LA Noire: Enough gameplay depth to support its narrative?

We solve a few crimes in LA...

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Rockstar want the game to feel 'dip in, dip out', so you can crack a standalone case in a night - as with our 90 minute-ish session with The Silk Stocking Murder - but there's an overarching narrative, linked to the Black Dahlia murders... plus (we suspect) corrupt coppers in your force. Of course.

The key thing to point out is that this game is entirely linear - you start as a beat cop, solving cases in order and working your way to the homicide desk; a very classic game structure. Even if you fail to spot clues or falsely accuse suspects of lying, cases head to the same conclusions, albeit via different routes - as we say, the game wants you to finish it.

There are no Heavy Rain-style plot branches or dire irreversible consequences. What playing the game 'well' does do, however, is make cases easier to solve. It opens more areas, so you get a 'fuller' experience and the associated extra score/rank points. We nailed 17/17 correct interrogation questions in our case and, due to the ambiguity of reading suspects' faces, felt genuinely pretty clever.


Like big smug idiots. "You're the only journalist to get everything right", chimed the Rockstar rep, flattering our 'intelligence' on every level. Aww. Shucks. It doesn't matter if the game is linear, or 'merely' wrapping familiar mechanics in a subtler veneer.

Above all, the world is wonderfully realised and intoxicatingly atmospheric - even the opening torchlit-street, menu oozes class. It's a genuinely rarefied, mature experience and we can't wait for final code. Case closed.

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