Midnight Club II

Overview

Wow, it was a whole two years ago since the original Midnight Club first hit store shelves for the PS2. Midnight Club is a street racing game where you drive around town looking for racers and for races. One of the reasons Midnight Club was such a popular title was that it was one of the first ones out and many people were in search of a racer. This is not to say Midnight Club wasn’t a good racer it was, but it was plagued by several problems that Rockstar has tuned up to make the second edition of Midnight Club even that much more enjoyable.

Gameplay

If you have been paying attention to the games coming out from Rockstars corner, you will be amazed to the success that they have been having. Of course when you have Grand Theft Auto 3 & Vice City in your corner, things must be going pretty well. What is so amazing is that Rockstar just impresses gamers with new and even more enjoyable titles. This still holds true with Rockstar’s latest Midnight Club 2, which just puts another solid title up on Rockstar’s shelves.

The whole premises behind Midnight Club 2 are identical to the first. You start at the bottom of the food chain with a lousy car in lousy races. Your goal is to win races and make it to the top of street racing. Although it sounds pretty straightforward, the whole game is quite difficult and is not one that you are going to be able to complete very quickly.

The modes to choose from are the Arcade Mode, Career Mode, Race Editor, and Online Play. First off let’s start off by discussing the main mode being the career mode. There are three different areas in which you will be playing on. These include New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. Each environment has their different strengths and weaknesses, and even some interesting little sites to see along the way. You start off by rolling around the town looking for racers, and when you’re ready for the race you just flash your high beams and it’s your job to follow him/her back to the race point. The races can vary from either a straightforward race or get all the checkpoints completed first. As you progress through the career mode you will find that the cars get faster, and the racing gets a lot more competitive.

Probably the most talked about addition to Midnight Club 2 was the addition of Online Play which actually works great for a game like this. I would first like to commend Rockstar for going through with the online mode (unlike many other games being released having their online modes canceled). To start with the online mode is broadband only (sorry dialup), but for a game of this magnitude, you’re going to want to play with 8 people without lag, like you can with the game being broadband only. The online mode has been very impressive, where the games have been very heated battles. There are games where you can just cruise and drag race, which really brings out the heart of the game. All in all (with keyboard support) the online mode is an excellent experience that I highly enjoyed.

The racing its self is actually a good deal better then in the first one. The controls have become a lot easier to get down, and the steering doesn’t feel as loose as they were. The game is still an arcade style racer but it does feel a lot more realistic then before. The one thing that Midnight Club 2 does the best is make the atmosphere feel fast and furious like the sport of street racing is.

You know it would have been fine with me if Rockstar had thrown the soundtrack from Vice City into Midnight Club 2. But instead they didn’t and came up with a poor attempt at a games soundtrack. The soundtrack of Midnight Club 2 is not something Rockstar is going to be bragging about, in fact I hope they realize their faults and go back and rethink their soundtracks for the future Midnight Club games.

Graphics

Rockstar Games really hasn’t been able to match the quality of Gameplay with the quality of the graphics. The graphic department of the Grand Theft Auto series hasn’t been the prettiest and still could use quite a bit of work. What is really disappointing is that Rockstar is using the same graphics engine as they were in the first Midnight Club.

So with that being said, the graphics weren’t very good when Midnight Club was released, luckily though Rockstar did a lot of tweaking, and a lot of upgrades to the engine to at least keep it up to the PS2 standards. So with that behind us the environments of Midnight Club 2 is probably the biggest issue of the game. They remind me a lot of the environments in GTA3 and Vice City, with a cartoon look to them that just does not do anything to impress. Luckily the vehicles in Midnight Club 2 are extremely detailed, that really look like street racing cars.

Fun Factor

What is so great about Midnight Club 2 is that this is a game that you won’t get bored of for quite some time. The career mode is quite lengthy with plenty of replay value. The online portion of the game is probably one of the most impressive online games for the PS2, with several customizable options, the online mode is one you could come back to over and over again. There is also a track editor, which just seals the deal that this is a fun game.

Overall

If you’re looking for a new racing game for your game library you should definitely consider picking up Midnight Club 2. The addicting gameplay is one that will stay fun for a long period of time. So you will find yourself coming back for more and more. If you were a fan of the original then you will definitely find this one to be a great upgrade.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.