Rockstar Games have earned a good reputation in gaming circles for high production values and that trend continues with the Team Bondi developed LA Noire. Set in the late 1940s the game is an interactive detective story following the career of ex-army lieutenant Cole Phelps.
There have been complaints from those expecting a Grand Theft Auto (GTA) style open world game but LA Noire was never advertised as such. The game is far more structured than any GTA game, or even Red Dead Redemption for that matter, and the focus of the game remains firmly on solving the cases provided by searching crime scenes (in the manner of the old point and click adventures) and questioning witnesses/suspects. The much vaunted facial mapping technology is very impressive and with a little practice it is possible to become quite adept at spotting when someone is hiding the truth. Thats not to say that the game is totally devoid of action however with most cases involving a few shoot outs, car chases or rooftop pursuits and these are fairly well implemented.
Many of the cases are fairly interesting and the script writing, while still not up to the quality of the best TV programmes, is certainly better than the majority of those seen in video games. A number of minor flaws, such as a few repetitive cases, can be largely ignored but one complaint that certainly can't be is that all too often it feels more like you are being lead through some of the investigations rather than actually playing the role of detective. Regardless of any choices made the game plays out in virtually the same way and this comes very close to making the gameplay pointless on occasions. For many the atmosphere created will allow them to get past this but it all means the game does not live up to the hype.