L.A. Noir (XBOX 360)
To be honest the only reason I even picked this game up was because the local Block Buster FINALLY CLOSED their doors and I was able to purchase Noir for 11 dollars. I am glad that I did not spend much more on it than that.
Set in Hollywood in the late 1940's you play as Cole Phelps and work your way up from a regular deputy to homicide detective. Sounds good in theory, and with Rockstar being involved this game certainly seemed to spike a lot of interest. Mainly because people thought this would be like Grand Theft Auto set in the 40's. Not at all. If you want to have any chance of enjoying Noir don't go into it expecting it to be anything like GTA, if you do you will be really disappointed.
There is really know roaming around the city allowed, you just go form mission to mission. The only time you can drive around and openly explore the city is when you are suppose to be on your way to a crime scene. But you are not allowed to do anything while driving around. You can't enter any stores, purchase any new clothes, or even senselessly beat the shit out of random people you see walking around on the streets of L.A.. So in summation, there is no real point to doing anything other than the missions.
Being allowed to only do mission after mission is not ALWAYS a bad thing when it is done right. I mean, I like a good linear story just as much as the next person. But the missions in L.A. Noir just sort of blend together after a while. It is the same routine over and over again: Go to the crime scene and walk around until your control vibrates to find clues and then proceed to drive to 50 other locations. Occasionally there is a shoot-out but for the most part the game is just you walking around waiting for your controller to vibrate.
As far as game play goes controlling Phelps is a task in itself. He runs slower than any character I have played in a video game to date and trying to get him to take a closer look at clues can be a real pain in the ass. Also, I am not sure if it was because I chose to play it on the XBOX or not but the game definitely has some problems when it comes to shading. Sometimes during game play shades on the floor or around my character will look like blocks and flicker.
BOTTOM LINE: I wish I could say that I disliked this game just because there was no free roam but it is flawed all around. I would recommend buying it if you can get your hands on it for $10.00 or less.