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LA Noire PC in 3D: hands on

Sure, L.A. Noire came out on consoles six months ago, but it wasn't in eye-popping 3D. We go hands on with the latest incarnation made especially for PC gamers.

Returning to a previously released game title isn't something we do often at CNET; the pace of game releases means that we are always looking forward. So when Rockstar offered us the chance to take an "advanced" look at L.A. Noire for PC, six months after its original release, we demanded there be a hook — something to pique our interest. Well, PC gamers are in for treat when the crime-fighting sleuthing game hits Windows machines in the coming months, with the introduction of eye-popping 3D.

They see me rollin', they hatin' ... (Credit: Rockstar/CBSi)

Essentially, the game itself remains the same, although the PC version of L.A. Noire will include all previously released downloadable content (DLC) released separately for the Xbox 360 and PS3, including four extra cases. Rockstar hasn't released a final RRP for this bundle as yet.

We sat down to play the Nicholson Electroplating DLC case on a PC with an Nvidia 3D Vision kit plugged in, a unit that includes a USB controller for adjusting the depth of 3D on the fly. The machine we played on ran an Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5-2500 CPU with 2GB of RAM and an unidentified Nvidia graphics card.

From the opening titles, the look of the L.A. Noire landscape in 3D is pretty impressive. The wet, seedy-looking alley of the main menu looks great with the added depth of the 3D tech. Jumping into the game itself, the increase in quality of the textures will be immediately apparent for anyone who has had a chance to play L.A. Noire on a console. The frame rate stayed solid during the faster-paced driving sequences, and the lip sync was predictably excellent.

Some 3D elements have a stronger impact than others. The title that appears at the beginning of each case stands out off the screen in a way that suggests you could reach out and grab it, while 3D in the basic investigation gameplay is reserved for background depth only.

For the most part, L.A. Noire is a great game to be played in 3D, with the third-person perspective centring the action and the pace of the game reducing the likelihood of cross-talk headaches with fast-moving elements appearing from the side of the screen. That said, about 30 minutes of 3D gameplay was more than enough for us at a stretch, with a mild nausea settling in soon after.

3D gameplay won't be enough to attract console games to a second round of L.A. Noire on PC, we think, but it is a boon for anyone who has invested in this sort of technology for their PC rigs at home. Stay tuned for a firm release date for as soon as Rockstar settles on one.