L.A. Noire screenshot
L.A. Noire screenshot

When Phelps opts to Disbelieve/Accuse, the suspect or witness will invariably react with outrage - genuine or otherwise. To force an answer, Phelps must produce evidence to back up his claim. Every clue you find - whether it's a physical object or a piece of information - will be entered into Phelps' notepad, a vital tool that helps you to keep track of the various plot threads and personalities that arise during each case. Each fresh discovery will be pencilled down in neat handwriting, and every new character you meet will have their portrait sketched down as a visual reference. You won't just be limited to looking at details in the current case, either: as the story progresses, you'll uncover links back to crimes that you resolved earlier in the game. You'll have to be careful about putting too much stock in any one clue, however, as there are plenty of red herrings to stumble across.

Rockstar's first showing of the game focused on a case called The Fallen Idol, Phelps' final assignment on the Traffic desk. I'm slightly torn here, as I'm loathe to reveal too many details about such a story-driven game. As a compromise, I'm going to sketch out the rough outline of the quest while glossing over most of the twists and turns; with any luck this will give a solid indication of how the game plays (well, looks - this wasn't a hands-on demo) without giving away too many of the good bits.

The Fallen Idol begins with Phelps receiving a briefing at Police Headquarters: a car has driven over the edge of an embankment, almost directly across the street from the cop-shop. The vehicle's descent was prematurely halted by a billboard - a lucky occurrence that probably saved the lives of the car's two occupants: film star June Ballard, and a teenage girl named Jessica Hamilton. Phelps heads to the scene with his partner for the case, Stefan Bekowsky. Once he gets there, he swiftly discovers signs of foul play: the vehicle had clearly been rigged by an unknown third party, and Ms Ballard claims that she and Hamiton were drugged.

Right from the initial chat with the bruised actress, it's clear that things are going to get messy. During questioning, Ballard looks furtive and keeps biting her lip in a way that suggests she's perhaps not as good an actress as she thinks she is; confronting her with evidence from the crash, Phelps and Bekowsky extract hints that the perpetrator may be one of Ballard's Hollywood associates. The pair then head to the city hospital to question the younger of the two victims, and at this point the plot starts to take on a much darker tone, with the mystery leading deeper into the seedier side of the LA film scene. I won't spoil things by saying too much more, but as the story unravels the case takes us to a variety of seedy locations, dripping with noir imagery. One particular highlight finds our detectives visiting a gloomy prop house, guarded by a giant stuffed bear and several other dusty toys.

Geographically-speaking, Team Bondi's world isn't a 100 per cent recreation of '40s Los Angeles, but it's pretty damned close - and if you've been to the city you'll instantly recognise different parts of town. The world is packed with detail too, from the slick suits and art deco architecture right down to the traffic lights, with their little stop/go signs protruding on pivoted arms. Many of these little touches feed directly into the gameplay: when driving from location to location you'll hear radio chatter that may relate to your current case, or indeed to optional events that effectively act as sidequests; you might be on your way to interview someone when you hear about a minor crime occurring in your area - and if you so wish, you can then head off to deal with that before getting on with your primary business.

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User Comments

Deetsitmeister's Avatar


Nice read ;), the new video that is up on the site, Red Dead had video exactly in the same style and that turned out to be one of the best games ever

On a side note, I hope the change multiplayer if its is in there because I still dont like Rockstars direction to multiplayer it did not capture me for long enough
Posted 18:44 on 09 February 2011
altaranga's Avatar


Interesting. Very interesting.

(Can't believe it's taken me this long to read it).
Posted 21:52 on 05 January 2011
draytone's Avatar


Knocking up a list of games that I'll definitely preorder and this is pretty high up. Really looking forward to more news being released on it.
Posted 09:36 on 04 January 2011
ThePhantomKnight's Avatar


I REALLY like the idea of your partner giving you subtle hints at which approach would be best to take in certain situations. Makes you feel like you actually have someone watching over your back,instead of some useless A.I. I hope they have this much usefullness in combat.
Posted 22:01 on 03 January 2011
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ draytone

Aye really important we knew what engine the game had so I can enjoy it more.
Posted 16:56 on 23 November 2010
draytone's Avatar


Glad we got it sorted as to what physics engine it's using, had a couple of sleepless nights there.
Posted 15:29 on 23 November 2010
chelskiboy247's Avatar


I had literally no interest in this game before reading this, great preview Neon!
Posted 09:29 on 23 November 2010
batik89's Avatar

batik89@ Neon-Soldier32

Basically I don't care with the game engine, apart from the MotionScan technology. I just feel Euphoria is the best physics engine I've ever seen. So if I know they'll be using Euphoria in this game, it will boost my mood while waiting the game. That's it :)
Posted 13:46 on 20 November 2010

Neon-Soldier32@ batik89

Curiosity here, but why do you care so much what engine it is using?
Posted 13:37 on 20 November 2010
batik89's Avatar


Euphoria can be combined with another game engine. For example, "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" has its own engine, but the devs combine it with Euphoria. FYI, Euphoria isn't a game engine, it's a physics engine, separate from the core game engine. So I need Neon to contact R* and make sure whether L.A. Noire still using NaturalMotion Euphoria or not. Thanks :)
Posted 13:30 on 20 November 2010
mydeaddog's Avatar


Ah, well there we go. Nice work!
Posted 13:13 on 20 November 2010
rbevanx's Avatar


Well apparently it won't from what I have just found out.

"Team Bondi’s L.A. Noire is one of the most ambitious Rockstar titles to date, featuring a massive open world and a groundbreaking animation system. It’s also one of the first Rockstar titles in some time that doesn’t use Rockstar’s RAGE engine, rather Team Bondi’s proprietary engine. Today, we unveil a few more L.A. Noire screens that weren’t featured in our cover story. The new images show cops preparing to storm a building, investigating a crime scene, and cruising the streets of 1940s Los Angeles, Check the L.A. Noire homepage for more extra content in the coming weeks. From what we’ve seen this is one of the most exciting upcoming games of 2010."


"Euphoria works within RAGE as a middle-ware animations engine"

Posted 13:03 on 20 November 2010
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog@ draytone

Give me a few days and I'll look into this ;)
Posted 12:50 on 20 November 2010
CheekyLee's Avatar


Phoenix Wright : Lie To Me! Overall, this sounds excellent.
Posted 09:20 on 20 November 2010
p0rtalthinker's Avatar

p0rtalthinker@ tvr77

You're not the only one; hadn't heard about it till the trailer either. don't know how this slipped by my radar... I love Rockstar games.
Posted 19:45 on 19 November 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 20/05/2011
Developer: Team Bondi
Publisher: Rockstar
Genre: Third-person shooter
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 727 136
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