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Midnight Club II

Developer: Rockstar San Diego | Publisher: Rockstar Games
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 06/23/03 | Genre: Driving

The original Midnight Club sold very well. Although it had some technical problems as a first generation title, Rockstar has put a lot of effort into ensuring that the sequel is polished, fun, and that it stands out from the rest of the titles in the genre. But what genre of gameplay does Midnight Club II fall in? While it is not a simulation like Gran Turismo or an arcade-style racer like the Burnout series, Midnight Club II fits somewhere in the middle of these two titles.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of Midnight Club II and aren’t quite sure how it falls between the Burnout and Gran Turismo series, allow me to explain. In the single player Career Mode, you race in one of three major cities, Los Angeles, Tokyo, or Paris. Each of these cities is very large and detailed--providing players with many, many different paths to reach the checkpoints and defeat the other racers. At the start, to begin a race, you drive up behind a car and flash your bright lights at them. These “hookmenâ€? require that you stay on their tail until you have proven yourself worthy to race. After this is done, you are then able to race them through one checkpoint after another. After defeating them, you will win their cars.

While the streets of LA will only be available to you at first, you will soon gain access to Paris and then Tokyo. Besides the other cities in the Career Mode, players will also want to try out the online mode. Unfortunately for dial-up users, this is only available to those who have broadband. However, if you can access this mode, you will now have the chance to participate in races with up to seven human opponents. While you can race against another person in the offline mode, the addition of the online play adds a great deal of depth to Midnight Club II. Since everyone is required to use a broadband connection the gameplay is usually fast and fluid. However, there are times when you will notice a bit of slowdown and at worst, a player with a poor connection will be dropped from the race.

Along with the online mode, Rockstar has included an editor that will allow the player to customize the levels by placing checkpoints wherever they want. The nice thing about this is that you can save these custom maps and play against others online.

No matter how many added features are included in Midnight Club 2, it all comes down to the gameplay. As I mentioned above, the game is a mix between simulation and arcade. This gives it a perfect balance because it isn’t overly realistic or unrealistic but still provides first time players with a title that is very easy to pick up and play. As you progress through the Career Mode portion of the title, you will be able to perform new abilities such as nitro speed boosts and other abilities to help you race more effectively.

One downside to the way Midnight Club II is designed is that once a race begins, an onscreen arrow will show you what direction the next checkpoint is at. However, if you aren’t familiar with the particular level, it is going to take you several times through to understand what path you should take in order to get to the next checkpoint first. And with the multiple paths that you can take, you will probably be able to find a shorter route to the checkpoint if you look harder.

Even with many different driving titles to choose from on the market, Midnight Club II is different than other titles. If you enjoyed the original, you will definitely enjoy the sequel--as will any casual or hardcore racing fan. However, for those of you who didn’t care for the original, you may want to at least give it a rental before writing it off.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 07/21/03
ESRB Details: Mild Lyrics, Violence
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Screenshots for Midnight Club II

PS2 Online Games 2003 - Sports

IndyCar Series