Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition - Review
|1/9/2005||Take Two||Take Two||Rockstar Leeds|
“Hey look… Futuregamez has just posted a review for Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition... but didn’t they do that back in April?” Well, yes we did for the PS2 (review here), and Dave gave it a high-scoring 92% and summing it up as an ‘essential purchase’. 5 months on, Rockstar have come back rubbing their hands with glee having produced a faithful port to the Sony PSP, and with good reason. That’s right; this version of MC3:DE (for short) isn’t a half-baked feature-pruned port that you might have seen in the past with 3D games being ported to a 2D handheld, this is like playing the PS2 version on the run… or so we’ve been told. But we’re not ones to blindly listen to opinion, so we thought we’d take it for an in-depth spin for ourselves and make up our own minds!
|Note the orange flare checkpoint ahead.|
MC3:DE’s storyline is exactly the same as the PS2 version; set across the expansive city streets of Atlanta, San Diego and Detroit, you must race your way to the top of the street racing circuit, pimping out your cars (which later extend to bikes) with extra bling and schwing. Given the extensive city layouts, you also have the ability to put your race schedule on hold and just cruise to let you scope out all the backstreets, alleyways and secret shortcuts to give you the needed edge to come out on top at the end of each race.
|Yes, there are bikes in the game.|
The gameplay of MC3:DE is hard to flaw; races are tight and cars control as you’d expect them to with noticeable handling changes when you perform even the smallest of tweaks to your ride. Unfortunately, it’s the wait between the races which will at times get on your nerves. Load times between races and cruising, and the garage and cruising at times can push 45 seconds or so which is kinda long to be looking at a spinning hubcap with nothing to read or listen to. While I’m sure the load times were inevitable for a game of this grandeur, they could have been improved with some backing tunes and concept artwork to look at to pass the time.
It should be mentioned too that load times for MC3:DE, while being slightly on the lengthy side have been improved drastically from the US release of the game (which sported load times of 70+ seconds at times). So while reviews of the US version of the game complain at length about the load times, remember that it’s much improved for our local release here in Australia. Looks like PAL gamers are getting some rewards for having delayed games (and systems) hey!
|Now that's a nice ride!|
You could well be forgiven for thinking that some of the screenshots of MC3:DE are simply low-res versions of the PS2 version of the game. During races you’ll be treated to traffic, reflections, smoke, skidmarks, lighting effects and a swab of eye candy making your PSP screen glow with joy. In the garage mode you can customize your ride and truly appreciate its visual splendor with the manual camera controls to pan around and zoom at the minor details. It’s truly amazing that customizable items down to the level of brake lights, front grilles and even the license plate issuing state have been kept intact for the PSP version. Then to see these changes when you’re racing (ie they’re not just something which is used in the garage and then is invisible during the race) really makes you appreciate the power of the PSP. Unfortunately the frame rate isn’t as rock solid or smooth as some other titles such as Wipeout Pure, but this rarely detracts from the gameplay if at all.
Not only does MC3:DE look great, but it sounds even better. How good? Read the PS2 review, and it is that good (save for the use of Dolby PL II though, obviously). Sound effects including tyre squeals and engine tones are authentic to the PS2 version, and the voice acting in the cutscenes and movie sequences is well done (save for the stereotypical Hispanic accent which was possibly overdone). What is really surprising about the audio is the in-game music; all the tunes from the PS2 version have faithfully found their way to the PSP. So crank up the volume and enjoy tunes from Calyx, Fat Joe, Jimmy Eat World, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Sean Paul, Twista and Unwritten Law plus others... so many that it’ll take a minute or so to cycle through them all in-game!
|Effects are pretty spectacular.|
Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition is a prime example of how a handheld game doesn’t necessarily have to be a ‘cut down’ version of its console counterpart. The PSP version holds it’s own against the PS2 version, and while it’s lacking online gameplay this is made up for with ad-hoc multiplayer for up to 6 players. What more can I say though? If you haven’t played the PS2 version, then by all means pick up this PSP version as it’ll keep you happily playing for weeks straight. If you own the PS2 version, then why not relive the rush and pimp your rides on the run!
|Checkpoint in the distance.|
Review By: Chris Gobbett
Order your copy now from Games Warehouse.
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|GRAPHICS||Very sexy, though the framerate could be a little higher.||91%|
|SOUND||How did Rockstar cram so many audio tracks onto the UMD?!||93%|
|GAMEPLAY||Plays great, but the load times break things up a little too much.||85%|
|VALUE||Plays just like the PS2 version, with ad-hoc multiplayer to boot.||91%|
|OVERALL||This is as close as you’ll get to a full-featured console game crammed into a UMD for the PSP. Rockstar have done a tremendous job here with Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition, although it’s a shame that it’s come with some loading issues. If you don’t mind a brief wait between races though, this game is great and will keep you going for weeks.||89%|