Entertainment

First play of LA Noire

ShortList has a problem. We know that the suspect we’re interrogating is lying — we can see it in his face. He’s uncomfortable and won’t look us in the eye. But where’s the proof? Despite our earlier sleuthing, we just don’t have it. But what if we could push him further and outwit him? We press square on our controller.

It works. We growl at the suspect that there’s something he’s not telling us. Seeing no way out, he sings like a canary. This is the world of LA Noire, the upcoming title from Rockstar Games, creator of the Grand Theft Auto series and Red Dead Redemption. You’re Detective Cole Phelps (above, left). Or, rather, Mad Men’s Aaron Staton is Detective Cole Phelps — you just play as him. And when we say that Staton ‘is’ him, we really mean it. He doesn’t just voice him — he had 32 cameras capturing his every expression as he delivered his lines. And every single actor went through the same process. Their performances aren’t animated; they’re on the screen, allowing you to pick up visual clues from the subtle nuances on their faces in order to deduce whether they’re lying.

But the game isn’t just interrogation. We tackled ‘The Silk Stocking Murder’, where a woman’s body has been found brutally mutilated in an alley. On searching the crime scene, we discovered a trail of blood that led us on a macabre treasure hunt created by the killer in order to taunt us. As we continued the case, we were also drawn into a car chase through the painstakingly recreated streets of Forties LA.

A brave change of pace from Rockstar’s earlier output? Certainly. But LA Noire is shaping up to be a fully realised, interactive version of LA Confidential. And that’s high praise indeed.

LA Noire will be released on PS3 and Xbox 360 on 20 May

Oh and here's the latest trailer. hit play, then hover over it and hit the 'full screen' icon.