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LA Noire: Dissected

Trailer Analysis: 21 screenshots of Rockstar's murder mystery

"I don't gots time to play by the book here kid. I need a maverick, someone who knows how to get results. You're off the case, get outta my office!"


We love a dark, dingy, 1940's noire thriller we do, and if the first LA Noire trailer is anything to go by that's exactly what we're going to get from Rockstar's latest crim-sim.

Flick your cigarette to the curb, screw in another flash bulb and let's take a look at the evidence.

Firstly a scene setter: This is the classic pin-stripe suit and trilby combo era. Los Angeles is all shadows, smoke and steaming street grates.

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What's also interesting at the beginning of the trailer is the way a Police recruitment poster is made prominent. It boasts an idealistic message of pride in the LAPD calling it, "A great force in a great city".

Now, we don't need to tell you that LA Noire is going to be full of corruption, it comes with the territory, but it looks to be following the classic route of juxtaposing the clean, optimistic, public propaganda with the dark, broken underbelly of reality.

It's the kind of thing we saw in Bioshock's Rapture and Fallout 3's Capital Wasteland, and we like it.

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Onto the main characters and it looks like this fellow is our protagonist. We don't know if it's the eyes but does he have a hint of Heavy Rain's Norman Jayden about him?

Anyway, he seems like a forceful but measured chap, until later on in the trailer when he threatens to beat someone up for info.

It's probably a sign of the times more than anything, but it gives us an idea of the kind of character we're going to be playing - he's probably not afraid to bend the rules and adapt his approach to different situations.

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The next character that grabs our attention is this chap. At first he looked a bit shifty to us, maybe something to do with his squint and wrinkled forehead permanently set into a frown - that means he's spent a lot of his life being angry, you know.

If you pay attention to later scenes though you'll see he's one of the good guys and probably the chief that put us on the case in the first place.

We find him strangely charismatic, even after a just a few clips, which is testament to Team Bondi's brand new facial animation capture techniques.

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Onto the case itself. Clearly someone's been murdered (typical) and there looks to be some dodgy money issues attached. Have a look at that life insurance letter - someone was either really pleased or really disappointed with a $16,000 payout.

Of course, these things never end with just one death. We get hints towards what must be multiple fatalities. The Coroner mentions "two stiffs, overdosed", we see a guy get mowed down and get mention of someone who was apparently "dead before the car hit him".

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The verbal information and images are all placed over eachother but we bet it's Rockstar's way of sending us off the trail.

The man who gets hit could be a completely different guy to the one who was dead before the car hit him, the words could come from a completely different part of game.

There's a chance that it could allude to the nub of the mystery though, a man being dead before he's dead is pretty shady.

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What interests us the most, however, are the screams of this woman. She opens her front door and instantly reacts as if she's just seen a bloke with his face hanging off.

Maybe she has, but it's also left us wondering whether the victim somehow comes back from the dead - she could be his wife.

Or maybe there's a villain in the story that's so terrifyingly notorious, he just triggers that reaction at first sight.

That's all we've got, the trail's gone cold, we're heading back to HQ. Radio in any more evidence as you find it.

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