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Sunday, January 23

LA Noire: Lies, Damned Lies and Damsels in Distress

This is not Kim Bassinger....

LA. Noire is a new game for the xbox and PS3 that is speculated to be one of the year's most popular games (guess they haven't heard of Gears of War 3 - ED)
As the title suggests, the LA Noire draws heavily from both plot and aesthetic elements of film noir - stylistic films from the 1940s and 1950s that shared similar visual styles and  adult themes including crime, sex and moral ambiguity which were often filmed in black and white with harsh, low-key lighting. Think of Sam Spade and this is the take the publishers are going for. 
LA Noire is set in 1947 Los Angeles and follows LAPD detective Cole Phelps, a returned war veteran, as he cracks numerous cases with a distinct film noir feel. Phelps is played by Aaron Staton, whom you may recognise as one of the razor-sharp advertising executives from the television show Mad Men.

LA Noire  uses a distinctive coloring-style in homage to the visual style of film noir. The post-war setting is the backdrop for plot elements that reference the detective films of the '40s, such as corruption and drugs, with a classical jazz soundtrack.
So what you might say? I've seen LA Confidential! Russel Crowe just runs round beating people up! Well this is where LA Noire makes an attempt to be novel in video game - the core of the game play puts players in the position of investigator and interrogator.
But LA Noire needed something more, so when players slip into the shoes of Cole Phelps , it's the facial expressions and behaviour of suspects that dictate which tack he takes during questioning of the various people he encounters. This is no run and gun set in the 40s.
Reading a look incorrectly could lead our man Phelps down the wrong path and radically alter the game's progression. Just like in life, if you misread someone's intentions, this can have repercussions - same as this game.
LA Noire is available for order on Amazon right now for an April 5 release.

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