L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files and Why Rockstar Games Understand Virtual Reality

It's all about the small details.

Fans of the original L.A. Noire might be surprised at hearing it will be re-released for virtual reality (VR). Rockstar Games announced L.A. Noire: The VR Case files in September for launch this month, however the studio then delayed the release on HTC Vive until December. VRFocus’ roving reporter Nina Salomons got some hands-on time with the title, in the video below she takes you through her trying out a demo of L.A. Noire: The VR Case files.

A quick recap for those unfamiliar with L.A. Noire, the videogame is set in the 1940’s Los Angeles and follows L.A.P.D. cop Cole Phelps. A dark, detective thriller that sheds light on the corruption which took place, Rockstar Games brought real life crimes into the videogame. L.A. Noire was one of the most groundbreaking and critically acclaimed titles and was even recognized by the Tribeca Film Festival for its cinematic approach to gameplay and narrative. Pioneering the use of MotionScan, a technology that captures and scans every nuance of a real actor’s facial performance. Perfect technology for a cop investigating various cases. Combing a videogame that makes full use of MotionScan and VR truly showcases Rockstar Game’s understanding of VR as well as its potential.

L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files has seven missions from the original videogame:

  • Tutorial: (Based on) Patrol: Warrants Outstanding
  • Patrol: Upon Reflection
  • Patrol: Armed and Dangerous
  • Patrol: Buyer Beware
  • Traffic: The Consul’s Car
  • Homicide: The Silk Stocking Murder
  • Vice: Reefer Madness
  • Arson: A Different Kind of War

There is now a ‘base’ or Phelp’s office where the player can walk around and interact with various objects. This includes trying on various hats or outfits, playing records on the record player, smoking a cigar, opening drawers, pouring alcohol, and finally opening case files. Nina explains that it feels very intrusive as you open a jacket of a dead man looking for clues as well as her gut instinct kicking in when questioning witnesses to try and find clues to solve the case.

The MotionScan technology is made perfect use of, as you pick up on subtle body language of traumatised witnesses. You can move around them and choose to be a ‘good cop’, ‘bad cop’ or simply ‘accuse’ the character in order to persuade or intimate characters to give you more information. Make use of a notebook where you can free hand draw in (or sketch) and inspect pieces of evidence or props which have all been upgraded in preparation for your meticulous inspection.

L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files has different modes of movement, one allows for free locomotion where you move controllers side by side and move in the direction you are facing, and another that sees your character move out in-front of you to a highlighted object or area. Depending on the sensitivity to simulation sickness, a player can decide which suits them the best.

L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files will be released sometime in December for HTC Vive. To find out more about L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files watch the video below.

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