Sunday, November 30, 2008

My review of Midnight Club LA for the Xbox 360

I'm a fan of driving games, so after watching all the commercials for this one on TV, I was pretty excited to give it a try. Street racing, outrunning the cops, earning respect and cash to buy new rides? Sounds sweet. I popped it in this weekend and sat down expecting some fun.

My first impressions were positive. The world of the game is indeed beautiful. It's set in Los Angeles and you can drive all the way from the beach to the Hollywood hills. Some missions actually have you do this. It's a Rockstar developed title and while it's not as interactive as Grand Theft Auto, it looks just as nice. It's not quite as interactive though. You can't mess with the computer AI, and when you try to run them over, they dive out of the way. While the game is open world, your only options are "Win race" or "lose race". I did a lot of both.

You start out with one of three crappy cars. Many racing games do this to you, as a way of teaching you the ropes of the game. Usually, after a few races, you earn a better car or the money to buy one. This doesn't happen in Midnight Club LA. I started out in a piece of shit VW and 4 hours into the game, I was still driving the same piece of shit VW, even after winning a ton of races in it. By this point in most other racing games....I'd already have myself 4 or 5 new cars, but maybe this is a street racing "simulator" and they want to teach you that in real life, no one hands you the keys to their Corvette after two races in a crappy VW.

Around 6 hours in, I still didn't have enough cash to buy a decent ride, so instead, I bought a middle of the road Ducati motorcycle. It was much faster than my piece of shit car, and I was unable to win a few races with it. I finally unlocked a piece of crap Camaro that was slightly faster than my piece of crap VW. I went online to race a few people with my new car. They all had awesome Vettes, Saleens or other supercars and blew me away. Guess they'd put more than 6 hours in. I logged back out, and sat there wondering how long I wanted to grind in this game.

Instead of grinding for cars, I decided I'd try for some achievements. There was one for taking 15 pictures and submitting them to the site. Since all I had was my bike and my piece of crap car, I took 15 boring pictures in order to get the "Paparazzi" achievement. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Here I am getting ready to race against some souped up Fast and Furious car. This is exactly why I play video games, to simulate being someone who sucks at life.

At a glance you might think this next picture was me burning out my tires in an awesome show of acceleration and torque. In actuality, I believe my piece of crap car probably just needed a smog check.

One of the best things about Midnight club is supposed to be the police pursuits. Of course, the car they start you with doesn't go much faster than the speed limit, so in order to start a pursuit, I tried parking outside of the police station while playing some rap music really loud. They didn't chase me.

Finally, there were 10 gamerscore to be had for submitting your car to "rate my ride". I sent mine up, and it's been rated 11 times so far. The verdict? 4.64 out of 10. That's about the same score I give this bullshit game.

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