Although many people seem to like this game, I didn't much care for it. It certainly did not help its own case by first requiring an account with RockStar Games Social Club and secondly by being a bitch to get running. I don't think I could even begin to recount how I actually got this game to work. I attempted so many things up to and including uninstalling and re-installing that in the end I really don't know which action finally did the trick. It just required a lot of messing around in the files, finding and dealing with outdated launchers, patches, and Rockstar overlays that didn't work. Sometimes a game is so good that it can make you forget the pain of getting it to run, but with L.A. Noire it just has too many other negative points.
First lets talk about the interface and keyboard/mouse controls. The menu system operates on hitting the back button a lot. This would not be so bad if it wasn't carried over into the game. For instance, if you bring up the map, in order to exit the map you need to hit escape and are taken to a menu screen where you then have to hit the back button. Two steps, which could have been accomplished just by hitting the map key again to exit. It wasn't till later in the game that I discovered that hitting the right mouse button did the same thing as escape. Since you do a lot of driving in this game, it's more than a minor inconvenience. Although there is a mini map, it's not sufficient to show exactly what streets you need to take. You can ask your partner for directions if you want to do it repeatedly at every upcoming intersection. You will also find that every light is red. Couple this with horrible controls and driving is a chore. There are various collectibles in the game including, hidden cars, golden film reels, outfits, newspapers and landmarks. However, the amount of driving needed to locate these makes collecting most of them a very tedious prospect.
Midway, I started letting my partner drive, but you won't get the street quests and special locations this way. Fortunately, I have a mouse with extra buttons which I could assign that made driving slightly better, but you only have left and right turning controls in addition to acceleration and braking keys. All of these are also highly sensitive so that cornering becomes a real control problem, especially during a chase. The only saving grace is that the game has an option to skip these chases if you find them too hard. But is that really the point? What good is a game where you can't actually play parts of it because of lousy controls? In all fairness, though, I dare say driving is probably easier using a controller.
Secondly, the character you play has the personality of a tree stump. You play Cole Phelps, a Second World War veteran who has joined the LAPD and works his way up through the ranks to detective. Occasionally, you get some flashbacks to his war years as an officer, but they really do nothing to build attachment to his character. He's actually fairly unlikable, but this is where the story-telling fails as it's just not good enough to engender strong feelings one way or the other. Towards the end, you will be playing another character that is more likeable, but these are reduced to observations rather than feelings. IOW, the game fails to make you care at all about what happens to the main character.
Thirdly, the overall story arc is also lacking till much later when this somewhat improves. The first half of the game is basically comprised of a series of vignettes called cases. As a detective, every case starts either in the briefing room of the police station or a cut scene with the Captain where you are given a case. You then walk out of the room, through the top floor of the station, down the stairs, through the bottom floor, out the exit, get in your car and drive to the scene. From there, you gather clues and drive to all the various places to investigate and interview people till you solve the case and finish by getting a stats screen. You then do it all over again for the next case. The underlying story really does not flow as it is broken up into these vignettes that are basically a rinse and repeat of each other. And if you love repetition, try the street crimes. The trailers make it look like this game is exciting, but trust me, it's not. Any action is too broken up by laborious clue gathering and driving between locations.
Solving cases is accomplished by following the clues you find at the scenes, driving to locations and interviewing suspects. The method is dodgy at best, as you have to guess if someone is telling the truth, the information is doubtful or the suspect is outright lying. If you choose lying, you will have to back it up using the clues you found. Unfortunately, some of the clues are obscure enough to reduce getting the right answer to a crap shoot. If you choose the wrong answer, you will not be able to re-examine the person. This makes choosing the incorrect answer frustrating as the only way to undo mistakes is to restart the case from the beginning. The game instructs you to watch the suspect's face, but even that can be a guessing game. They often don't reflect the obvious expression to help you solve cases. Someone can look you in the eye and still be lying. However, even when a case was rightly solved, I had no real feelings of satisfaction and the game's ending turns it all into a joke anyway.
On the plus side the graphics are pretty good with the city of L.A. being quite detailed and they've also done a good job with facial expressions in general. The voice acting is also stellar. But in the end, this is really just a glorified point and click game. If you're looking for any excitement, you can pretty much forget it. But, as I said, many people like L.A. Noire, proving once again how subjective opinions and tastes can be.