Is the Series Still Burning Rubber? - Midnight Club: Los Angeles - Xbox 360 - www.GameInformer.com
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Midnight Club: Los Angeles

Is the Series Still Burning Rubber?

Midnight Club is back for next-gen consoles, and fans will be shocked at just how good their old favorite looks. Rockstar's Rage engine proves it can handle the high-speed action of Midnight Club while recreating a virtual Los Angeles nearly as detailed as Liberty City. Unlike Burnout Paradise, these streets are full of life – pedestrians, tons of ambient traffic, real-life stores, and L.A. landmarks like the Comedy Store and Amoeba Records.

The cityscape is amazing. The level of detail and the sheer amount of roadway to tear up seems limitless, and the diversity of L.A. lends it a less monochromatic feel than Burnout Paradise. But the real way Rockstar San Diego proves itself the genre master is the street design. While it's most certainly an open world – any number of routes might serve equally well in most cases – MC: LA subtly clues you in to the best routes and hidden shortcuts that make it play as fluidly as any track-based racer. In comparison to my experience with other games of its ilk, I rarely found myself getting lost or off track.

That's not to say it abandons challenge: the insane speeds and canny enemy AI will put your skills to the test. That doesn't even figure in the revamped police chases. The 16-player multiplayer matches also include a number of race, capture the flag, and team-based modes of mayhem. Thankfully, the control mechanics are dead on, offering a superb mix of arcade accessibility and fine control.

Longtime fans will be pleased to note that special abilities like Roar and the new Electromagnetic Pulse are assignable to any car and can be changed – one of many nice improvements to the interface and feature set. Despite DUB not being in the title, MC: LA has all the customization features (visual and performance based) of the last game and more.

As good as it is, Midnight Club's not perfect. The plot, a cliched affair, features some horrible dialogue – apparently every single person in L.A. is a macho toolbox (actually, maybe that's true). If I had a quarter for every time I was called ''tough guy,'' ''esse,'' ''holmes,'' or ''a little girl,'' I could probably buy another Xbox 360. Rockstar traditionally excels at pop culture, but this seems to hit all the wrong notes in an attempt at being edgy. While I love what they've done with L.A., ditching the three-city format of the last title makes the progression feel more static. There's still much to do and explore, but the excitement of graduating to a new area is gone. This sense of stasis pervades the entire game to a degree.

There's no disguising the fact that the Midnight Club basics have remained largely unchanged since the second game. One wonders just how many more miles are left on the tread. But for now, Midnight Club: Los Angeles is just what the doctor ordered: a fun, fast racing experience with enough content to keep you playing for months.

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Second Opinion:

9.00

In Midnight Club: Los Angeles, developer Rockstar San Diego transforms the bumper-to-bumper crawl of Los Angeles' street life into a roaring blur of rubber and metal, making this unlikely venue for one of video games' most enjoyable circuits. In this iteration, the blindingly fast cars take the backseat to the dynamic track designs. From the shifting traffic patterns to the winding flow of the road, Rockstar created some exciting courses. Throw in aggressive AI rivals who always push for photo finishes, and police officers who you can't seem to shake, and most of the races fry every nerve in your body. Unlike the similarly designed Burnout Paradise, this game is hassle free. You can restart races whenever you like, and if you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, you can usually compete in a ''race back'' event to return to where you need to be. Vehicular customization is surprisingly intuitive as well. Rockstar San Diego has long been vested in the street racing genre, and Midnight Club: Los Angeles is by far and away the company's most impressive effort.

User Reviews:

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  • 9.50
    Yes, it's been 5 years since MidNight Club: LA was released. Yet in all that time nothing else has been able to compete with it's gameplay!!! I had it pre-ordered and picked up the first day it came to GameStop and it's still one of the best purchases I've made for my XBOX 360 to date...
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  • 9.00
    This was an amazing game but for me it has Limited appeal,after a few races it got boring.Everything in this game was ok,but few problems.I recommend this game to anyone that like smashing,raceing,Cars and more.There are a large amount of exotic cars to get your hands on,but you have to earn by beating...
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  • 9.75
    This game got me hooked the minute i saw the entire land scape. The way LA is recreated with such detail and perfection sometimes makes you pay more attention too the graphics than the race (but then you get to see a car hit an oncoming bus... at 200mph). But as i progressed to an auto shop, i found...
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  • 9.75
    With the speed the style and the fun midnight club Los Angeles comes into your houses. I love this game so much i nearly started to cry. The free roam is so great that you will start to you are a real street racer. You com as this new guy from that god forsaken city clevland and you want to start racing...
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  • 9.50
    midnight club Los Angles is so awsome! the best thing is the superbikes. the coolest car is the Dodge Charger.I have the game.I own a lamborgini Murcielago. it has some nice rims. it was the dub addion.
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  • 9.00
    Rockstar has taken the driving from Grand Theft Auto IV and just focused on that. It feels like a GTA world dedicated just to racing. Los Angeles looks beautiful. The city has a full day/night cycle, and it rains really pretty rain. There are pedestrians on the streets (no you can’t run them over...
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