Review by princetab

Reviewed: 07/13/05

Midnight Club is back, with more rubber to burn.

With DUB magazine's help, Rockstar was able to have "real" names for their cars, unlike the first two installments in the series, where they made up names. And although the made-up names were kind of cool (C'mon, you can't tell me the name "Modo Prego" isn't cool!) Anyway, let's get right down to business, shall we?

Well, if you've played any other Midnight Club games, you'll quickly notice the upgraded (although not too upgraded) graphics within the game. The lighting has improved just a bit since Midnight Club 2. However, once you get into customizations, you'll notice the great graphics. The lighting on each car is done very well, along with the car. The cars really look like their real-life counterparts, and even drive how they would, with the Midnight Club touch, of course ;)

The sounds of the cars have improved quite a bit, though the shattering of the glass didn't change too greatly since MC2 times. The engines of the car each sound different, just as one would expect, due to competition. There's screaming people, sometimes, as you charge towards them, and they jump out of your way. They may even yell, but no swearing due to the "E 10+" rating.

Midnight Club 3 has the best soundtrack, by far, that I have seen in a racing game. However, since the songs are so great and mostly heard, you may drift off into singing, and lose the race. I know it's possible because it happened to me so many times. Midnight Club 3 offers some of the year's best songs from artists of all music genres, which will make the race more fun, and kind of harder at the same time.

Let me start by saying, "OMG! Teh gameplay is ROXXORZ!" Really, need I say more? No? Well, I'll continue anyway. If you've played any previous Midnight Club games, you know what to expect in terms of gameplay. Unlike Need For Speeds, SRS, Juiced, and GTs, this game moves FAST. You actually feel like you're driving 200+, unlike feeling like you're driving just 90! Also, I'd like to say that I was rather impressed with the loading times. They were much, much shorter than those of rival games.

If you've played either NFS:U or NFS:U2, you'll be somewhat disheartened by the modes of racing in Midnight Club 3. There's circuits, ordered races (sprints), unordered races, autocross, and track races. Autocross is on a specific track, with no traffic, where you have to beat your opponents' time. Unordered is when all the checkpoints are shown on the map and you have to collect them, in any order you like. Ordered races are checkpoint to checkpoint, in the order they pop up. Circuit races are lapped races. Some races go as long as 6 laps, which gets tiring, especially if you continuously mess up in one place each lap >_<

Also, the AI in MC3 is amazing. It's not like one of those wannabe games where you can skip races, trick out your ride to the max and expect the same crappy cars to be there. That's what I thought would happen. Boy, was I wrong. Also, as you lose a race, the AI adjusts to match up against your skill level. This makes the race easier the next time you race.

Remember when they announced even the nicest cars will by FULLY customizable? And you got so happy over that!? Well, they lied! I'm sorry to say, but the customization is limited! There's no bodykits, spoilers, hoods, headlights, and taillights for Exotic cars. Sure, we may not see many of these cars being tricked out on the road (that is if we see the cars at all!), but come on. They could've gave us something to work with. Sadly, they haven't put much work into the exotics but everything else seems to be good.

With the customizations, although I was really disheartened to learn that I could never pretty up my beautiful Gallardo, I was impressed with the color selection provided. You can paint your car any color you want. Not only that, if you choose a rare/uncommon color for the body, you can do the very same with the neon! Also, you can do the same with the nitrous, the exhaust, and the HUD! C'mon! That's just wicked!

Oh and let's not forget about the other "customizations." MC3 offers a huge selection of vinyls that you can put on your car, along with customizable license plates. The vinyls have the "traditional" categories (i.e. Flames, Modern, etc.), and just like body paint, can also be painted any color! With the license plates, you can choose license plates that belong to different states of the US, and put anything with letters and numbers, and about 5 symbols (up to 7 characters). It's actually more fun than it sounds. Once you get a really nice ride, you'll want to give it a name within the license plates, I know I have =)

Replay Value
This game lasts a good 25+ hours to beat everything, and a good 60+ hours if you want to unlock each and every car. Remember though, that your garage can hold only 30 of the 60+ cars within the game. Regardless, this game will keep you going for quite some time. Even if you put it down for a while, when you come back, you'll have that same sense of "excitement" you had when you first started playing the game. Not only that, with the online feature, you'll have fun playing this game for ages! Since people you race online are as likely (or more likely) to make mistakes as you, it seems more fun than racing the computer, who barely messes up!

MC3 ranks up with some of the best racing games ever made. Sure, it may not be as graphically advanced as GT4(PS2) or Forza Motorsport(Xbox), but it sure is fun as hell to play. With all the hype about underground racing, it's nice to see one developer go and make something that'll include more than just Civics, Celicas, and your typical "rice" cars.

Graphics 8/10
Sound 8/10
Music 10/10
Gameplay 9/10
Customization 9/10
Replay Value 9/10

Overall (Not average) 9/10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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