Times digital download: LA Noire
December 5, 2018 | 4:35 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan

Life in the late 1940s was very different to what it is today. The world as we know it was going through tremendous economic and social change.America was booming, people wanted to spend, and after more than a decade of austerity, life was picking up. People wanted the good life, and California was where people went to find it. But with the good life came other not-so-friendly elements. American companies that had supplied everything to Allied fighting forces during World War II from mosquito coils and soup to cigarettes and medicines, were now looking to turn a quick buck in cahoots with Los Angeles’ mob bosses. The world might’ve been a very different place, but you know the old saying...the more things change, the more they stay the same.

It is into this grim world that we are thrust into in LA Noire. Another game to roll off the Rockstar Games production line, LA Noire is set in 1940s in post-World War II Los Angeles. Players – for the most part – see the world through the eyes of Cole Phelps, an ex-Marine who has been recruited by the Los Angeles Police Department.

His eye for thoroughness and detail sees him quickly promoted up the ranks at the LAPD, beginning life as a beat cop, before being drafted into the ranks of the police detectives.

Phelps is able to spot patterns and connect the dots between accidents, often seeing below the surface of these fender benders to expose the real intent of the perpetrators. His optimistic personality clashes with the world-weary view of his partners, but he gets to see the more sinister side of the police force.

While most coppers drive ordinary cars and dress modestly, that’s not true with detectives like Roy Earle, who wears flashy suits and drives fast cars, funded by corporations that pay him to look the other way.

While Phelps continues to decode crimes across LA, a boomtown which is on the verge of a massive construction boom, he realises that something doesn’t sit right with the results he’s gotten. Yes, he’s put people behind bars, but are they the right people?

Cole’s analytical mind means it’s only a matter of time before he finds out what actually lurks behind the scenes, and it’s something that the corrupt corporations, top police officials and politicians, all of whom are hand in glove, know as well. They, though are not averse to go to any lengths to keep him out of the game, even if it means he meets with an ‘unfortunate’ accident.

LA Noire, which is available for download and purchase on PCs and consoles, incorporates many of the elements of the film noire genre, including the cynical, dark and foreboding themes of Hollywood movies from the 1940s and 50s.

The music, which is at times hopeful and optimistic, at times gloomy and depressing, dovetails really well with the theme of the game.

The game also works really well to feature the social and cultural attitudes prevalent at the time. Blacks were still treated extremely poorly, and America, which now lived under the cloud of the Cold War with the Soviets, also still treated German residents in the States as if they were the enemy. Understandable, given their recent clashes, and all of these emotions are only made far better by the motion capture tech used by Australian studio Team Bondi, who collaborate with Rockstar on this series.

Featuring a number of Hollywood actors, including Aaron Staton from Mad Men and John Noble from The Lord of the Rings, LA Noire is a thriller that simply must be played this weekend.

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The Short and Skinny

Name: LA Noire

Genre: Action-adventure

Produced by: Rockstar Games and Team Bondi

What it’s about: Cole Phelps returns to America having distinguished himself in the Second World War. He’s hoping to come back to an ordinary life, a simple life. But all is not as it seems in Los Angeles, and he is about to be sucked into a different kind of war

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch

Where to buy: Steam, Microsoft Store, G2A Games, Amazon, Xbox Marketplace, PlayStation Store

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