First glance at LA Noire you notice what? Words "sandbox" and "Rockstar". By now you're probably thinking this is another free roam, kill stuff sandbox type of game. Even after watching the trailer some would say its like a Mafia/GTA mixture where you play a mobster up to no good. As much fun as we had playing those games, dont be dissapointed when i tell you LA Noire is nothing like that. LA Noire is different. A good, fresh kind of different. This time around, you play one of the good guys. You're a cop. A good cop in fact, seemingly incorruptible, who stands to make the streets of 1940s Los Angeles crime free. If i cought your attention, tag along and lets dive into a more detailed description.
In LA Noire you play a guy named Cole Phelps, who is a war veteran. After World War 2, he joins the police force to "repair" the wrong that he did in the war (pff, morals), either that, or he really likes guns and uniforms... When he first joins the police he is nothing more then a rookie that has to move his way up the ladder to the level of a detective. You will be taken through this process along side with him as he works in Arson, Murder, Vice etc. to get where he wants to be. Each of these positions he works at before becoming a detective, have several cases that you have to solve before progressing, most of which last between hour, hour and a half, and some being a bit more lenghty falling right over 2 hours.
So how does the process of investigation work? It will, of course have a pattented approach towards the gamer, even tho it wont feel that much repetitive because its too much fun to notice. First thing you do after a crime happens is naturally, going to the crime scene. There you look for evidence and clues that may give you a hint on what to do next, and sometimes when you dont get to the crime scene on time, the major clues will be highlighted for you with yellow marks by the officer who was there first along with the coroner. They can give you information too, seeing as they were the first to arive, but only the basic pointers that are pretty much obvious. For more details you have to get your hands dirty. The most important part in crime solving will be your journal. Every piece of evidence you gather, or information you hear, will be kept in it. From there on out, you have to be the one to decide what to do next. You will most likely have some leads on witnesses/suspects who you should interrogate or even arrest depending on your reading of the situation. Going around the map is done by driving obviously. I've heard from people that played the demo that it feels a bit hyper-sensitive, so if you're not bothered by the occasional lightpost slam you should be fine. If, however you get easily frustrated you can skip the whole process of driving by taking the passenger seat and letting your partner take you where you wanna go. This is a nice option to have, you move the plot along faster and avoid the bad driving (Its like Rockstar knew it wasnt so good so they added this)
Still doesnt sound any interesting for you? Well, we are just getting to the cherry on top. The major, and the best part of LA Noire is the interviewing process (yea, the room with one-sided mirrors). This is because Rockstar used MotionScan while creating every character in the game, which means theres over 200 fully captured characters. You will have to bring your "people reading" skills if you want to be good at it because there are characters played by some of the best actors in the world, and let me tell you, they won't be afraid to use their "stone-cold" face so expect getting information out of them not to be a walk in the park. Hawk vision will be an absolute must, given that sometimes even a small twitch, or a blink, a grim or biting of the lip may prove crucial. You will have to know what to do, when to pry and when to leave things alone. Every case you work on has branching paths, depending on your performance in the interrogating part, how you position yourself when talking with witnesses/fellons and so on. Bad cop, good cop etc. Whilst interviewing you will have 3 options to pick from. When your suspect answers a question, you decide wheter they're lying, telling the truth, or just trying to hide something. So, "truth-lie-doubt" will be available to you, each with its pros and cons. If you come to hard on a witness, he may get scared and stop talkin and things like that... Correct choices will get you more information about the case, and move the investigation/plot along, whereas the bad choices will "screw up" the result you get. Decided calling someone a liar? You better have some kind of evidence in your journal to back it up. This, being hard as it is already, gets even worse. As the game progresses the criminals do to. Meaning, they become more clever, and the MotionScan gets a whole new meaning, because they start acting more lifelike. It will kinda be like trying to figure out when a real person in your life is lying, and not all people are bad liars, sometimes a truthful facil expression might just be a criminal attempting to fool you into thinking they are telling the truth.
What you read so far, will be most of the gameplay in LA Noire. But it wont be all the action you can get. You will have a "free roam" option, the game wont tell you what to do next and when since the cases you work on have no timer. So you can just sit back in your car, take a ride around town and listen to the police radio. If something interesting gets your attention you can respond. Smaller scale crimes like bank heists (not really small), purse snatchings, pursuits and stuff like that is what they have prepared for you.
As a overall experience, this certainly will be in the top 10 games of 2011 in my opinion, but just be sure before getting the game that you are the kind of gamer who doesnt mind taking things slow. Hyped up dynamic FPS fans should look somewhere else to get their groove on.