L.A. Noire: Reefer Madness DLC review

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 of detailed cannabis flowers will 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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  • AntistasMetroid - July 16, 2011 1:06 p.m.

    I'm with blackelement17. Soup factories do kick ass. THE BEARD HAS SPOKEN! SILENCE!
  • reaperman22 - July 15, 2011 2:47 p.m.

    just finished it and yeah i guess i agree, i enjoyed it and i think its worth more than a 6 but its definitely the weakest of the dlc, should have released this before nicholson because that one was awesome
  • CitizenWolfie - July 14, 2011 6:55 p.m.

    @BrettEastonElstonsAmericanIco - I wasn't directly calling out the reviewer or even contesting the score the DLC was given. They are after all paid to give their opinion. My point was that considering GamesRadar posted an article here just yesterday about Metacritic removing certain websites and publications from their lists for being inconsistent with scores I found this particular comparison worth mentioning. The fact that one game is praised but given a 6 just for being a bit dull and one is blasted completely and given the same score is exactly the type of inconsistency the Metacritic article was about. I'm a big fan of GR and their reviewers but I'm going to call bullshit when I see it. Fair enough, Mikel gave a score he thought necessary but it's not even a matter of "waaah it didn't get a 10 like Call of Duty!!!!" it's the fact that two massively opposite positive/negative reviews get the same score. I don't think it's "completely unreasonable" to have consistent reviews from a trusted website.
  • BrettEastonElstonsAmericanIco - July 14, 2011 3:47 p.m.

    "OMG IT HAZ GOT A SICKS. BUT YOU GAVE FIFA ELEFEN A TEN AND SHIT RAARRGH." Its a piece of DLC, not a verdict of a trial guys. Chill out. Unless you would like a keyboard and get paid for giving everything tens with stupid reasoning compared to other games and then having to deal with completely unreasonable people in the comments, IE yourselves. Mikel please ignore these idiots. They know not what they are. In other news, I'm going to play having bought it before the revelations of slave labour reared their head. Hope its not as boring as it seems.
  • Crypto140 - July 14, 2011 12:26 p.m.

    Do I donwload the DLC and support the evil in Team Bondi, or do I not play it, which wont let me say I am a hardcore fan of the game? Choices.
  • CitizenWolfie - July 14, 2011 8:36 a.m.

    So you largely like this DLC apart from it being a bit easy and uninspiring and give it a 6. Yet you tore apart the Fallout NV DLC and totally tore Duke Nukem a new one and also give them sixes? You better watch out as Metacritic will be on that shit like a rash. I was rather hoping for more Homicide desk DLC as that was by far my favourite part of LA Noire. It doesn't have to tie into the Dahlia case but a juicy murder mystery would have been welcome regardless.
  • Tomsta666 - July 14, 2011 8:13 a.m.

    Eh... Half an hour killed I suppose. It was definately the weakest of the 3 dlc's. Glad I bought the Rockstar pass when it was on offer, cos' I would've been pissed if I'd bought it individually.
  • thekingrappy - July 14, 2011 5:33 a.m.

    I think it's sorta fitting that Nicholson Electroplating was difficult to follow. Noire is typically complex. Try getting The Big Sleep figured out. And yeah Reefer Madness was the weakest case.
  • BlackElement17 - July 14, 2011 4:43 a.m.

    Soup factories kick ass
  • Z-man427 - July 14, 2011 2:08 a.m.

    I loved this game, but after reading about how Team Bondi's staff was treated by their head or whoever that guy was, it makes me not want to play the DLC, even though I did the Rockstar Pass.
  • crazyW01F - July 13, 2011 11:40 p.m.

    I love LA Noire so much even this sub-par DLC was still fun.
  • Tazerbri - July 13, 2011 11:38 p.m.

    Yay for weed?
  • WonsAuto - July 13, 2011 11:38 p.m.

    I just finished playing through this and pretty much agree. Roy being bored by the factory tour was also me being bored by the factory tour.

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