One game that hasn't been talked about too much is L.A. Noire
by Rockstar Games. The game is a detective story set in Los Angeles in the late 1940's. Game Informer
has featured the game as their cover story this month.
IGN recapped in one of their articles
L.A. Noire Revealed
Rockstar looks to raise the bar and change the way we view open-world games.
by Hilary Goldstein
February 6, 2010 - In the March 2010 issue of Game Informer (on stands this month), the first real details of L.A. Noire are revealed. Developed by Team Bondi (The Getaway), L.A. Noire is an open-world action-adventure game set in the City of Angels in 1947. Unlike previous Rockstar efforts, L.A. Noire exists in a real city, painstakingly recreated for historical accuracy. Don't expect the "shoot everyone" mentality of a Grand Theft Auto title -- this is something completely different.
You play as Cole Phelps, a beat cop looking to clean up the streets of L.A. It won't be easy, seeing as how the L.A. police force is mired in corruption from top to bottom. Phelps has his own issues to deal with, including some very bad things he did in World War II. Though he starts low on the totem pole, over the course of L.A. Noire Phelps progresses through a series of "desks" in the department, including traffic, vice and, ultimately, homicide.
As a detective, you have to solve cases through a mixture of investigations, interviews and interrogations. According to the article in GI, when you come across a scene, you won't find highlighted items sitting in obvious places. Crime scenes are said to look natural and require a deft eye to spot important clues. See a pair of glasses on the ground of a supposed murder scene and you can pick them up, noting details such as the brand etched on the inside of the frame. These little bits of information are jotted down on your notepad, which can be brought up at any time.
Things get a little more interesting in regards to the interview system. Team Bondi is using revolutionary technology that could change the way games are made. The new facial motion capturing system sets actors alone in a giant room with cameras all around. In full make-up, the actor delivers their dialogue. Every facial moment is recorded, from the most exaggerate of motions to the slightest twitch of an eye. The dialogue is recorded at this time as well, creating a seamless scene. All of this is then translated into a 3D game landscape with no animators needed. The result? According to GI, it's a picture-perfect rendering of the actor's scene. That's important to the gameplay.
When you interview someone, you'll need to watch their face and determine if they're lying. Like Mass Effect, your dialogue choices come from a handful of general options: coax, accuse or force. The way you handle an interview or interrogation is greatly determined by the reactions you get from the suspect. You can also refute testimony by selecting clues from your notebook.
Unfortunately, GI wasn't shown any of the gunplay, so the set-up for the action sequences is still a mystery.
You can read more details on the demo in the latest issue of Game Informer.
The game was originally a PS3 exclusive but is now coming out for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Discuss in our forums here