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Be a better L.A. Noire interrogator

Justin McElroy

We know how it is for a rookie cop on the streets of L.A. Noire. You and alter ego Cole Phelps are doing your best to dig deep to get the real dirt, the straight poop, and all you're getting to aid in your investigation is a bunch of Lying Leos and Dishonest Deborahs.

To help you navigate these mendacious waters, we've put together a little guide to interrogations that we hope you'll find helpful -- and that we know you'll find right after the break.

Gallery: L.A. Noire (1/3/11) | 13 Photos

Get your facts straight
We know it's tempting, what with the witness or potential suspect standing right there, to just charge in and start asking them questions, but hold your horses. Before you tuck into the questioning, you'll want to unearth all the available evidence beforehand. Of course, you'll wanna comb the crime scene for every clue (you'll know you found them all when the pensive music stops). But your prep can start even earlier by making sure you take your interrogations in the proper order, namely: If you're given the option between traveling to a potential witness or potential suspect, always go with the witness first. It's sometimes tough to tell one from the other, but the right choice will insure you have all the facts you need. Then, and only then, should you ask your first question.

Look lively!
The moments after you ask your question are crucial. You can't rewatch an answer, so you have to keep your eyes peeled and locked to the screen for the entirety of every reply.

Listen to your heart
As you're watching every answer, it's important to follow your instinct. Almost without exception, no gesture, whether it be a sideways glance or a lower lip bite is unintentional. Don't convince yourself you're chasing shadows; if it looks like something is fishy, something almost certainly is.

The truth of the matter
In a testament to Team Bondi's faith in humankind, the very first option you're given for responding to any answer is "Truth." It's important to remember that if your interview subject is being curt or even flat out rude, it doesn't mean they're hiding something. The person may just be a jerk. But if they give you a straight with no tells -- like facial quirks or fidgets -- and you don't have anything to prove the statement wrong, this is the proper choice.

I don't doubt you're lying
The two options that throw most rookies are "Doubt" and "Lie," so here's the key difference: You have to be able to prove a lie. That means, you have to have evidence in your notebook that specifically contradicts the statement the witness is making. Generally speaking, "Doubt" is more appropriate if you think the witness is giving you a half-truth or holding back info.

This can be tricky though, because what specifically needs to be proven may not become clear until you actually accuse a person of lying. If you're unsure, go ahead and make the lying accusation (you can always back out of it later), and let Phelps tell you exactly what he's trying to prove. You may lose a few experience points if you have to back out of a lying accusation, but at least you won't make a wrong choice and miss a lead. Also, keep in mind that accusing someone of lying and backing out will tick them off and make their expression harder to read for that question.

Though statements you should doubt will always look fishy, sometimes straight lies will come out smooth as butter, so it's important to remember the evidence you have on hand as you listen.

Another helpful thing to remember is that your casual observers (those sort of tangentially connected to the case) will rarely lie, as they don't have as much to lose. Lying is typically reserved for suspects facing down some considerable jail time.

When all else fails
If you're really stumped, press the button to activate Phelps' "intuition." This will eliminate either "Truth," "Doubt," or "Lie" but (often more usefully) it will also eliminate non-essential evidence when you're trying to disprove a lie. If all your potential evidence is eliminated, you either don't have the proof you need or the witness isn't fibbing. Either way, back out and select "Doubt."

If you're completely stumped, you can also pause the game and peruse a log of the conversation. There may just be something you missed.

Don't take it so hard
Remember: You can't lose the game making wrong guesses. Buying a lie can be frustrating, but it can also lead the narrative into interesting new areas as Phelps tries to track down the proper culprit. It may not be ideal, but it will at least be interesting, and that's no lie.

... Unless you can prove otherwise.

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