Hi there, here's another guest review this time done by Alex.
Comparisons on this game as I'm sure many of you may have heard have been made to a mixture between burnout meets vice city in an adrenaline filled racing game that can have you ripping at your follicles as you race through the streets of LA, Paris and Tokyo, pitting your wits against a number of other high performance cars and racers.
In case you were interested, there is a plot, although quite simple. Basically just cruise around the cities, and impress other drivers/racers, and then race against a number of these arrogant, cocky computer opponents at once. Arrogant in that, even when you have overtaken them on a race, they will still attempt to belittle you and knock your confidence and concentration.
Other than in those instances, you can race against a number of opponents with a spoilt teenager to an overweight American guy to a seductive French woman to name but a few, they will talk to you about what you should expect but if you have the urge to race then you can just skip past these intro's. The comments made by the computer are quite accurate and even verge on the amusing sometimes but can get a little annoying when you have to retry the level a hundred times as they are said at the same times every time!
I found this a very easy game to get the hang of, as I'm sure many of you do, when first buying a game, you don't even want to open the instructions booklet to find out what you need to know about the games controls, well I have been playing this game for about two weeks now and I still haven't found need to look at it for help. Most of the controls are explained when the game is first loading, and other useful hints and tips that are in the game are explained to you as you progress through the game and unlock various extras, extras such as nitro's which are very helpful when your vehicle needs that extra bit of speed for those moments when you just need to get the edge over your opponents as you race towards the finish line.
But be warned, as this is set on the streets and not on a race track then there are lots of civilian cars and trucks that seem only too happy to get in the way of your vehicle as it speeds down the straights. There are also tips for weight transfers and even tips for how to drive on 2 wheels! Extras such as these seem similar to the fast and the furious which the game has evidently gained some influences from.
The first part of the game is simple, drive around the city, looking for a gang to race with, these gangs are easily found as the computer gives you not only the now standard map but you also get the added help from the arrow, which will point you in the direction you need to go in to find your opponents cars. Once the racers are found, just flash your lights at them and your away, you need to race this individual car to qualify to race against their gang.
Once through that, about 8 drivers and you are on the blocks and ready to race through LA, through checkpoints or in straight routes against a list of 30 other cars which range from American Chevy's to Dodge Vipers, although the game doesn't advertise the makes as they obviously have no license to do so, but its easy enough to distinguish them.
The simplest way to complete these courses seems to be to race a couple of times against the computer characters to learn those ever so helpful short cuts, sometimes the cars will inadvertently show you routes to cut corners in their bids to win the races. Use this to your advantage as some of them have some good routes planned out. These races start out pretty easy, but believe me when I say that they do get harder very quickly. And with the added difficulty of the police cars chasing after you trying to knock you off the road.
The handling is pretty good too, and varies from car to car. My only down point to this is that they are sometimes too good, you can handbrake turn around a corner at 40 miles an hour and still control the car so that it doesn't skid off the road onto the pavement into walking pedestrians.
The graphics are flawless, probably the best your going to see from the PS2 with exception to Gran Turismo 3, As you drive you slowly notice more and more details which have been finely tuned to make the game look that little bit more special. Once on the freeway, you can drive for what seems like hours listening to the great soundtrack that accommodates the game before you need to exit or do a U turn to get off.
When a nitro is activated, it seems like the whole world is zooming past you in a very, dare I say it, Star trek warp speed fashion, giving that extra rush as you feel like you effortlessly cruise down the free way.
Nice extras such as seeing your opponents knocking down lampposts onto the road and then feeling the analogue controls slightly judder as you drive over it.
Midnight club 2 also boasts the ability to use the multiplayer function and is one of the first game with the ps2's internet capabilities, letting you pit your racing wits and techniques against fellow computer gamers across the globe, There's no shortage of game types either, there's the normal races, capture the flag, and even a demolition mode which will basically turn your car into a bomb on wheels!
All in all this is a great, up to date racing game that you can enjoy if playing alone just for 5 minutes or with friends for 5 hours. There's a lot of variety in this game so you wont get bored easily, and if you do get bored of racing, and losing. As I did so many times, then just cruise the streets mercilessly running down pedestrians.