Aug 3, 2008

Today Sam “152” Becker & Simon “Sim152” Win were sent down to Australia’s G03 Gaming conference, to get an exclusive look at Midnight Club: Los Angeles. Keep reading to hear our thoughts on the game and we also have Photos & Videos of the game which can be found at the bottom of the article, Enjoy!

The Build we played only had one playable car, a Shelby Mustang, which seemed a little sluggish and cornered like a concreted hippo, which isn’t helped by the fact that your NOS does not regenerate, unlike the Need for Speed series. This often leaves you cruising around corners at snail’s pace, especially in low powered cars. For a first time “Midnight Clubber” like me, high speeds were extremely difficult to maintain, the e-brake does help you out a lot with cornering, however in this build if you misused it your car would spin out and most likely send you flying into an invincible tree.

It’s hard to see what type of driving style Rockstar are trying to incorporate into Midnight Club Los Angeles, as it seems to currently be a Hybrid of Simulation & Arcade racing, offering both the best of both worlds. Rockstar are of course going to be including an “Unrivaled” customization system in with the final build of the game, which coupled with the gameplay really will entice Petrol Heads & Newcomers alike to visit their nearest game retailer in October.

The few flaws this game has (Specifically badly placed Indestructible trees and non-replenishing NOS) are vastly overshadowed by the breathtaking graphics and environments, which for a game based in one city has a lot of variation. While cruising around a very accurate representation of Los Angeles (or so I’m told by the Rockstar Rep that accompanied us during our Demo) you can simply ‘flash your lights’ at someone to challenge them to a race, which instantly setting the race up and throwing you and your opponent onto the Grid.

While driving around LA there are the usual obstacles you would expect to get in your way in a Midnight Club Game; the odd trash can, streetlights, indestructible trees and the biggest annoyance in a street racing game: People. While there is a dense population of people on the streets, driving into them will cause your car to pass straight through them, however I would imagine in the final Build pedestrians will dive out of your way like in the previous Midnight Club titles. After enquiring about this little peeve I was told by a Rockstar Rep that it’s because they’re “Aiming for a G rating”.

We’ve been told that Online Multiplayer will be a huge part of Midnight Club. Unfortunately we were told by our Rockstar Rep that there will be “no splitscreen included in the game”, so it looks as if online multiplayer will be the main focus, opposed to the Local Multiplayer we’ve become accustomed to with the Midnight Club series.

Midnight Club Los Angeles sports a checkpoint style race system, letting you pick your route to the next checkpoint which really is a hell of a lot of fun, giving a great sense of freedom. There’s nothing stopping you from heading to the other side of the map and just chilling on the beach while your opponent completes a race, the game is really that open. The 3 AI drivers we raced against were nothing short of aggressive, trying to shunt us off the road and at times even trying to spin out our back end, which really adds a bit more of a challenge to the gameplay. You can also use their aggressiveness against them, by E-Braking before they shunt (making them miss you and go flying off the road) or even timing a counter-shunt to send them hurtling off course.

The Limited build we played of Midnight Club: Los Angeles was great fun, offering a fresh hybrid type of driving and some extremely promising gameplay mechanics. Unfortunately our Rockstar Rep confirmed that “There won’t be a Midnight Club Demo, just because it’s such a huge game that a 2-3gb Demo just wouldn’t do justice”. The full game is releasing on October 7th in North America & October 10th in Europe, so don’t forget to pre-order a copy at your local retailer to be sure you get a copy on release day.

Our first 3 minute Gamplay Video can be found Here, or Here


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