L.A. Noire (PS3) is a beautiful and gritty adventure that will definitely hold your interest until the very end.
Midnight launch at Gamestop and I was there to pick it up (I did it for Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption as well) so my Rockstar midnight launch trifecta is complete. I get home at about 12:15 and got ready for the experience. The game installs very quickly! I love the title screen (the old-school neon sign is a great touch). The first thing that I noticed was the mind-blowing graphics. I've read extensively about the process that went behind capturing the facial expressions and I'm happy to say that it..is..AMAZING.
The other two stars of the show is the soundtrack and atmosphere. Now, I'm not sure how many of you love Jazz music (I LOVE IT), but the soundtrack is fitting considering everything is taking place in the 1940s (sorry hip-hop and classic rock fans) and it's just beautiful. You can almost feel the rain as it pours down and smell the cigarette smoke at the club you'll visit in the game. The atmosphere is tremendous as every detail was carefully crafted. You'll drive around in classic cars, see historic sights, and also note the dress code as you see your character and partner(s) all decked out in sharp looking suits.
The gameplay is solid. I don't think I had an issue once as far as driving (though it feels like I was driving a battleship down the various streets), the fighting mechanic takes a little getting used (hit SQUARE to block, X to punch, and TRIANGLE to takedown). The shooting is a dream as it's easy to hit a target when you need to (thankfully). You'll check out crime scenes and if you get close to a clue that you need to investigate the game will let you know in a certain way which is handy. Another feature is you can play the game in black and white (something I haven't tried yet) I'm loving the interrogations as you'll be able to at the person and gauge them based on how they look and this is where the facial animations really shine. It's pretty life-like!
It's not all roses however. I often felt things getting kinda repetitive half-way through the game. The story kept me riveted and gave me plenty of reason to go through the motions, but it's the motions that started getting to be old hat after a bit. It's the whole "hear we go again with A, B, and C to get to D" with little variety other than missions that come in over the car radio (a welcome diversion), but an absolute pain when the crime is taking place 10,000 miles away from the current location (sigh) thankfully there is a quick travel feature to get to the point you'd like to go to. You might miss some of the banter going back and forth between Cole Phelps and his partner(s).
I have to be honest: I wanted to be able to do more as I felt that I was on rails a bit and at the same time I'm glad I wasn't able to do things in a random way so that I would not be sidetracked with doing other things that had absolutely nothing to do with the main story (no crazy shooting spree stuff, blowing up cars, or parachuting off of buildings here) though you can run people over and crash into things, but here is the rub: it doesn't matter only that it affect things in major way so feel free to drive like a maniac. I just felt there were some missed opportunities here. I SHOULD have been demoted or reprimanded for running over pedestrians, destroying city property, criminals should have been put on trial for their crimes, a bit more diversity in solving crimes, and I maybe just a bit more freedom. Granted there are a few things going on that really don't test your brain too much and are a welcome addition nevertheless. I feel these are minor complaints however as it is hard to say anything bad about this game.
Still though L.A. Noire is a great game. The production values definitely warrant a 9.5 as you can tell a lot of work went into crafting the atmosphere, graphics, story and soundtrack. The variety of desks keeps things interesting as you'll work as a beat cop then make your way to positions like Vice, Homicide, Arson, and Traffic to keep things interesting.
Warning: it's definitely a methodical type of game sprinkled with a bits of intense action so don't expect the pedal to be on the metal constantly. It is the type of game that stays within the bounds of what it's intended to be: a crime saga, old-school noir (if you love those old-school detective shows you'll be in Heaven here), and one that requires keen observation and a bit of patience. If you're familiar with the PS3 title "Heavy Rain" then you might find things to be quite familiar (FYI: L.A. Noire is better in my opinion).
Worth the $60.00? I think so. I finished it rather quickly and that's only because I played from 11AM to about 9PM one day and I wasn't close to finishing it so I would expect at least 20hrs (maybe even a bit more). I think it's worth it because of the atmosphere, great graphics/music, and story. So, truth, doubt, or lie? hit "X" for me because I love this game!:)