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LA Noire review roundup

LA Noire reviews have centered on the mesmerizing graphics, the gripping gameplay, and the top-notch puzzles. So is LA Noire a better game than its open-world, cinematic siblings, Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption?

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The question: To sandbox or not to sandbox

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"LA Noire's linearity might strike some sandbox aficionados as strange – and, this being a Rockstar game, it is – but guided doesn't mean inferior," writes Ryan Scott of Gamespy. "Yes, mindless meandering is a sore thumb in this harsh world; while random street crimes and collect-them-all widget hunts certainly account for some small percentage on the pause-screen ledger, the fact that you can usually fast-travel to your next destination (don't, though – the in-transit banter is always worth the drive) sends a clear 'stay on target' message. It's for the best."

The graphics

"LA Noire doesn't merely boast some of the finest voice acting ever to grace a computer game, it has created an entirely new gaming concept: face acting," writes Serge Pennings of the Guardian. "This is thanks to Rockstar's much touted and shiny new MotionScan technology, which captures a truly staggering amount of facial expression and makes the sundry creeps, crooks and occasional upstanding citizen of 1947 Los Angeles eerily lifelike. Each and every character is utterly believable, even when they're lying, which they do with surprisingly subtle expressions and glances."

The action

The car pursuits in LA Noire, writes Tom Pakinkis of CVG, are "fulfilling, heart-pumping experience. You'll barrel through gardens, alley-ways, construction yards and more chassis-unfriendly locales –– all of which require some real precision driving at points that feels more like a scramble than a foot-down, super-charged sprint. That said, the sparse roads and short drive times compare unfavourably to what you may have experienced in Rockstar's other cities."

The final word

"I am at a loss as how to properly categorize it and have little interest, as it is only a distraction from a stunning accomplishment," writes Adam Sessler of G4. "The sheer audacity of the game would be notable in its own right –– the languid pace, the de-emphasis on combat, the prohibitions against the player going on auto pilot –– but it's how the role of design, storytelling, art direction and sound all conspire to create a sublime experience, one that feels altogether new and unrelentingly captivating. That is the lasting impression."

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