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Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition

Platform(s): PlayStation 2, Xbox
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Take Two
Developer: Rockstar

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Xbox Review - 'Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition'

by Geson Hatchett on May 16, 2005 @ 3:26 a.m. PDT

Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition is the quintessential racing game for any true aficionado of the automotive and racing lifestyle. Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition is the only game to offer a full range of street vehicle culture including over 50 fully customizable licensed vehicles. The full spectrum includes import tuners, motorcycles and luxury rides all of which are fully customizable in both style and performance. Compete head to head with the best and most stylish racers in 3 of America’s premier cities, Detroit, Atlanta and San Diego, each with multiple living and breathing neighborhoods. Now, through the combination of Rockstar San Diego's technical prowess and DUB's notoriety as the pulse of the automotive lifestyle world, we are poised to once again push the boundaries of speed and style well beyond anything ever seen before in racing game.

Genre: Racing
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar San Diego
Release Date: April 12, 2005

Buy 'MIDNIGHT CLUB 3: Dub Edition': Xbox | PlayStation 2

Well, that's it. Everyone else can stop now.

Need For Speed, you put up a good fight – Street Racing Syndicate, not so much; but now, we can all go home. We have a winner.

Seriously, as far as street racing games go, it just doesn't get any better than this. Shoot, as far as driving games in general go, the same sentence just might apply here.

Not an hour into Rockstar's Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition, you will realize that you've stepped into one of the most expansive, content-laden, time-consuming games the world has to offer.

(Mmmm, look at all those buzzwords up there. Still, if the shoe fits …)

People who've been into street racing games know how this one starts already - you're given a base amount of money to buy a car. It won't be anything incredibly fancy, just something to get you from point A to point B. You're then plopped into a city, free to explore, challenge people to races (as well as accept challenges to them), sanctioned events, gang events, you name it, you race it. There's always money on the line, but sometimes you'll get some new parts or a slick new ride to add to your collection if you do well enough.

You have your garage, where you can modify and upgrade your vehicles, as well as buy new ones. There are scads of makes, models and manufacturers to choose from, as well as the option to both decorate your favorite cars, and sell unwanted ones. Like many other car customization games, you're free to make your car an extension of your personality while at the same time increasing its capabilities. By the time everything's over, you'll have an arsenal of high-class, tricked out automobiles at your disposal to destroy the competition with across three expansive renditions of United States cities: San Diego, Atlanta, and Detroit.

God help me, there's a distinct Pokemon vibe to this - oddly enough, that's part of what makes this game so special.

The other part of what makes this game so special is that no matter whether or not you're an auto-head, a total racing newbie, whether or not you like your games arcade-style or simulative, whether or not you like to race practically or with fantasy elements, this is the game for you.

The trick to Midnight Club 3 isn't so much that it brings a whole lot of new things to the table (even though it does bring some); it's that it does what all of the other games in its genre have done, better than any of those other games to date.

If I tried to describe all of the possibilities in this game, all the things you can do, all the tricks you could pull, in the detail that I wanted to, this review would be twice normal size. Instead, simply know that everything you've wanted to be able to do in a racing game - heck, in a game where you can drive a car - you can do here. Want to simply race through a city, arcade-game style? Done. Want to do midair tricks, hit the nitrous, blaze through a city while watching the lights and traffic become a blur, shift your weight and ride on two wheels, or give yourself slow-motion camera tricks? Sure, why not! Feel like not paying attention to police, traffic laws or the value of human life as you cruise through the streets? Go wild.

Ever wish your cars had special abilities? Guess what? They're here. The first time you slow down time to make a turn, or unleash a shockwave that sends cars scattering to each side of you, the rush and shock that is felt is immense. However, you quickly get used to such fantastical abilities as part of gameplay, and part of strategy. No element of Midnight Club 3, no matter how simple or strange it may seem at first is out of place. Everything holds together. The experience is cohesive.

The car physics also add to the experience in their own way. They perfectly straddle the line between simulation and arcade. People said such a thing couldn't be done. They were wrong. Each class of vehicle handles differently, and when modified in even the slightest way, that difference will be further felt when you attempt to steer it afterwards. Damage is taken into account, both by the performance of your vehicle and by way of the controller's modified vibration. Weightier luxury sedans can plow through traffic while losing minimal speed, while import tuners are good all-arounds, and bikes are nimble but get smacked around easily.

The game looks as good as you'd expect, in all honesty. The cities represented are done so fairly loosely, but with a surprising amount of detail nonetheless. The cars look great both up-close and from a distance, and show visible damage in the appropriate places when banged up. The sense of speed the game gives, especially once a nitrous boost is used, is astounding, and rivaled only by futuristic racing games a la F-Zero GX. In a surprising twist, there are even occasional day and night shifts, instead of the stereotypical "always seedy nighttime" atmosphere that most games go for. This game looks good where it counts, and frankly, that's enough.

The sound effects and ambience in this game are quite good. Crashes are realistic, police loudspeakers are menacing, the roar of the engine and the "whoosh" of a nitrous boost rush all work. However, the real show comes from the soundtrack. Not only are there tons of licensed songs that are great for racing, but the game also supports custom soundtracks. I don't think anything else needs to be said here.

There is honestly only one thing that I can think of as a downside to this title. Specifically, there's a lot of load time, even for the XBox version. It's not always enough to annoy, but you'll be twiddling your thumbs for a lot longer than you'd like. Also, when the game is loading, your DVD drive will be putting out some serious work. This is the first game I've played that makes my XBox drive sound like it came out of a PSOne. That's not exactly a good thing.

Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition is one of those "games for people who like games." There's something for absolutely everyone in here, and there's always enough of that something to keep this disc in your system for weeks to come. Long after you're finished building your automotive empire, you'll still have editable races, online contests and simple cruising sessions at your disposal. It's good for a quick play or for a long stretch, and you should definitely have it in your collection.

 

Score: 9.3/10


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