Nicholson Electroplating is the third DLC case for L.A. Noire and the first that wasn't offered as a pre-order bonus through any retailers. It's an Arson Case, accessible from the "Cases" menu on the title screen. Upon launching the case, you find Cole partnered with his arson desk buddy, Herschel Biggs. After covering a tiny bit of the overarching story (nothing new, just a recap to remind you where in the story Nicholson Electroplating takes place), a massive explosion complete with a mushroom cloud rocks the Los Angeles suburbs. You jump in the car with Herschel, winding through debris and cars that are fleeing the area to find the Nicholson Electroplating plant has suffered a massive explosion.
There are no new gameplay elements added to Nicholson Electroplating. There are several crime scenes to scour for evidence and witnesses or suspects to interrogate. Nicholson Electroplating really has a different feel from the rest of L.A. Noire in its set pieces. The rest of Team Bondi's 1947 Los Angeles romp features few big set pieces in the investigations, but Nicholson Electroplating not only has the devastation of the electroplating plant (complete with dramatically affected civilian AI) but also features the famous Hughes Aircraft hangars and the legendary H4 "Spruce Goose" Hercules. For those who've never heard of either, Howard Hughes was an eccentric billionaire industrialist known for his aeronautical endeavors. The Spruce Goose was an experimental plane built almost entirely from wood and still holds records for the largest flying boat and the largest wingspan of any airplane ever produced. It was so large, people never believed it would fly, but it did.
The story of Nicholson Electroplating is good, arguably better than the main Arson Desk story, but not as rich as the Black Dahlia storyline featured in the main game. The acting, sound, visuals, and all other presentation features are at the same high-quality as the rest of L.A. Noire but it doesn't add anything to the still rather empty sandbox world. There's still something intangible that's added to L.A. Noire with Nicholson Electroplating. Perhaps it was the awesome feeling of walking in and on a virtual reproduction of the Spruce Goose or the inherent fear of nuclear attack in 1947 Los Angeles after the electroplating plant explodes. Whatever it is, Nicholson Electroplating sucked me in faster than any other case in the game.
This DLC pack isn't a particularly long experience for the $3.99 or 320 MS Points price tag, but it is a really good one. The new locations and set pieces, as well as the fully-acted and voiced segments are all at the same high-quality as the rest of the game, so you'll have a great time with the 2-3 hours Nicholson Electroplating will give you. Ultimately, what makes Nicholson Electroplating a great DLC case are the memorable moments. Most complain that the rest of the game feels like a letdown after the excellence of the Black Dahlia stories, and more cases like Nicholson Electroplating could have certainly fixed that.