L.A. Noire: Reefer Madness DLC review

Not with a bang, but a pot bust

The downloadable cases released so far for L.A. Noire have all been short, but they’ve nonetheless taken us to some interesting places. Nicholson Electroplating gave us the destruction of a small chunk of Los Angeles, and culminated in a huge shootout in the Spruce Goose’s hangar. The Naked City and A Slip of the Tongue had us breaking up theft rings and grilling a few memorable idiots along the way. After all that, however, Reefer Madness feels like a weird note to end on (for now, anyway).

That’s not to say it’s bad. It’s just that, as the last of L.A. Noire’s announced DLC cases, we expected Reefer Madness to be something spectacular and/or huge. Instead, it’s a fairly standard vice case (situated chronologically between The Black Caesar and The Set Up) that pits Cole Phelps and partner Roy Earle against a ring of illegal-immigrant pot smugglers who hide their product in cans of soup.

It’s got a decent balance of shooting, investigation and interrogation, but no real driving sequences, and its three shootouts, one foot chase and lone puzzle are disappointingly predictable and easy. However, it’s still fun and engaging for the hour or so that it lasts, and its inclusion ofdetailed cannabis flowerswill make stoners happy. And really, there isn’t too much else to say about a case whose centerpiece is a guided tour of a soup factory.


Above: No, really

Obviously, part of the problem here is our own expectations, which were built up by the Nicholson Electroplating case. After the explosive, murder-filled near-finale it gave the game (in spite of its somewhat confusing story), we were hoping to see a big finish, or at least some new revelations about L.A Noire’s overarching plot. Instead, Reefer Madness is an interesting, but largely unremarkable case that fits in better with the earlier, more low-key DLC offerings –although even then, it's a little weak by comparison, and adds less to the overall experience. At $3.99/320 Microsoft Points, It’s still worth downloading and playing through (particularly if you bought the Rockstar Pass, in which case you’ve already paid for it), but after the buildup from the last few DLC cases, it’s something of a letdown.

Jul 13, 2011



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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