L.A. Noire is a downbeat Film Noir videogame set in Los Angeles in the late 1940's. As is usual for the genre, there's a lot of sadness and despair to be had.
- The families killed in house fires set by a real estate developer trying to make a quick buck on land to be purchased for a freeway is a real downer, especially the second family which, due to tightening of the muscles and tendons, end up in a prayer pose.
- When the father collapses, his head rolling on the floor, Biggs flees, reminded of his dead Marine comrades.
- Who didn't tear up when all you can hear is Ira crying into the phone as he says "No one was supposed to be in there!"
- Cole Phelps' death and the subsequent coverup.
- The scene with Mrs. Phelps after Cole's affair is made public, and Cole's reaction to the situation. He didn't try to deny it or beg forgiveness, he tried to justify himself and asked to see his daughters.
- It's hard not to feel for James Tiernan when he starts tearing up during his interrogation. Especially considering how young he is. Makes you hate McCaffrey even more for putting him through such awful guilt by convincing him he killed Evelyn.
- Kelso having to kill Ira in the sewers.
- One side quest has you chasing a crazy guy up onto a rooftop. The "correct" solution is to watch him jump. The look on Cole's face in the closing cutscene is heart-wrenching, and damn near accusatory. (There's a happier alternate solution, but it boils down to a Moon Logic Puzzle.)
- Ever wondered why there's an abandoned shack filled with hundreds of small paper origami? Well, according to a Japanese legend, if you made a thousand of these, you will be granted a single wish. Now, this cabin belongs to Ira Hogeboom, who, during the battle of Okinawa in the Pacific Theater, accidentally lit up a cave full of Japanese civilians, causing a long chain of mental breakdown where he goes mad from grief and remorse. If you add up all the evidence, this is a horribly shell-shocked veteran who is hoping beyond hope that there's a chance that this old Japanese legend is, in fact, true and will not cease making the origami.
- Among the final lines in the game:
Biggs: You were never his friend, Jack.Kelso: I guess you're right. Herschel?Biggs: Yeah, Jack?Kelso: I was never his enemy.Biggs: I think he knew that, Jack.