Game Review: L.A. Noire

You pretty much know what you're getting into with this game just from the title. A good, old fashioned, film noir crime drama based in Los Angeles. Think Chinatown or The Big Sleep, except you're controlling one of the guys from Mad Men. No, not that one...this one.

If you've played any of the games in Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series, L.A. Noire will feel familiar. It's a third person, open world game. You explore on foot and in cars; the vehicles evoking models from the mid-1940s, where the game takes place. Your character starts as a beat cop, but quickly gets promoted to detective in the L.A.P.D. Each mission starts with a video clip of a crime. Then you're assigned the case, you drive to the scene, and you start looking around. This generally involves walking in circles till the controller vibrates, then hitting X to see what's on the ground. Not everything you pick up is relevant, though. After you get enough clues, you can interview any potential witnesses.

This is where the game gets interesting. Based on what you've learned searching the crime scene, if a witness is lying, you can call them on it. If you can produce evidence of the lie, they'll fold and tell the truth. There is also a bit of body language you can interpret to see if the person is uncomfortable with what they're saying. This is no game version of Lie to Me, though, and these "tells" aren't always accurate. Eventually you'll get involved in a broader story arc, but I won't spoil that here.