While the marketing for LA Noire up to this point has portrayed the game as a story-focused experience that tests the player’s own detective skills and ability to read witnesses and suspects, that may not be the whole story. Rockstar has detailed the various ways that their online Social Club will be allowing players of LA Noire to connect with the community at large, and aid them in their own investigations.
The Rockstar Social Club was last seen in Red Dead Redemption, which was fitting for the open-world nature of the wild west tale. The system will be following in that game’s footsteps by offering players the chance to unlock an additional outfit by joining the community, but that’s where the similarities end.
The outfit in question is the Chicago Lightning Suit, awarded to Officer Cole Phelps when a player has reached the rank of Detective. The suit boost Phelps’ accuracy with shotguns and machine guns, which should offer players a chance to complete difficult missions before choosing to skip them entirely.
Players who just can’t get enough of 1940’s Los Angeles, or find themselves stuck in a particular case will be able to access Detective Phelps’ notebook from the Rockstar website. Having a chance to look at all of the clues and testimony collected whenever a realization strikes is a fantastic idea, so we’re happy to see it included.
Aside from a bonus outfit, players will be able to earn an extra type of in-game currency called ‘Intuition Points.’ It’s not clear what tasks players will need to complete to acquire these points, but the ways they can be used are sure to get fans interested. Not only will the Social Club allow players to see what decisions their friends made, but will also allow them to use life-lines in the course of an investigation.
If the importance of being able to read witnesses and detect deception was a little intimidating to you, then the Social Club will be a dream come true. At particularly tricky points in specific cases, Phelps will have the ability to use his notepad to spend Intuition Points in exchange for hints as to the proper course of action. The hints range from removing a wrong option to seeing what percentages of players chose which direction.
The standard features of the Social Club are also present, allowing players to connect with their friends, track their stats, and see what tasks need to be performed to reach 100% completion.
While some will inevitably see the inclusion of hints as a way of making the game less challenging, it is in keeping with the somewhat revolutionary thinking that Team Bondi is putting into the game’s development. With gameplay more akin to a movie than a video game, it makes sense that players would be able to gauge the rest of the audience’s responses and act accordingly.
The truth of the matter is that a hint system of some type was bound to be included. With progression through the game relying on making smart decisions through the course of an investigation, constantly making the wrong choices would get old fast. Some players will need a little more help with deciphering minor hints or tells, and seeing how the rest of the community acted still leaves some choice to the player.
It’s nice to know that players won’t have to be on their own through the toughest parts of the game, but do you think hints are tantamount to cheating? Or will you wait to hear what gathering these Intuition Points entails before passing judgement?
LA Noire will be bringing a whole new meaning to ‘asking the audience’ when it release for the Xbox 360 and PS3 on May 17.