L.A. Noire is a very different game. I also believe a lot of people who don't follow videogames as closely as you or I will be surprised as to what exactly this game is. I'm about three hours in. I must say, L.A. Noire is one hell of a game. Team Bondi nailed the feeling have actually talking to people. Mass Effect came close to achieving this. However, L.A. Noire is on a totally different level. Characters emote with realism. I feel like i learn a lot about individuals by reading between the lines of what they say. The face mapping technology delivers a lot of life to this game. But so far, I haven't called bullshit on anything characters have told me based on any nervous impulses they have.
The game centers around collecting evidence. In the main story, I have only been in two gun fights. You're called to a scene and are tasked with investigating the environment and eventually talking to witnesses. For the most part, I always felt like I nabbed enough evidence to pursue the case further. On the contrary, most of my results tell me I only collected half of the physical evidence. For completionists, this may or may not be your cup of tea. On one hand, you have a lot of little things in the environment to find. On the other hand, the game never bluntly tells you that all the collectable evidence has been retrieved until it's too late.
I won't spoil anything. All my cases so far have begun as seemingly cut and dry scenarios. On every occasion the scope has gotten larger and more witnesses come into play. I'm only at the beginning of the game, but at no point does it turn into a "who done it?". I haven't ever had to pick who was the culprit. Like I said, it's more about the investigation and finding the culprit whereabouts, at least in the first few hours of the game. The issue I take with the game is that all cases do appear to expand to a larger picture. There's always a surprise party involved with the murder, someone tries to run from you, and more characters come into play. I do wish larger cases would be split between smaller cases that are more predictable. Just to add a layer of realism. Not every case should be a conspiracy.
You can't drive like homicidal maniac. in fact, there are banners all around to city that reads, "Keep LA Safe. Drive Safely". It might has well say, "Hey, this isn't GTA. Don't be a Jackass". The open world-ness takes a backseat as opposed to other games of this design. That's not necessarily a negative. This rendition of Los Angelas is fantastic. The city is so dense and littered with attention to detail, it rivals any open world to date. At no point will you be pulling out your gun and murdering civilians to get 5 stars. You're totally a boyscout.
So far, I'm really enjoying the game. Most importantly, L.A. Noire washed out the bad taste in my mouth left by Brink. I'm a big fan of post-war Americana. L.A. Noire nails the era it's set in. Missions open with the large italicized text title, individuals referred to women as "broads", and there are obvious domino effects that trace back to the war. The protagonist was even a Marine officer in the fight against Japan. At times, flashbacks show him in training and shipping off to the war. I would assume there's a climax that involves how he received the Silver Star he refuses to talk to other cops about. That's just one layer of this immensely entertaining game.