L.A. Noire (Xbox 360) review
"What eventually passes for core gameplay in LA Noire is a bad guessing game in which you have to decide whether people are lying and which bits of evidence from your inventory confirm the lie. It's all very vague, and you'll feel like quite the schmuck when you're sure you've cornered a suspect, only to realize that the game's writer was on a different page. Not that it matters, which is a terrible thing to say about core gameplay."
The central mystery of LA Noire is this: am I playing a bloated adventure game or a barren open-world game? While crossing the city yet again or picking up another crumpled cigarette pack that has nothing to do with anything, I can't help but think of Abraham Lincoln's famous comment upon being served a dubious drink: "If this is coffee, please bring me some tea. But if this is tea, please bring me some coffee."
Since this is very much a Rockstar title (albeit one developed by a new studio in Australia), the natural expectation is that you're getting an open-world saga along the lines of Grand Theft Auto IV or Red Dead Redemption. That's certainly how it looks and plays, splayed out across Los Angeles in the immediate wake of World War II, populated by characters and plots and mini-missions and collectibles and quaintly historical city streets.
Freelance review by Tom Chick (May 19, 2011)
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