The very hyped Rockstar sequel Midnight Club 2 is here. Along with Auto Modellista (released 2 weeks earlier) Midnight Club 2 is one of the first of the broadband racers on the PS2. Developed by one of the most respectable video game companies around, Midnight Club 2 just might be the racer of the year.Although I wouldn’t call Midnight Club 2 revolutionary, it definitely is a cool twist on racing games. What’s different? Well there are two things that stand out most. Number one is the adventure aspect of the game. Before and after each series of races you are allowed to cruise around the city and look for another racer to challenge. The some-what chain of events will lead you to new racers in new places. Second thing that stands out are the races. Each city is designed very well. The races can be called everything but boring mainly because you will never pass the same place in a single race. Instead of laps you have to travel from checkpoint to checkpoint which gives you freedom on the route you want and the short cuts you will risk. But don’t worry, the map in the bottom left hand corner will help a beginner find his way. There is also another type of race in which you can get any checkpoint at anytime any way you want to (except the finish point).
It’s not hard to see a resemblance to Rockstar’s Vice City. Each city is large and filled with tons of routes and shortcuts. Certain things in the environment can be knocked down or broken through. The terrain is very varied. Races will take you from the crowded suburbs, to the hilly side streets, to the narrow side roads. There are even pedestrians (but no gore when you hit’em).
Unfortunately, Midnight Club 2’s online play fails to reach it’s potential, which is the case for a lot of PS2 online games. Races are fun and since it’s only broadband there won’t be any lag. But there is nothing there, no reason to play. Why can’t there be a ranking system, to let people set goals? Plus there is no clan support (of course you can always just make a clan without it). Or they could at least give out points that can be used to help you for single and or online play. Don’t expect online to make this game last a lot longer.
The Midnight Club 2 soundtrack is not exactly something special, but at least I never felt it was necessary to turn it off. The music is a mixture of techno, trance, and rap tracks. It fits the game, but again is nothing special.
None of the cars are licensed cars, which may or may not matter to you. Personally it doesn’t bother me. Either way, the cars look great, slick and stylish with your choice of colors. The colors available vary from car to car. Every time you beat a series of races you get the main racer’s wheels (vehicle). Usually the newest car is your best choice for the next race.
Another similarity to Vice City is the addition of motorcycles. I have never felt a cooler feeling in video games than I did on a bike, going 175 MPH and barely making it between the two huge trucks in front of me. Although the bike and car controls are similar it can get in your way if you were just racing with one for a while and decide to switch. For instance, instead of letting go of the gas to turn, you must hold L1 to try to make a sharp turn on the bike.
As of now the only disappointment I have found is the could-be-better online capabilities. This is a game anyone will enjoy, whether you’re a racing fan or not. I insist that everyone should at least rent this game. Then again I don’t really mind, you’re the one missing the awesome experience not me.
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