Developer Rockstar Games - responsible for the hit franchise Grand Theft Auto - has unleashed another must-play masterpiece to consoles with the release of L.A Noire, bringing all the intensity of the film noire genre to gamers.
Players take on the role of former marine lieutenant Cole Phelps, who has returned from the South Pacific campaign of the second world war to Los Angeles, where he works as a beat cop. LA in 1947 is a city of movie stars and big studio lots, enjoying a time of unprecedented growth and prosperity. But behind this facade of glitz and glamour lies a darker world of crime and corruption, and it's up to gamers to gather clues and work their way up from beat cop to detective.
L.A. Noire is an open 'sandbox' game that features a highly detailed recreation of 1940s LA - Rockstar boasts that 95 per cent of the city landmarks have been reproduced, including traffic lights and even the fashions and car models of the times.
Gameplay is pretty much the same as GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption, also by Rockstar. However, instead of being the 'bad guy', this time around you're on the side of the angels and catching criminals instead. And there is more emphasis on plot and character development here.
Gamers will recognise many of the characters' faces, since Rockstar employed the voices and likenesses of well-known Hollywood actors - look for Aaron Staton (Mad Men) playing the lead role of Cole Phelps and Australian actor John Noble (Fringe) as evil real estate mogul Leland Monroe.
Aside from the film noire style and incredible cast, the interrogation sequences are a major highlight of the game. Players have to carefully observe suspects to see if they are lying and then choose from three options: truth, doubt or lie. Choosing the correct option leads to new clues in the investigation and moves the story along. To make this part more believable, Rockstar employed motion capture technology to effectively reproduce the actors' facial expressions.
Unlike GTA IV - where players can save their progress and pick things up a few days later - many will find themselves compelled to keep on playing because L.A. Noire is so well written.
This is an amazing game that offers about 30 hours of gameplay and plenty of bang for your buck.