"The best racing game ever??? maybe..."

It seems to me that almost everything Rockstar touches nowadays turns into gold. The first Midnight Club wasn't bad, but just wasn't up to par with Gran Turismo. However, this game, in my opinion, completely blows GT3 out of the water, if for nothing but the fun factor. MC2 is all about fun while you weave through on coming traffic while racing through 3 of the world's largest cities, dodging the idiots who don't even look as they cross the street (pedestrians and cross-traffic) and busting out the NOS at the right time.

Graphics: The graphics are at least on par with Gran Turismo 3, probably a bit better. I was surprised at some of the details, as for once, the headlights and tail lights actually look pretty realistic. What surprised me more was the first time I hit a parking meter, as quarters flew out all around me, and the first time I hit a light pole and saw the sparks as it skidded across the asphalt. This is definitely one of the places where this game shines, as it pushes your ps2 to the limits.

Music/Sound (Audio): The sounds in this game are pretty good, but the music is kind of average. If you've got surround sound, you'll probably be looking around when you hear the cop sirens (at least in the us city). Each city even features a police siren native to that city. The music is ok, I didn't mind it most of the time, but there were a few times when I just had to turn it off. Overall, I'd have to say that the music's not quite up to par with Gran Turismo 3, but the sound effects are better.

Story: I'm not all the way through, but there's not much of a story yet. You start off with a crappy car and then you race some fat guy to get a better one, which you then use to race others and get their cars. The one thing I kind of like is that the main character doesn't have a name.. he/she is you. This helps to bring you into the game, and sometimes you'll actually feel like you're cruising down a Parisian street in a strange European car with NOS.

Gameplay: Now here is the real appeal of this game, at least to me. The controls are exquisite, and some of the cars handle like a dream. But of course the game doesn't just drop you into the middle of the racing scene, you will just start with the basics and learn more as you go along. From burnouts to slipstream turbo to going on two wheels to avoid traffic, you will get to do just about anything you can imagine. The character designs of the other racers was spectacular, although a few looked a little freaky. The voice acting wasn't bad, typical of Rockstar. This is the one place where it totally blows GT3 away.

Replayability: After beating career mode once, you can always beat it again and again, I hear there's a code for increased difficulty as well. Plus, there's circuit mode, a race editor, along with online play. With all this, you just can't go wrong...

Overall: More fun than a barrel of monkeys (and Gran Turismo 3), possibly the best racing game ever.

Rent or buy: If you don't like racing games, rent it first, then I can almost guarantee you'll go out and buy it, but if you're a racing fan, you just can't go wrong...

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 05/19/03, Updated 05/19/03

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