Monday, July 8, 2019

Detective Work - LA Noire - Part 6

Our adventures in the seedy underbelly of LA continue as we throw our lot in with one of the most corrupt cops in town. It's up to us to bring some professionalism to this relationship as we perform... Detective Work.

This is the fourth time I have played through LA Noire, and while no one would ever accuse Roy Earle of being a decent person. However, it's hard not to notice certain tendencies in his character.

Specifically, there is a noticeable tendency in these early Vice cases for deliberately antagonist and bully minorities and people of color. Not to mention that literally every minority in the Vice desk involved in the drug trade (even the victims). There's nothing inherently wrong with incorporating these ideas. As I said on stream, it might be worthwhile to use this as a vehicle to make comments on the nature of police work in 1950's LA.

The problem is that they never follow through on why this is a problem and what the effects of this attitude are. Roy Earle is offered the chance to defend his stance by saying that he's not interesting in stopping the drug trade so much as controlling it, but this ignores the real life consequences. The people we book in drug-related cases are never the people in charge, profiting off the trade. It's always the middle, non-white, man.

Meanwhile, the usually-wealthy top brass is spared, because they can afford to bribe the LAPD to look the other way. Roy's idea of "control", whether he's aware of it or not, is to wield the law as a cudgel against the downtrodden and keep those in power where they are. All of this is there, but the game doesn't appear interested in threading the needle.

And given how openly corrupt Earle is, openly conspiring with drug lords to fix a boxing match for big profits, it wouldn't be difficult to make that leap. Our resident boy scout, Cole Phelps, is clearly uncomfortable with the arrangement, but never goes so far as to point this out or confront his new partner. He sits in silence, like a good patsy. (Though his act of rebellion and hostility in "The Set Up" does deserve notice and appreciation).

It's such a shame. I would love this game a lot more if it did more to than just bring up this injustices in an effort to score brownie point. As it stands, it feels like it barely scratches the surface.

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