When all the disparate elements congeal - all the above combined with the excellent acting, the brilliant music, engaging story, and think-heavy puzzles - L. A. Noire becomes something best described as an experience, one paced perfectly for an adult with discerning tastes. Most modern games, arguably, bury our desire for goal-oriented satisfaction beneath a blanket of spent bullet casings, achievements, and dudebro attitudes, written as a perpetual rising action with each scene trying to up the ante and heart rate; L. A. Noire plays much more like a good movie, novel, or album with its rewards unveiled at regular intervals – from the completion of the search of a crime scene to the judgement at the end of a suspect's interrogation – deepening the experience to the point where, god forbid, the player feels the need to take a break and digest everything that was just taken in. In an era populated by games scared of being turned off, L. A. Noire is a game made for players, and, by knowing that you will come back, digs deeper into the back of your mind the more time that you’re away from it than, perhaps, when you’re even playing it.
P.S. Were I to award "Game of the Year" to a downloadable title, it would be, hands down, Ubisoft's wonderful Outland, a MetroidVania platformer with a clever puzzle-based twist to its action. It's fun, beautiful, intuitive, and, most surprisingly, expansive for a 2-D, downloadable title. Get the demo and give it a try; it's amazing.
D. Bethel never has time, but when he does, he makes
comics at www.eben07.com.
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