May 24th 1:30am. 5 stars.
This was way better than I imagined. I originally was interested and going to just buy this on principle (Aussie dev studio yay!), and of course Rockstars involvement was an added bonus. I watched maybe a trailer or two, and then just added it to my list of must buy.
Buy the time I had got it, I had read Brad's review, and listened to his first podcast after playing it. Absolutely rapped, I pinched the game day one.
So many good things, and plenty of reviews cover them, so I'll quickly list my favorites and then give you my spin on the game. Amazing story; superb voice acting; beautiful detailed world; hot cars; great sound; thrilling focused experience; best facial animation in a game ever.
The big difference between this game, and any other open world environment game Rockstar has been associated with, is the open worlds role in the game. Its not really a sandbox. Some of those elements are there, but the open world is really just a hub for the real game. I navigated the world by forcing my partner to drive, and therefore teleport me to the next location I wanted to go.
I know that might seem crazy with that massive, fully realized replica of old school LA, but that's almost the problem there. During a case, I like to keep the momentum going, and traveling around an enormous city doesn't really play to the pace I want to experience the story to. I took breaks, and drove occasionally, explored and tried a bunch of different cars, but the experience was really a distraction from the true game.
Anyway, loved it, 5 stars.