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New detective game is LA Noire, but with a cyberpunk twist

Fusing the neon-bathed darkness of Cyberpunk 2077's Night City with the '40s charm of LA Noire, this stunning new detective game is a must.

A man sits on a skyscraper, looking down on a cyberpunk-style highway in the dark

LA Noire is one of those games that’s always just been there for me. It was my favorite as a teenager, then I wrote my Master’s thesis on it – wherever I have gone in life, Cole, Jack, Elsa, and the crew have followed. While some cross their fingers tight and hope for a sequel, I’ve always argued that we don’t need an LA Noire 2; in fact a follow-up would just ruin the first game entirely. But I’m all for a spiritual sequel, and Nobody Wants to Die from Critical Hit Games may just be the thing I’ve been looking for.

You are James Karra, and this is New York City in 2329. The dark, rain-soaked streets are illuminated by pulsing neon lights, channelling the moody dystopian aesthetic of Cyberpunk 2077. But, in this preview of Nobody Wants to Die, we’re looking down at the city from a sky-level apartment, gentle ’40s-style music warbling in the background while an incinerated man hangs lifelessly from a huge, gnarled cherry tree. It’s quite the opening, trust me.

At its core, Nobody Wants to Die is a detective game with added pizazz – but that’s not a bad thing. Where Cole Phelps had his good ol’ fashioned notebook and pencil, you have a snazzy heads-up display with a scanner. One look at the unfortunate victim tells you that he’s, well, dead, but a second check with the scanner reveals that the Ichorite in his body – a mysterious substance that appears to be the literal lifeblood of this strange new world – has oxidized, and he’s even deader than he looks.

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But Karra only has one question: “why’s the tree burnt?” After all, if the oxidization of the Ichorite killed our poor victim, then why did the tree have to catch fire? That’s where the Reconstructor tool comes in. Where LA Noire champions getting down and dirty with the City of Angels’ criminal underworld to get a picture of the crime, in Nobody Wants to Die you can effectively rewind time, seeing how the incident could have played out before your eyes.

The Reconstructor and our handy X-Ray tool (reminiscent of Detective Mode in the Arkham games) leads us to a transformer beneath the floor, that it appears Green (our charred high-flyer) destroyed by himself. The very same cables are the ones that eventually secured him to the tree, leading Karra to question if “someone made him do it.” The plot thickens, but Green is still very, very dead.

A man holds up an X-Ray scanner, looking into a screaming man's body at his ribs as an explosion happens in the background

As all of this is happening, Karra discovers what appears to be a golden flask with a snake carved into it. The fraught companion in our ear loses her visual feed, and the screen begins to warp and glitch. Whatever this thing is, it isn’t good. Everything distorts; icy blue veins intertwine like roots beneath the floor. A woman in red walks past, calling out “come back to me, James” in an ominous, ghostly voice.

And then we’re whiplashed back to the present, with your supervisor angrily informing you that better get yourself out of there or be left to dry. After a quick lie claiming you’re “on the crapper” and that you’ve already left, you turn tail and take the elevator down, and the scene fades to black.

A man holds up a bionic hand in front of a tree that's exploding

It’s a brief but exciting window into the complex world of Nobody Wants to Die. Blending that ’40s feel and the raw detective mechanics of LA Noire with Cyberpunk 2077-style tech and aesthetics, Nobody Wants to Die was already at the top of my wishlist, but now, it’s an absolute must.

And we won’t even need to wait that long to get our hands on it: the Nobody Wants to Die release date is set for Wednesday, July 17. If you, like me, are far too excited, you can wishlist it on Steam.

In the meantime, though, we have a list of all the best police games if you’re looking to press X to doubt. Alternatively, we have a rundown of all of 2024’s upcoming PC games, and it’s shaping up to be quite the year.

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