The Best Video Game Character of All Time
We’re friends right? We’ve known each other for a long time so I feel like I can be honest with you: I hated Cole Phelps at first. In fact, when LA Noire released back in 2011 I stopped playing for a month because of him. Part of its my fault, I didn’t go into the game with the right mindset. Seeing Rockstar on the front of the game (I know they only published it) and expecting it to be like another GTA or Red Dead was a mistake. After I did finally beat the game I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. My most anticipated game in recent years had failed to live up to my expectations. However this year I decided to jump back into 1947 Los Angeles to give the game another go, I am a future noir detective after all. Quickly I started to pick up on a lot more character traits that make Cole Phelps such an awesome character and my favorite in all of video games.
Warning: Major spoilers for LA Noire below
Now, if you’ve played LA Noire I know what most of you are thinking. “Cole Phelps was a fake World War 2 hero who has no sense of humor and cheated on his wife”. Technically you’re exactly right, but I urge you to look deeper into his character. First things first, Phelps was a fake World War 2 hero. He sat in a ditch and somehow survived overnight and was pinned as a savior for pushing back the Japanese. Everyone thought he was a hero but he never accepted it because he knew the truth. A lot of other soldiers would have basked in the false glory, but Phelps never did. Multiple times in the game his false glory was brought up, and every single time Phelps shoots them down saying he’s no hero. Some of you would bring up Phelps’ stubbornness on the battlefield, but what you have to understand is that he was following his orders by the numbers. Sure, he was very black and white as an officer, but he always got the job done. Later on its revealed that he ordered the torching of a cave full of innocent women and children, again he was following orders and had no idea of the bystanders inside. Why fault a man for doing exactly what he’s asked? In fact, what happened to him in the Pacific is what drives him as a detective. He constantly hunts for the truth to every case that’s put on his shoulders. Of course people say he wants the glory but if you look deeper you’ll know Phelps doesn’t want any more fame, he wants to make Los Angeles a better place to live in.
Secondly, a lot of you probably think Cole doesn’t have a sense of humor and never likes to joke around. That’s actually far from true, throughout the game Phelps makes multiple jokes that are often at the expense of his partner. He’s clearly much more intelligent than most throughout the game and most jokes fly over their head, but if you keep an open ear, Cole just might make you laugh once or twice. Sure, he’s as straight-edged as a sword and has a very dry sense of humor, but that’s what makes him so interesting. Listening to his conversations can actually be enlightening as well, you could even learn a thing or two.
During this entire article, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cole cheating on his wife kept popping into your head. Yes, he did cheat on his wife and yes he was caught, but think about it, who didn’t cheat on their wife back then? Ever seen Mad Men? Exactly, it was almost the norm during the 40’s and 50’s. The one and only reason that his cheating led to his demotion and infamy was because of the LAPD’s corruption. They had a scandal of their own to cover up and what better way to cover it up than to focus the media’s attention to the one vice of their poster boy? Actually, had the scandal never happened in the first place, Phelps cheating on his wife wouldn’t have caught a passing eye.
Loving or hating Cole Phelps is a lot like choosing Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip. The condiment debate is famous for making people choose sides. Rarely do you find someone who likes both, or is part of the middle ground. I just wrote an entire article trying to justify Cole’s awesomeness. Sure he isn’t as charming or witty as other protagonists, but breaking down his character and thinking about his traits is what makes him my favorite character in video games.
What about you? Do you hate Cole Phelps like a lot of other people? Who’s your favorite character in all of video games? Comment and let us know!