Review by Xerion
"A chequered flag of features and flaws..."
Midnight Club II is the sequel of the successful PS2 launch title. On the PC, Midnight Club II is almost a direct port of the console version. Lets have a look:
The best feature of this game by far is the cities themselves. They are enormous, with shortcuts everywhere you look. Rockstar Games has continued with its tradition of adding lots of traffic and other obstacles to keep the game interesting.
The player driven cars are one of this game's weak points. Each car you win will look the same, drive the same, and basically be the same car as before with a little boost to its functionality. The game makes up for this with the inclusion of motorcycles, which handle quite differently from the cars.
The graphics really aren't much of an improvement over the original Midnight Club (but not bad by any means). A disappointment for sure, especially considering the steep recommended requirements. (Rockstar recommends 1.8GHz CPU speed, 256 megabytes of ram, and a 64 megabyte video card.)
This game has the worst soundtrack I have ever heard in a game. You will be confronted by horrible rap, and the most repetitive, monotonous ''dance'' music. You know, the kind that thinks you can't go wrong listening to one note played over and over for five minutes with a resonance filter on it. Sure, there are plenty of games with non-memorable music, but this one goes out of its way to be annoying. To be fair the game does allow you the option of setting up your own MP3 playlist.
The sound is a mixed bag of bad and good. The car engine noises and crashing sounds are fine. Then you get to the voice acting: not so hot. The racers aren't even paying attention to the race most of the time. You can be way ahead of the pack and hear ''I'm on my way to victory!'', or you can be in 2nd place just behind the lead car and hear ''I'm disappointed, I had high hopes for you!''. Also, you'd think in Paris you might find French-speaking people, likewise in Tokyo you might find Japanese-speaking people. Not so, you'll hear only a few phrases of foreign language, and the Japs sound just plain dumb shouting English insults at you.
In one word: bad. I wouldn't recommend the keyboard controls for this game. Then again, I wouldn't recommend a joystick, and don't even *think* that using the mouse is going to work either. This game was designed for a console using a gamepad, and it shows. Given those choices, I stuck with the keyboard, which always will turn the tightest possible turn.
There was no thought put into the multiplayer mode at all. When you race multiplayer, you will race only human opponents, in an empty city. There will be no traffic, no pedestrians, no nothing to keep the game interesting.
I think that overall this game falls short of the original Midnight Club. I miss the distinct cars like the maneuverable Mini-Cooper. The controls are a nightmare, the music is bad, and multiplayer is just an afterthought. At least the races are good.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 07/17/03, Updated 07/17/03
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