L.A. Noire DLC review: Slip of the Tongue, Naked City, Reefer Madness, Nicholson Electroplating
There is a load of DLC available for L.A. Noire, and if you want it all, irrespective of what’s said in this review, make sure you take advantage of the Rockstar Pass. For a reasonable one-off payment (£9.99/$11.99), you get most of the content, including two detective suits (Broderick and Sharpshooter), four cases (Naked City, A Slip of the Tongue, Nicholson Electroplating and Reefer Madness) and The Badge Pursuit challenge. That leaves only the The Consul’s Car to pick up.
Suited and booted
Whether you actually need every piece of DLC or not is another matter though; the suits are especially unremarkable. The Sharpshooter detective suit will improve your aim with pistols and rifles, but shooting isn’t that hard and Phelps’ aim is already decent – and the suit isn’t the best shade of beige either. The blue Broderick outfit is much more stylish. Wearing it allows Phelps to take more damage and deal more with his fists, but, once again, it’s unlikely to be something most players are going to need.
Another suit is unlocked by completing The Badge Pursuit challenge. Scattered across LA, in the most unlikely places, are 20 badges. You’ll clues of their whereabouts on the Rockstar Social Club. If you finding them all, you will unlock the Button Man detective suit. It looks like a lighter version of the Sunset Strip outfit and it enables Phelps to carry more ammo. Completing The Badge Pursuit challenge also gives players five extra XP points. L.A. Noire already has a number of fetch quests so this challenge is unlikely to appeal to most players, except the most hardened completionists. A silver or gold trophy might have attracted trophy hunters, but alas there’s no trophy at all. Madness.
A curious case, or four
That leaves us with the cases, which is the content you really want to know about, right? These slot straight into the main campaign if you download them before you play. Otherwise, you can find them by looking in the appropriate folder after selecting “cases” from the main menu.
The Consul’s Car (Traffic case)
The Consul’s Car has a fairly light-hearted mood that fits in nicely with the rest of the Traffic cases. A car belonging the Consul General of Argentina is found in a suburban back alley with missing tyres and license plates, and if you handle the interrogations just right, you’ll learn the strange reasons why it’s been dumped there.
It’s a fairly short and uncomplicated case, but that’s understandable if you take into consideration the fact it’s meant to slot in after Phelps’ first real case. If you’re playing L.A. Noire for the first time with all the DLC integrated, it’s not going to bother you, but it may leave you feeling a little unchallenged if you’re returning to it later.
Nevertheless, the case plays out in a surprising and amusing way. The information you extract from the Consul General is particularly shocking. Interrogating an inquisitive old local man and a good old fashioned car dealer are highlights, and the case also features a great car chase too.
The case plays to negative foreign stereotypes a little too much for comfort, but it stays just about within reason. The Consul’s Car isn’t the most memorable case in the game, but it’s no duffer either.
A Slip of the Tongue (Traffic case)
Phelps’ and Bekowsky are sent to investigate a report of a young guy driving around in a stolen vehicle only to uncover a huge auto-theft ring, which seemingly involves local garages and a company responsible for printing ownership papers. It sounds big, but there’s a distinctively small-scale feel about A Slip of the Tongue. It starts with a dull car chase and ends with a minor shoot-out, and the suspects are mostly forgettable – except maybe the used car salesman (yes, another one). That’s not to say it’s an easy case to get five stars on. The suspects, while unremarkable, are difficult to read and the clues aren’t always obvious.
A Slip of the Tongue is not bad by a long stretch, but you can see why it was cut from the main story.
Reefer Madness (Vice case)
This Vice case isn’t to be mistaken for the 1939 film of the same name, which shows a group of teens descend into madness after trying marijuana. No, this is much more concerned with the dealing of the drug, rather than the taking of it. It also has an interest in soup believe it or not.
Phelps and Earle are tipped off about a drug distributing ring by junkie Freddie Calhoun. He’s not the most trustworthy source but his tip is sound. After raiding the distributor’s house, the detectives (if you looks closely) will uncover evidence of a much larger operation and learn how they are distributing their stuff.
This is one of the more action-focused DLC cases, so expect to have plenty of gunfights. If that worries you, rest assured that there is still a fair amount of investigating and interrogating to do as well. You even get a guided tour of a soup factory, which is always nice. It’s another case with a “back-up material” feel about it, but The Reefer Madness is still a good Vice case for anyone looking for an excuse to spend more time in LA.
The Naked City (Vice case)
Naked City is the best DLC case, and it has more than enough quality to have been left in the game. It was most likely left out because it’s really a Homicide case, not Vice, and the team were probably worried that players would’ve had their fill of murder after the Black Dahlia cases.
Phelps and Earle are called to a crime scene to investigate a morphine-related death of a fashion model, found drowned in the bathtub of her apartment. Old partners Pakowski and Rusty are at the scene, and Rusty gives his usual helpful advice: “she took some sleeping pills and fell asleep in the bath”. The trusted Dr. Carruthers is thankfully there to point out evidence indicating she died before entering the water. Murder it is then, but who is the killer?
We find evidence of men surrounding her in life, and we learn that she’s being overloaded with prescription drugs. The doctor seems suspicious, and her modelling career turns out to be less than glamorous too. Next up we discover stoen goods and learn about fancy parties. What’s going on?
Naked City is a well-thought through case with a few interesting, interwoven narratives. You get to investigate several locations and take part in a couple of chase scenes. There is a tailing section mid-way through but it’s thankfully not too boring.
Loved L.A. Noire and you want just one more case? Make this the one you go for.
Nicholson Electroplating (Arson case)
If you want something completely different go for Nicholson Electroplating. It begins with a huge explosion at an electroplating factory, which Biggs thinks is caused by a Russian bomb. The blast destroys the surrounding streets, and you can see all the wreckage as you drive to epicentre.
It soon becomes clear that the business was a front for a factory responsible for developing military and spy technology. The case then gets more intriguing, because it’s unclear whether or not these weapons are designed for the US or a foreign enemy. Evidence points to a scientist called Tomoko Okamoto being involved with the accident, which is interesting: it’s not the kind of name you’d associate with the US military in the 1940s.
There is a Bond feel about this case. It’s packed full of spy gadgets, government secrecy and a fair few shoot-outs. There’s also a funny moment when Biggs is astonished to see the mayor doing a TV broadcast. You even get to explore a Spruce Goose – inside, outside, under and on top.
Graphically Nicholson Electroplating doesn’t look as polished as it should, and it has a fair few bugs. Nevertheless, the novelty of the case should allow you to look past that. It’s an excellent case but you may want to get it after finishing the game. It’s positioned near the end, where it interrupts the flow of the main story.