I come to you fresh off a downtown Los Angeles street race that saw me burning down Sunset Blvd. before twisting my way onto the East-bound 101 Freeway, then getting back off the freeway and onto victory. What the hell am I talking about? Midnight Club: Los Angeles. I only wish I could do that.
Rockstar Games, responsible for past Midnight Club games but most notably the Grand Theft Auto series, released the game this past week for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. While there is a bit of a story to entice you into racing, your main focus is to rise to underground stardom through various types of street races throughout Los Angeles.
For starters, the map is huge and a decently fair representation of LA. Obviously, not everything can be the same as it is out there, but for a video game, Rockstar got it pretty dead-on. And being from Southern California, I should know. Not that I’m being bias, but I got a little homesick shredding down the 101 before hooking onto the 5 freeway. If you play the game, you’ll see various landmarks throughout the city, such as the Staples Center, Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood, the Santa Monica Pier and so on.
The cars and bikes you will be driving are pretty diverse. Working your way through the game will unlock different muscle, tuner, exotic and luxury cars. Rockstar even through in the sexy Chevrolet Camaro Concept, as seen in Michael Bay’s Transformers in the form of Bumblebee.
Now, I’ve been playing up the game. Time for the negatives now. The game is INCREDIBLY difficult. As in, not too suitable for a beginner or a novice gaming racer. The computer racers are incredibly fast and accurate, rarely having cross traffic ramming into them. Out-running the cops is also very hard to do, but if you can speed like no other, you may be able to get out of it.
Visibility is also an issue. Sometimes, you can’t tell if you are approaching a jump, another car or wall. By the time you can, chances are you already crashed into it.
On the whole though, Midnight Club: LA offers up some great things for you to get started with this weekend if you care to take a gander. You can customize your cars, create your own races, rate other players’ work, and take your skills online with various multiplayer modes. So if you have a chance, check out some West Coast-style racing.