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April 3 2011
L.A. Noire - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
20/5/2011RockstarRockstarTeam Bondi
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1None$TBA
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Discussing the crime at the station.
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Inflicting some major pain.

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L.A. Noire can be quite brutal in places.
Originally set to be a PS3 exclusive the lengthy development period has seen Rockstar shift this game to appear on both major console, however it remains a tantalising prospect with Sydney's Team Bondi currently working on the game. Who are Team Bondi you ask? Well the company was formed in 2004 by Brendan McNamara, the former Director of Development for SCEE’s Team Soho Studio, and the writer and director of The Getaway. After years in development his (and publisher Rockstar's) latest title, L.A. Noire, is almost here.

Amid the post-war boom of Hollywood's Golden Age, Los Angeles in 1947 to be precise, Cole Phelps is an LAPD detective thrown headfirst into a city drowning in its own success. Corruption is rampant, the drug trade is exploding, and murder rates are at an all-time high. In his fight to climb the ranks and do what’s right, Phelps must unravel the truth behind a string of arson attacks, racketeering conspiracies and brutal murders, battling the L.A. underworld and even members of his own department to uncover a secret that could shake the city to its rotten core.

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Getting into a punchup.
Admittedly in typical Rockstar fashion the gameplay in this title remains under wraps for the most part however we do know that you start out as regular cop, Cole Phelps before moving up in the ranks as you work on the 23 main cases in the game. Obviously the game will be a crime drama, and the developers have been very keen to stress that it's the smaller moments and character nuances which will stand out and help you solve the crimes. Much like Grand Theft Auto it will be possible to jump into vehicles and drive them around the levels - in fact, it will be near identical right down to the handling apparently. Being a cop though you can commandeer vehicles, but do it too recklessly or cause too much damage and it may come back from your superiors! In terms of the games length the developers are promising a playtime of around 25-30 hours if you take on some of the side missions. We must say huzzah! to Team Bondi for not shafting gamers like so many other developers these days - I'm looking many FPS's in the last 3 years in particular!

While this game will provide a vastly different gameplay experience one can't help feel that there will be some similarities to Quantic Dream's brilliant PS3 game Heavy Rain. While this game is certainly different in terms of gameplay - L.A. Noire is much more conventional - the idea of being a cop hunting down murderers isn't one overly used in games for some reason. Where this game will certainly differ though is the level of violence and brutality on display. As you can see in the surrounding screenshots, murders are messy affairs, and here you'll see the whole lot as you search for clues and try to solve the crimes.

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Graphically L.A. Noire looks impressive.
Visually L.A. Noire seems to be getting everything right with a unique, gritty style that captures the look of 1940's Los Angeles. The game, as the name suggests, takes heavy inspiration from film noir which were films created in the mid 20th Century that were themed on crime and sex, but also artistically had a very dark look to them. Finally, the developers at Team Bondi have used motion capturing to capture the voice work and performances of the actors. It also appears this game won't be holding back on the blood and gore, and we suspect this will receive an MA15+ rating in Australia as a result.

Rockstar have proven themselves not only with the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but also with risky prospects including last years exceptional Red Dead Redemption and the controversial Manhunt and Bully titles on PS2. While L.A. Noire isn't likely to stir the controversy as any of those games did, it promises to usher in another superb franchise for the company. Expect a release in May 2011.