L.A. Noire Preview (PC)

Much has been made of Cole Phelps' original outing, as Rockstar's deep and engaging narrative paved way for an experience that created itself a unique perch in the bustling avery of console games. Launched amongst a slew of high-octane, 'blow shit up' ever-presents, there's little doubt Phelps' roam around Los Angeles is one of the most thoughtful titles to show itself this year. Rockstar recently announced that the PC version would be landing in November, so with this in mind, I headed to their offices in order to reintroduce myself to charming Mr Phelps.

It's somewhat surprising that L.A Noire hasn't made the transition to PC sooner. At it's most basic level, it echoes the essence of many point and click adventures we've seen over the years. With that said, the developers have never been scared to throw in an abundance of action, and that's exactly what was shown off during my hands on. I played through the Nicholson Electroplating mission, an expansion that's available on PSN and Xbox Live Arcade this very second. For those who haven't got round to trying this yet, it opens with an incredible bang, quickly launching Phelps and Biggs into some intense encounters. Although similar to the missions that make up the main quest, the nods towards Howard Hughes provided this extra content with some links to the past that are interesting indeed.

It was pretty obvious why Rockstar chose to flaunt this section off, as it looked extremely crisp and detailed on the monitor. As expected, the visuals are improved over the console release, with the sleeker frame rate being the most noticeable enhancement in times of intensity. To make things even more appealing, 3D glasses were planted on my face. As I mentioned earlier, the mission started with a bang, and in 3D, this looked absolutely stunning. After impact, sheets of paper and other litter floated through the air, providing a sense of scope that can only be achieved with the extra dimension. It's immensely easy to 'feel' the devastation when playing with the glasses, as the slow pace of scavenging through crime scenes provides ample time to observe exactly what's going on around you.

Aside from the added graphical prowess, time spent with Cole doesn't deviate from the track much at all. This serves as a complete collection of everything that's happened in '40s L.A, including all three downloadable expansions. Both the keyboard and 360 joypad can be utilised, making for an experience that's easily adapted to the preferences of each player. While searching for clues and interrogating suspects is never going to define whether or not the keyboard set-up works, the controls shift across rather confidently. As expected, it won't take long to get used to either method, as actions such as driving and shooting are simplistic yet instantly rewarding if you get it right.

With a couple of months until release, it's time for PC gamers to get excited. Even if you've already experienced the thrills of being a detective, this looks set to be the definitive version of Rockstar's slick product. If you haven't played the game already and have the capabilities to do so on the PC, there really isn't any excuse to miss out. The motionscan technology steals the show once more, and is one of gaming's most important technological feats of the year, making Phelps' foray into the world of crime as enticing as ever. L.A Noire has already achieved as much for old school crime dramas as Red Dead Redemption did for the Western genre, so it's pleasing to say the PC release looks set to confirm this as one of 2011's most essential purchases.

Top Gaming Moment: Playing through the game in 3D is marvellous.