The City of Angels, Los Angeles — home to some of the world’s biggest film stars, and the birthplace of several hundred of the films we all know and love. It’s a city of towering skyscrapers, sun-kissed mountain tops, and a thousand dreams blooming and dying every day. It’s also a setting for some of the most exciting battles and adventures in film, TV, and of course, video games.
The deceptive nature of the media industry around which Los Angeles thrives, makes it the perfect city for stories of struggles of good and evil, tales of addiction, epics of success and failure, and duality-themed characters to take place. Here are just a few video games set in Los Angeles that take advantage of the metaphorical depths of the city to do just that.
L.A Noire (2011)
The video first game that come to mind when thinking about video games set in Los Angeles, might be the thrilling mystery/action game by Team Bondi, where you don the dapper attire and magnifying glass of detective Cole Phelps, and try to solve crimes by staring at a motion captured performance and attempting to determine whether or not the actor was trying to give telltale signs or not.
While the rest of the video game was arguably successful in trying to give us something unique, one of the best features of the game was the depiction of late-1940s Los Angeles. The fashion, the music, the manner of speech, all helps to create an immersive environment that you can show your grandparents to check for historical accuracy. You’re able to explore everything from the bustling heart to the mysterious suburbs, accompanied by era-accurate tunes, streaming through your car radio, alongside the police scanner. While you’ll certainly enjoy the in-game city, especially if you’ve been to L.A before, try not to stray from the road. You’re a policeman. “Protect and serve” and all that.
Battlefield: Hardline (2015)
The first in the Battlefield series to revolve around crime instead of war; brings you L.A through the eyes of Nick Mendoza, a Miami Police Detective as he spends years following a drug chain. Sure, you only get a brief look at the streets of Los Angeles, but it’s worth mentioning here, as the video game succeeds in recreating the city’s sunny exterior, littered with palm trees swaying in the breeze as their shadows extend across their concrete surroundings. Admittedly, it does feel relatively empty. Didn’t anyone tell DICE? Emptiness is what L.A keeps on the inside.
Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
Los Santos is a city of towering skyscrapers, sun-kissed mountain tops, and a thousand dreams blooming and dying every day…sound familiar? Can’t imagine why. From the famed ‘Vinewood’ sign to Galileo Observatory, Los Santos throws a nearly endless barrage of signs, speeches, and people parodying the city’s real-world counterpart without mercy. The result is a parody city that somehow manages to reflect L.A with painful accuracy. You can’t help but wonder when and how its video game counterpart became more meaningful than half the things you find in the city of angels. Aesthetically, the city looks fantastic, though it should be noted that certain liberties were taken, for obvious reasons. But it is, in essence, a perfect reflection of Los Angeles. One that’s fully populated and brimming with activities and adventure, both thrilling and mundane. Just like the real Los Angeles.