Andy: I love L.A. Noire. I know, I know. You've probably already scrolled down to the comments to call me an idiot. But despite its many flaws, and the maddening 'resolution' of the homicide desk, I can forgive it all because of that city. Rockstar are among my favourite world-builders, and their skill at creating atmosphere through environment and audio design is up there with the best. Grand Theft Auto 5 and L.A. Noire present two very different visions of the city of Los Angeles—one satirical, one historical—but both are created with the same level of convincing detail and artistry.
There's nothing to do in L.A. Noire's open world. That's because it isn't really an open world game. This is the opposite of GTA 5's map, which is heaving with distractions and minigames. But if, like me, you enjoy simply exploring game worlds without being harassed constantly by mission markers, you should load up free mode in L.A. Noire and just walk. Start at the bottom of the map and walk north-west, all the way to the Hollywoodland sign. Don't run or drive—stroll and soak in the atmosphere of 1940s LA.
I did the same in GTA 5. Picked a direction and walked. Sure, I enjoyed the heists and other criminal capers, but some of the most fun I've had in that game is strolling through the Mount Chiliad State Wilderness, or grabbing a mountain bike and bombing around dusty country trails. L.A. Noire's world is nowhere near as detailed or pretty as V's, but if you want a flavour of Rockstar's brilliant world design, it's worth revisiting. And if you've never played it before, give it a chance. You might like it. There are dozens of us. Dozens!