"L.A. Noire" is now being put through its ratings paces. That means more details are coming out about Rockstar Games' highly anticipated period cop action/drama. The BBFC and ESRB ratings descriptions are now in, bringing a host of new information on the game's cutscenes, story and content. There are some light spoilers ahead though, so beware of reading further if you want to remain completely pure and unspoiled.
First, the raw data. The BBFC gave the game an unsurprising 18+ rating, further revealing that there are 5 hours and 12 minutes of cutscenes and an additional 3 hours and 25 minutes of "supplementary gameplay footage," most of that presumably coming from the game's interrogation sequences.
The ESRB rating is far more revealing, so this is the part where you should start worrying about spoilers. From the sound of things, the game's overarching story follows rookie cop Cole Phelps as he dives deeper and deeper into the hunt for "a deranged serial killer." In addition to expected weapons like pistols, rifles and machine guns, it appears that a flamethrower will also be making at least one appearance at some point.
The rest of the lengthy ratings description runs through the more explicit details that Cole will be examining as he investigates his cases. "A few female corpses are depicted fully nude with fleeting images of pubic hair," it reads. This isn't Rockstar's first flirtation with full frontal nudity in a game, of course, though obviously what you see in this game is more of the clinical variety. There's also -- surprise, surprise -- foul language and occasional encounters with illegal drugs, which Cole collects as evidence. Sounds like another edgy Rockstar game to me! Sweet.
If you're coming to "L.A. Noire" just for the racier elements, then you're missing the point. If it's gratuitous excess that you're looking for, play "Grand Theft Auto." All signs point to "Noire" being much more grounded, an investigation-driven adventure with a heavy focus on plot development and occasional spurts of action. It's a change in direction for Rockstar, but it looks like one that fans should be plenty excited about. I certainly am. May 17 can't arrive soon enough.