Review by SniperDragon
"Illegal Street Racing at its Finest"
When you hear Rockstar, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? GTA3? Vice City? Well now, you’ll be thinking of Midnight Club II. Midnight Club II to is the sequel to the hit game Midnight Club. It was developed by Rockstar San Diego, and published by Rockstar Games.
In Midnight Club II (referred to as MC2 for the rest of the review) you play as a lowly street racer trying to make a name for himself. You start by racing other inferior racers and pretty soon you start moving up the racing ladder. On your way to the top you make a few friends and get a whole lot of new cars.
If you played the original Midnight Club, you will be able to tell that the graphics have been totally revamped. The cars no longer look like boxes but they look like their real life counterparts. Even though the cars aren’t given their real name they do resemble many real life cars and you can tell which car is which. The city is now more detailed and more intricate. Now there are buildings, alleys, and parks that can be driven through and used as shortcuts. Pedestrians now are more lifelike; they are no longer cartoons, but instead real moving people. They try and run out of the way but they got no chance against your 200 mph racer. The races in the rain are absolutely amazing. The water drips from tunnels and splashes from under your wheels. But this game is not perfect. Usually the framerate is pretty good, but when there are several cars in the screen the framerate slows down tremendously.
This is where the game really shines. The gameplay is extremely good, but there are quite a few problems with the AI. I’ll start off with the good in MC2. There are two main modes in MC2. There is online play and offline play. (Both will be explained later on) The controls of the game are comfortable and easy to learn and use. You also get a motorcycle in MC2, which they did not have in the original. The races are fun and very intense and most races have a large jump or sprint to the finish line. Later on in the game as you progress the races start to get harder and harder. (As expected) Pretty soon it’ll take you about an hour to finish a race after you restart over and over, then pretty soon during the final races it will take you 3-5 hours to complete. So one of my complaints with the game is that its gets to difficult and it takes to long to complete. The difficulty does not take away the fun but it does make you very frustrated and angry. There are glitches in the game and they can be noticed quite often. Sometimes when you crash into the walls or pillars the floors texture will start to flash and change. Not a big deal but can sometimes be annoying. The physics are average in the game. Most of the times its good but sometimes when you’re racing and you hit a pillar dead on you completely stop instantly with no recoil action. Another glitch or AI stupidity is when you’re about to go up a freeway ramp, you hit an AI car and he just barely misses the entrance. He keeps trying to push through the cement barrier of the freeway and just stands there pushing until the race is over. When all he needs to do is backup about 10 yards and then drive up the freeway. It usually doesn’t happen often but can be an annoyance when it does happen. The worse thing about the AI though, is the cheating. Sometimes during the race the computer cars will try and take you out, they hit you and attempt to bump you in the wall. They do this because they don’t want you to win, and the only way you win is by beating all the racers. So if one takes you out then the other racers have a better chance of beating you. The AI traffic also cheats. When you’re racing down the street and they’re going the opposite direction the swerve right towards you. Some people claim that the AI is trying to get out of your way but I know what there really doing. The game may seemed rigged, but it isn’t. The AI racers make a lot of mistakes and really slow themselves down. They crash into walls and other cars but they crash a lot less then you do.
The sound is only average. The cars make some realistic noises when they are doing a burnout and while they’re speeding by at 200mph. (You will find out what burnout is when you play) One problem is when the cars crash they don’t make that much noise. The racers sometimes get annoying during the race. They somehow magically are able to talk to you even though you are a mile apart. They same some nice stuff but also insult you, most of the time you get the insult. A few of the racers are very annoying because of how they sound and what they say. I wont name any names but you will be able to tell who they are.
There are two modes in single player, Career mode and Arcade mode. Career mode was explained earlier, where you try and move your way up through the ranks. Arcade mode is where offline multiplayer is, and where the circuit races are. Career mode is remarkably good. The only thing I don’t like about it is the difficulty, but it does make it a good challenge. The races near the end of the game take 3-5 hours to complete. Meaning you will need to retry over and over and that should take about 3-5 hours of retries before you complete it. In arcade mode there is Circuit mode and offline Multiplayer. Circuit mode is partially part of career mode. It helps get the career mode percentage higher but is not necessary. Circuit races are where you have to do laps around the certain parts of the city, and there are about 5-7 races depending on the city. Also in arcade mode there is offline multiplayer and cruise mode. Cruise mode is pretty much self explanatory, its just where you cruise through the city with no goals or time limit. In arcade multiplayer you can race, cruise, and play capture the flag, or detonate. In detonate you pick up a bomb and attack the other plays and you attempt to blow them up.
Most people give online play a ten. But I don’t really see too much in it. Usually when I go on (not often) I don’t see to many races or games. Maybe around 3-5 games, but I go on around 5:00pm Pacific Time. Which from what I hear are not peak hours. A good thing is when I do play, there is hardly and lag because it is broadband only. Most of the time people play cruise mode, so they can have their own unofficial races.
Replay Value: 8/10
The replay value is pretty good. A lot of people do Career mode over only using bikes, which is an extreme challenge. And online is pretty fun if you have a Network Adapter and broadband. You can also play against the AI in Capture the Flag and Detonate incase you don’t have a Network Adapter or Broadband.
Rent or Buy: Buy
This game is definitely a buy. The game is truly amazing and everybody should have this in his or her collection. Even if you’re not a fan of racing, you should still give this a try by renting it.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/14/03, Updated 06/14/03
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