When I heard Rockstar was making a game based in the 1940's, I thought it was going to be a sad attempt to fill the demand for a new Grand Theft Auto. As more was revealed about the game, I was surprised to learn that it's just the opposite. L.A. Noire delivers a unique package on your doorstep with unique gameplay, intense action scenes, and all is done with finesse and diligence, rather than over the top action, and unnecessary violence.

The central character of L.A. Noire is Cole Phelps; a World War II veteran and police officer of the LAPD. Haunted by his past, Cole is determined to make up for his failures. Cole , naturally, starts as a police officer, but through his wit and initiative will soon be working on his own cases as a detective. As you follow the main story of Cole, cut-scenes are occasionally played that give some explanation to what happened when Cole was overseas, and to show that there is something else going on behind the scenes in L.A.

The city of L.A. in the 1940's looks pretty, but you'll soon discover that it's full of criminals and danger. That's probably why you're given a partner through every desk of the department. At first, I thought having a partner was going to cramp my style, or be more of an annoyance than a help. In actuality, your partner is very much a blessing in many ways. My favorite way being, he'll instantly drive you to your next objective if you don't feel like driving for 7 minutes.

I can be lazy sometimes, but you may not realize the scope of L.A. in this game. It's massive, separated into several districts that can take several minutes just to drive through one. Especially when driving requires a certain level of finesse when you're out cruising. Everything you damage from your car to a lamp post costs money to repair, and when you finish a case all damage you caused will be added up and taken into account when you are given your performance rating when you solve the case.

If you're playing L.A. Noire because you want an action packed adventure, you should take your interest somewhere else. Rockstar did a surprisingly good job about making L.A. Noire revolve around one concept: investigation. Going over crime scenes for clues, and interviewing suspects and witnesses is going to take up about 70% of your gameplay. L.A. Noire isn't without it's action sequences though. You'll have to chase down suspects (on foot and in intense car chase scenes), you'll find yourself in hand-to-hand combat, and even in a gunfight. As fun as these sequences are, you'll only run into one or two of them in a case. Gunplay is basically a cover system similar to that of Red Dead Redemption, while driving made me reminisce over my Midnight Club days.

Interviewing suspects and inspecting crime scenes is a surprisingly challenging concept. While walking around the crime scene the game will alert you to a clue with the simple sound of a piano key. For those of you who feel this makes the game a little too easy, you can turn them off for a real challenge. Interrogating, on the other hand, was very difficult for me. As you sit down with a person, you'll pull out your trusty notebook (this notebook will keep record of every person, place, and clue found in the case) and start asking questions based on the evidence you've found. After the person gives their answer, you have to decide by their facial expression if they're being truthful, if they're lying, or you can simply doubt what they're saying. Misreading their facial expression can lead to missing important information, or even clues that can help you catch your man.

L.A. looks absolutely gorgeous, and exploring it is a blast. If you don't think all the bright colors fit the noire setting, you can set the game to black and white. The new facial animation technology that was raved about is indeed amazing. Without it, the interviewing wouldn't be the same, and all other facial animations fall terribly short in comparison. There's also plenty of things you can do on the side that will take up a good amount of time to get 100% game completion.

The smooth Jazz soundtrack captivates the mood of L.A. Noire as well as fits the era perfectly. That's something that makes L.A. Noire so great; Rockstar did a really great job of capturing the look and feel of 1940's Los Angeles. I can't say it's EXACTLY the same as how it really was, but if I were to imagine what it was like back then, L.A. Noire paints the perfect picture.

Though a lot a Rockstar fans may be disappointed by the lack of action, L.A. Noire is definitely a game to play. It's very unique and I think any gamer should experience it.