It's hard not to gush over how amazing the facial animations come across in the Rockstar-published L.A. Noire, but what we haven't seen yet is the clincher: how does it play? Happily, the above 'orientation' has the answer.
If the original trailers were any indication, this would be mostly a game of interrogating suspects while tense jazz-era music plays. While you will get some of that, we also see what steps lead up to that interrogation - including combing over crime scenes, questioning witnesses, and gathering clues. These clues will go in Detective Phelps' notebook, to be brought out at the right moment to squeeze more information out of a suspect. The way all the steps come together to uncover the truth may look quite familiar to those who are also fans of the Ace Attorney games.
Of course, one can't look at a game called L.A. Noire without some glowing commentary on the MotionScan technology, so here it is: even after experiencing a few moments' worth of these cutscenes, I still can't get over how much having real facial animations helps the portrayal of this 1940s crime drama. Everyone from your fellow detectives, to suspects, to innocent bystanders have distinct personality traits that couldn't be portrayed in a game like Red Dead without plenty of dialogue. If Lady Luck is with us, she'll make sure this level of acting can make its way into even more games as middleware.
Lady Luck will also need to be near to Cole Phelps if he's going to make it through all these classic cases unscathed. We'll find out in May!