LA Noire PC hands-on preview

The mouse twitched in my hand like a skid row junkie looking for a fix. Detective Cole Phelps responded, whipping out his .45 in the direction of two fleeing criminals. The nickle plated Colt barked, spitting hot death. The two goons fired back, their shots whizzing past Cole’s head and popping out of the monitor thanks to L.A. Noire’s new “PC exclusive 3D enhanced graphics”. Whatever those are. I’m a 1940s detective damn-it, I can’t be expected to know what this rigmarole is.

It was early, damn early. I plunked down my 50 cents at the diner counter for my breakfast, finished my coffee and walked out. The Waitress yelled at me as I walked out, it sounded like “Hey asshole the bill was $14.95!” but I’m pretty sure it was just her wishing me a nice day. I jumped in the Chevy and booked it to Rockstar’s loft, where I had a meeting with a contact looking to give me some information on “L.A. Noire for PC”. It was clearly some sort of code I’d need to crack, but I almost finished the Jumble in the paper once, so I knew I was up to the task.. I parked the old heap around the block, making sure to grab my piece and a notepad before throwing the garage guy my keys.

Time: 10:00AM

Location: Rockstar’s San Francisco Loft

The loft was dark, a big marble floored joint that smelled of a monthly rent that I probably couldn’t afford. And lemon. Some sort of glowing box sat on a table, connected to some sort of miniature TV. Now I’m a detective, and a damned good one if I say so, but I’m from the 40s, and this glowy thing was a mystery to me. “Today we’re showing the PC version of L.A. Noire” my contact said. Most of those words made sense to me, but a couple of them left me hanging. I didn’t want him to think I was a square, so I played it cool and pretended I was hip to his jive. “Yeah daddy-o, I hear ya. 23 skidoo.” He stared at me with an inquisitive look, then motioned me over. I breathed out a sigh of relief, my bluff had worked.

He sat me in front of the box, some sort of flat typewriter and little black thing stared up at me. I swallowed the panic like a shot of rye and put my hands on the typewriter. “Where’s the ink ribbon go on this thing?” I asked. My contact chuckled “Haha, good one.” A bead of sweat ran down my face like a Spaniard at Pamplona. My contact put a pair of weird reading glasses on me and told me they were for 3-D; I relaxed, 3-D movies were an ancient concept I was familiar with. A detective looking much like myself appeared on the little TV, apparently he was investigating an explosion at the Nicholson Electroplating plant.

I’d read about this case before in the paper, and the first thing I noticed was that this “PC version” looked nicer; the textures were more detailed, the animation more fluid, and the 3-D effect added a nice depth to everything, especially when there were some foreground objects present. The cars also felt a lot smoother, I was able to whip my 1938 Delahaye around Sunset Blvd and into a group of pedestrians a lot easier than before. Apparently the PC version will ship “with all the DLC cases and costumes included”, just like the free cup of Postum you always get with the blue plate special. And just like Germany ditching the League of Nations, L.A. Noire PC will no longer be associated with Games for Windows Live. While this may get you Achievement lovin types riled up, that’s one less user account you’ll have to sign into before playing.

Using my refined detective instincts, and the fact I already knew exactly what happens, I busted the Nicholson Case wide open. Just like that hobo’s skull after he peed on my Chevy. While I liked what I saw, I definitely felt that if you’ve already cracked all the cases L.A. Noire has to offer, you may not have much motivation to crack them again. But if you haven’t played it yet and you’ve got a glowing box at home, this looks like it’ll be the definitive version to get. Rockstar is still playing coy with the release date, but we’ve got em in holding cell #3 with Dirk “The Tickler” Jensen so they’ll crack any minute with the details.

(Note: They cracked, LA Noire: The Complete Edition will be released November 8th)

Sept 29, 2011

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