Review: Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition
October 15, 2006
Here In My Car
Rockstar San Diego / PlayStation 2 Xbox PSP / Everyone 10+
Midnight Club was the original street racer. It combined arcade style racing, awesome customization options and a slick, shiny, nighttime setting to great effect. The newest MC has been much anticipated greatly due to the addition of the DUB magazine license ensuring that the ride pimping aspect of the game would be top notch. The racing part has followed suit and the overall package is by far street racing at its finest.
Probably the best part of the game is the three surprisingly large locations based, respectively, on San Diego, Atlanta, and Detroit. Each city features a wealth of secret alleys and other thoroughfares and it pays to thoroughly explore in the pleasant cruise mode. The cruises are made even more pleasant by the extensive soundtrack featuring artists based in each of the cities and more. Some well-known Detroit landmarks are featured in the games such as Ford Field, Comerica Park, Cobo hall, and the Joe Louis Fist. Also featured are some Detroit artists as the Tek Brothers, Mr. De, and the Mad Mike aka the Maritan
The first thing gamers experience, as intended, is the car customization. Gamers pick from a limited initial variety of cars and are able to take advantage immediately. Part of what makes the customization so accessible is that the basic paint options are free. This means that gamers can fiddle around to find the right paint job without spending a lot of their hard earned money. Other options range from performance parts to decals to body kits; meaning that two similar rides are hard to find. Further variety comes from the seven different car types, all of which drive and handle differently. Each of these types has one of three special moves: the Zone slows down time to allow for tricky maneuvering, Agro turns a car into an indestructible battering ram, and Roar lets out a shockwave that clears the path ahead. Some of these come in real handy when maneuvering the challenging courses.
An open city layout during races means that gamers can find unique routes through the ample back alleys and secret passes. Among the standard and dominant checkpoint races are dash, circuit, and timed races, and unordered races, which can be a welcome change and are still enjoyable. All these race types are also online now, adding to the great single player. The deep career mode allows for many an hour of pure racing with barely a plot point to interrupt. MC3, unlike Need For Speed Underground 2, doesn’t press a bad street racer story on gamers. They recognize that the racing is what matters and only use an occasional cutscene or voiceover to inform about new races. Another annoying issue from NFSU2, the omnipresent advertising, is, thankfully, nowhere to be found. Now cars will acquire damage. Although they take quite a beating before being incapacitated, smoke from under the hood is still something to watch for during a brutal race. Throughout the city are four types of challenges. Optional races do not fit into the story and are purely for the money. Other racers are also cruising around and can be challenged to a set of three races. Club challenges are car type specific and have about four races per city. Finally tournaments are based on points won by placing in races and feature a car and large monetary reward.
All the customization and racing options make for a deep and enjoyable game. The only minor complaints are the sometimes-floaty physics and a want for vehicles from Ford and some Japanese manufacturers. Midnight Club 3 is a nearly perfect example of the street racing genre and the best arcade racer on the market.
By Zack Rovinsky