The technology of LA Noire

Another technical star of the show is the city itself, lovingly recreated by Team Bondi - redolent with billboard adverts from the era, gorgeous architecture and the lighter traffic that makes the whole city feel less claustrophobic.

The sheer size of the map, and the fact you can explore it, are enticing factors – and yet rather than being a 'sandbox' game this is merely a beautifully drawn backdrop to the main story which you are participating in.

The RockStar rep told us that, internally, LA Noire was not even being considered an open world, suggesting that it is less about providing a playground than a set. And it works superbly – there will be bank heists, petty muggings and other side missions to act as diversions, but the focus is very much on the main story arc of Phelps.

A sense of the time

This is, make no mistake about it, a game for adults; the game does not shy away from the violence, gore and sexuality of the period – but the sections that we saw suggested a lighter touch than you might have imagined from publishers who have been responsible for some of the most controversial games in history.

If the case that TechRadar has seen is not inconsistent with the rest of the game, there is a level of maturity running though LA Noire that suggests that it is a game being pitched at people ready to take the next step in gaming.

That's not to say it's light on action, even the single case included a fist fight, a car chase and a shoot-out.

There's nothing wrong in shooters and sports sims – perhaps the gaming equivalent of action films and rom coms – but gaming is seeking its Citizen Cane, and regardless of whether LA Noire can reach those heights, it is at least seeking to make gaming greater than the sum of its parts.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.