Well, it’s a no-brainer. This week’s recommendation is LA Noire. (Seriously, if you’re comfortable picking up a controller and saying “I’ll be able to figure this out” about any given video game, you will love this game. If you’re someone who plays police procedural games, you will love this game. If you’re someone who loved Grand Theft Auto and wished that they made a game from the POV of the cops? You were wishing for this game.) Major Spoilers for your first case as a Detective on the force behind the cut (but only minor spoilers otherwise).
Okay. The game is a police simulator. It’s 1947 and, as such, you don’t have all of this CSI equipment and DNA swabbing and whatnot. You have to get by with reading your witnesses, reliance on your own moxie, and the willingness to make the hard calls. The tutorial levels have you figuring out how to do little things like run around a crime scene and tell the difference between a clue and a red herring. Later, how to drive and ask questions about evidence you’ve found. Once you get kicked upstairs and they pour you into a detective’s suit, you have a case where you have to investigate an abandoned car.
Seriously, this will spoil your first case. There are tons and tons of cases, mind… but this is your first one.
You get the call that there’s been a car abandoned on the railway tracks. There are signs of foul play.
You get to the scene and the car’s interior is covered in blood. There is a man’s wallet and his glasses nearby as well as a pipe from a water heater that is also very bloody. The trunk happens to contain a receipt for a live pig. I am not making that up. You go up to the guy who called the cops and it’s an African-American gentleman who is uncomfortable around cops and visibly communicates that he very much wishes to go back to work.
The questioning works like this: you ask a question and watch the response of the questioned… at which point you have the option of believing that it is the truth, accusing of a lie, or expressing doubt… it’s very important to not make an accusation of a lie without evidence to back you up. If you don’t have evidence, express doubt instead. If you *HAVE* evidence, however, doubt won’t take you down a path you wish to go.
I’ll give an example: the guy at the railyard answers questions about the car, the blood, the pipe… but when asked about the wallet gets agitated. He asks if you’re accusing him of stealing. There’s no proof of stealing, mind… so if you express doubt, he’ll explain that, sure, maybe he checked it for money but it didn’t have anything in it.
At this point you drive to the house of the man who owned the car. On the side of the house, you see an unassembled water heater that, after you put the remaining pipes in the right places, happens to be missing a pipe (one that fits the gap!). Inside the house, you find that the husband and wife had separate bedrooms and he has a picture on his dresser with a hidden message from another woman. The wife, when questioned about the other woman, shrugs the question off and when you accuse the wife of lying, she asks for proof. The message behind the picture is sufficient to get the wife to explain that, yes, she knew about her husband’s fling. (And had you not explored the bedroom and searched behind the photo, you’d not be able to make your accusation stand up.) With more questions, you find out about the husband’s hobbies and associates and that he frequents the bar that is named on the various matchbooks you find around the house.
Which, of course, brings you to the bar. You find the associate of the husband there who explains that the husband faked his own death (using the pig’s blood) in order to move up to Seattle to be with his lover without going through all of the hassle of a divorce.
Easy, straightforward, and a lot of fun to figure out from something as odd as finding an abandoned car covered in blood.
And that’s just the first case! There are more than a dozen… and all involve searching for clues, interrogating witnesses, and trying to figure out who’s telling the truth, who’s lying, and *WHY*. And that’s not talking about the street crime issues, and I’m not even mentioning the backstory of the main character, and I didn’t even bring up the side story involving the psychiatrist. This game is up there with Knights of the Old Republic, folks.
So that’s my recommendation for you this week.