In the past few months the Xbox has been getting a steady amount of racing titles coming onto the market. There are two things that are surprising about these racing titles. The first thing is that they have all been quite good, but the second is they have all been offline. So now finally Xbox Live subscribers are now going to get behind the wheel and race with friends across the world in Rockstar Game’s Midnight Club 2 a street racer for your Xbox.
The first Midnight Club was a PS2 exclusive; the game had mixed results but got a lot of attention because it was one of the first titles out of the gate for the PS2. Now Rockstar has decided to take their Midnight Club series to multiple platforms spreading the fun to not only PS2 owners but Xbox owners as well.
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 Xbox Live. 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.
Although now that Midnight Club 2 has Live support the online play has been upgraded another notch from the already pleasing PS2 version. In the Live play of Midnight Club 2 you will find yourself just cruising along with other drivers or competing in races or other mini games online. Out of all the modes I felt like the Live experience was fantastic, a very nice upgrade from a lot of the minor big lag problems in the PS2 version that were not found much at all on the Xbox version.
The racing itself 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. This can mostly be found when using your turbo; this feeling really gives you that you are really burning rubber. The control of your vehicle when using the turbo becomes extremely touchy to the point where if you touch it you will spin out.
Overall the gameplay in Midnight Club 2 is pretty solid you have a nice variety of game modes to choose from outside of the main career mode. So you won’t have the problem of searching for something to do after you complete the career mode.
The voice acting in Midnight Club 2 is as stereotypical as it gets and times it can be quite funny and at others you just wanted to go race. Probably the biggest downfall to the games sound is the soundtrack placed in for the game. Don’t ask me how they came up with the song selections but whatever they did it sure didn’t work. The ability to customize your soundtrack left out of the game for some odd reason. That had to be the biggest disappointment of the game, and for that I just wonder what they were thinking.
When you compare Midnight Club 2 to some of the other racing titles that have hit the Xbox, Midnight Club 2 has fallen short of the standards they have set. Games such as Apex and Project Gothem Racing were really highly noted for their graphics and not as much for their gameplay. Well this isn’t really the case with Midnight Club 2, which appears to have a lot more emphasis on the gameplay rather then the graphics.
I am not trying to say that Midnight Club 2 is an ugly game but in fact it’s around average. The vehicles in Midnight Club 2 are nothing special but are well enough designed so that you can figure out what kind of car you are driving. If you have played GTA Vice City for the PS2 you will notice that the same type of style was used in both games and in both games it seems to get the job done.
The environments in which you race in are not going to knock your socks off but they are designed a lot better then they look. There are going to be plenty of shortcuts and plenty of fast paced races that will take place on these streets and for as fast as you will go in this game, detail will seldom matter. Overall the graphics are once again nothing overly impressive but they get the job well enough done to keep it at a decent score.
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 Xbox, 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.
If you’re looking for a new racing game for your game library you should definitely consider picking up Midnight Club 2. The addictive 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.