thanburst onto a crime scene and unleash fury with a variety of machine guns, L.A. Noire is more methodical.You roll up to the location and carefully comb around for clues and questionwitnesses to ultimately find out whodid the evil deed. Themission we're walked through concerns a Hollywood actress, June Ballard and a15 year old girl named Jessica Hamilton who've been drugged and driven off a cliff. Ouch.

Above: Spin items with the right stick until you hit the sweet-spot(read: rumble) to uncover potential evidence

It all starts ina police precinct with Phelps and Bekowskybeing assigned to a case that brilliantly is just across the street.Outside you can see the painstaking detail that Team Bondi have gone too to create a classicLA LA Land. It all looks beautiful and small touches, likea group of passers-by who stop togather and point at the crime scene, really add to the atmosphere.

There's a car that's crashed into the backside of a giant billboard. Sadly, for the occupants of the vehicle, it's over a cliff and there's blood everywhere. The cordoned off area is buzzing with police presence, each oneuniquely portrayed by a different actor with different lines of dialogue. Phelps and Bekowskyspeak witha beat cop who informs them that both Jessica and June survived the crash - June is dazed in the back of an ambulance and Jessica is in hospital.They head down to thecrime scene to look for clues.

Thankfully, the evidence has already been gathered and lie neatly on the boot of the smashed vehicle.You can pick each one up to check it for clues - some willyield helpfultips, others will be red herrings.Here there's a small shrunken head ornament and disturbingly, a pair of knickers that have been ripped in half. This marks another unique twist for L.A. Noire,the stories can be dark like the night. This one in particular involves the potential drugging and rape of a 15 year old girl.

Above: You'll often find reporters and photographers at the scene of the crime

After checkingin and around the car Phelps andhis buddy headup the cliffside toquestionJune Ballard.Astheinterrogation begins,thedialogue is noticeably fluidbetween the characters and because it's all in-game visuals beingused it never feels like a jolt into 'game' mode.June is beingcagey andslightly flirty with Detective Phelps, buthe quickly rebuffs any come-ons.

If you've seen Lie To Me or ever hada compulsive liar of a friend then you'll be familiar with looking for facial characteristics that meanthey're talking BS, it's the samein L.A. Noire. Tiny nuances in expressionslead you to select one offour options while interrogating - Believe/Coax,Doubt/Force, Disbelieve/Accuseor produce evidence.One false move could see you end a line of questioning and therefore make your case harder to solve.

For example, June Ballard gets the short shrift from Phelps because she's an older lady who's seemingly a bit ofa bitch.Jessica Hamilton on the other hand is advisedto be handled with kid's gloves as she's aminor and been through a rough time. It all feels organicto your life as detective and rewards your sleuthing skills.

From a letter found in the car, it's clear that Jessica is a runaway and is living with her auntie, who just so happens to be June Ballard.Turns out Mrs Ballard tookher niece to a casting where they were both drugged and Jessica wassexuallyassaulted. Gritty, eh?

Above: All the vehicles are fully licensed and you can even get your buddy to drive if you can't be bothered

Nathan Irvine
Hi, I’m Nathan. You may remember me from such websites as, erm, this one circa 2011. Been hustling in games for over a decade and write for Official PlayStation, Official Xbox, Gamesmaster and more.