Friday, February 20, 2009

A Brief Look At Midnight Club: LA

For a couple of months now I have been mentioning my intent to take a look at all the games I have been playing recently. As you are already aware, this has not happened due to my poor time management skills of late last year, the fact I was playing all these games and that I had not finished them yet. Things are different now with some games being finished and progress being made on the ones that are not. I still fully intend on taking an in-depth look but for now I thought I would take a brief glimpse at some of them..

It begins with Rockstar's racing game Midnight Club: LA. Despite being such a big racing fan, this is the first game in the Midnight Club franchise that I have been able to play and well, it was not surprising at all when I realised that I loved the game. Say what you will about all their controversial stuff but Rockstar certainly know how to make a fun game and Midnight Club: LA is no different. The handling took a while to get used to and I didn't like it at first, but the more I drove around LA the more it grew on me and now I think the handling is exactly what you would want for a game like this. It's Arcade, of course, but has subtle hints of realism that makes it feel like you are driving a car instead of floating around on nothing. Visual aids help this cause with things like the in-car camera view adding to the experience. I'm pedantic about making my racing games as realistic as they can be (within their context, of course) so as soon as I found out about the in-car view I refused to use any other. This applies to manual transmission as well which is also something I try to use if it is available. Other graphical things that impressed me were the full day and night cycle and the weather effects. The former because it was great to be racing down one of the freeways and see the sun rising up over a mountain, the latter because I love rain and wish it was in other games.

Around the time of release a lot of people were claiming that the game was hard but I didn't think it was. Sure, some races were and the AI punished you if you made a mistake, but I didn't have too many hassles progressing through the career or finishing the many (there's 72 in total) Goal Attacks. I was surprised at how long the career actually was too, though I never found it to be repetitive or annoying. There's a decent selection of tracks across the city that sees you having variety while also the ability to learn their layouts. It made for a nice balance. Online is a blast too with all of the various modes providing decent fun with friends, though the most fun I had was definitely just cruising around the city in whatever car I wanted with them.

Well, that's a brief look at my thoughts on Midnight Club: LA. As I mentioned before, more in-depth thoughts are on the way but for now, stay tuned for tomorrow's post on another game I have been playing recently.

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