LA Noire is, at its core, an impeccably executed, hard-boiled police drama. As a member of the 1940s LAPD, you spend your time combing scenes for clues, interrogating suspects, following leads, et cetera.
Built around a large number of scripted cases with linear scenarios—though an optional free-roaming mode is available—LA Noire leans heavily on deft writing and powerful performances, buoyed by the use of MotionScan technology, which portrays actors' faces in startling detail, from small wrinkles to nervous tics. (Expressions play a major role during interrogation scenes.) Fistfights, shoot-outs, car chases, and foiled bank robberies add delicious action to the drama.
LA Noire grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go for roughly the same amount of time as two TV series seasons—an apt description for such a narrative powerhouse.