Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition - Review
|15/4/2005||Take Two||Rockstar San Diego||1-2, 8||G8+||Medium|
Another month, another couple of racing games hit the PS2. It's not very often however that a game comes along with as much anticipation, or pre-release positive press, as Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition. I assume most of you have heard of Rockstar Games. You know, that little company that develops Grand Theft Auto as well as the uber-violent but quite impressive Manhunt. A couple of years ago Rockstar purchased Angel Studios, the developers of the first two Midnight Club titles and as well as renaming the company to Rockstar San Diego, got them working on a third Midnight Club title. And here it is...
|MC3 is great graphically.|
The developers have included over 60 vehicles in this title, we won't list them all - we did that in the preview - but needless to say the game includes cars and motorbikes from manufacturers such as Aprillia, GM, Chevy, Ducati, Lotus and Volkswagon just to name a few. It's impressive with a wide range to select from. Perhaps more important to gamers will be the ability to mod the cars. This includes body kits, brakes, chassis, computers, jet kits (for street bikes), intakes, headers, exhausts, nitrous, rims, super chargers, tires, transmissions, and turbos. I won't list all the manufacturers but needless to say many components include parts from almost a dozen different manufacturers.
Even the title of this game, Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition, may generate interest from some readers due to the subtitle - DUB Edition. For those of you that don't know DUB is a magazine dedicated to automotive lifestyle, and hotting up cars with all the latest gear. You know what I mean, these are the cars you see cruising by in every hip-hop/rap video on MTV. To be honest I'm not too sure how much of an impact DUB magazine has had on the game, but I guess for people that are really into modding their cars, and even to the casual gamer, it gives the game that little extra street cred.
|Moving at breakneck speed.|
In terms of gameplay the series has always had an arcade slant, and this title is no exception. Set across the three cities of Atlanta, San Diego and Detroit Midnight Club 3 is focused on the biggest street racing cities in America. As is the case with more and more racing games, including EA's very successful Need For Speed Underground 2, the game allows you to drive around the streets before finding other cars to race, shops to purchase parts in or scenery to take in. The actual driving is superbly handled with responsive vehicles and, unlike the other big racer release this year in Gran Turismo 4, dozens of cars on the roads - all of which can be damaged. This game isn't limited to cars however with motorbikes playing a pretty big role. I don't quite think their handling is quite as exciting as the cars, but as in real life they're a little more sensitive to being thrown around at high speed.
The bulk of Midnight Club 3's single player game can be found in the career mode. Through this mode you unlock new cars, upgrades and tracks. It must be said that the single player career mode is a fairly decent game too with well over 20 hours needed to complete the game. One of the keys to this game is the amount of unlockable content which runs into hundreds of items. When you've finished with this it's onto the multi-player, the highlight being the 8-player online gameplay. It's fast and frantic and while not lag free (thanks to Australia's remoteness and lack of servers) it's still a blast. Some of the online game modes include Capture the Flag and Tag - terrific fun.
|The vet gets 'em wet!|
OK, so no game is perfect, and the same can be said of Midnight Club 3. One issue I have is that all three cities (Atlanta, San Diego and Detroit) featured in the game do seem too similar. Sure, if you're American you will probably tell them apart but they just don't have the large differences found in games like Burnout 3 which has cities based in America, Europe and Asia - three very different locations.
|The motion blur looks great.|
Graphics are another of Midnight Club 3's real strengths. Sure there's an occasional frame rate glitch, even with the game running at 25fps as standard, and some of the detail in the on-road traffic and pedestrians could be better, but the game has a gorgeous visual style to it. The backgrounds look spectacular as you whizz past them (they aren't quite as impressive when you slow down, but most games lose visual impact when you do that) while the cars, while lacking some finer detail, deform when in collisions sending parts in all directions. In fact the spot effects such as motion blur, particles and lighting is among the most impressive seen on the Playstation 2 to date. Most importantly the game is lightning fast and there really is only one other game that has the same sense of speed to it, EA's Burnout 3. The intro movies and menu presentation are also second to none.
Sound is yet another aspect of this title which is among the best on Playstation 2. As with any racing game the sound effects are crucial to giving the game a sense of realism and Rockstar have created some wonderful effects. Car collisions and engines may not be as realistic as in some other games, but they are meaty and you really hear the action. What really surprised me is how good the soundtrack is on this game. It really makes EA's Burnout 3: Takedown track listing seem pretty piss poor by comparison. The tracks on Midnight Club 3 not only encompass a wider range of musical tastes, but are much better tracks in general. Bands included in this game include Calyx, Fat Joe, Jimmy Eat World, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Sean Paul, Twista and Unwritten Law just to name a few. It really is a fantastic mix. EA - hang your head in shame! One of the more interesting aspects is that the amount of voices in the game seems to be toned down from Midnight Club II. Still, you don't really miss it. Finally the sound is enhanced considerably with the use of Dolby Pro Logic II.
|Expect spectacular crashes too!|
If you like racing games then you must pick up Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition. Rockstar have cornered the action market with GTA and while there is more competition in the racing field this game is right up there with the best of them. In fact, I haven't had as much fun with a racing game since EA's Burnout 3: Takedown released almost a year ago. Fortunately this game is significantly different from that title - enough so that owning both titles certainly won't hurt you.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||MC3 really captures the essence of speed - with gorgeous effects.||86%|
|SOUND||Fantastic music and wonderful effects make this an aural treat.||90%|
|GAMEPLAY||Fast. Fast. Fast. Fun. Fun. Fun. You'll never tire of this game.||96%|
|VALUE||A lengthy single player racing game, then you hit multi-player.||92%|
|OVERALL||What a fantastic title Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition has turned out to be. An essential purchase. 'Nuff said.||92%|