When Games Matter is a weekly exploration by Drew Dixon of meaningful moments in games. Operating under the assumption that games do in fact matter, Drew seeks to highlight those moments that have much to say to say about who we are and the world we live in.

For all the wonderful dialogue in L. A. Noire, the near perfect animations of character’s facial expressions, and the excellent voice performances, my favorite moments in the game tend to be the least scripted.

L. A. Noire is a detective game. You will spend the majority your time hunting down clues, following leads, and investigating crime scenes–all of which is largely interesting.  However, the game really comes to life for me when you take optional calls via the radio in your police car to aid other officers in need. These crimes vary from domestic violence, to drugs, to bank robberies. While these “calls” are optional, they provide some of the most immersive gameplay LAN offers.

One of the first calls I took found me chasing a drug addict across several rooftops. After a short chase sequence the criminal decides to fight it out with me on the rooftop. He took a swing at me, then another. After dodging his first two blows, I grab him by the shirt and throw him down, he fell over and slipped off the roof top, falling 10 stories to his death.

Was that supposed to happen? I didn’t know this drug addict and of all the criminals I have chased in LAN, he was probably the tamest. But I killed him. Not on purpose mind you, but I killed him. This moment wasn’t scripted but despite the many fascinating crimes LAN allows you to investigate–a rumble with a no-name druggie ended up being one of the most memorable of the game. I wasn’t proud of myself for killing this man, but I give a lot of credit to Team Bondi for creating a game in which such moments can happen.