|Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition (2005)
Available for: Xbox
When it comes to electing the latest and greatest in the arcade racing genre, the “Burnout” series will always have my vote, and even though Rockstar’s “Midnight Club” franchise is a different cup of tea, it will remain second place as long as gamers enjoy being rewarded for driving recklessly. This comparison can be flipped, of course, for those who find greater joy in the customization of their vehicles, in which case “Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition” is just for you. Offering an unbelievable supply of performance and design customizations, as well as a garage filled with over 50 fully licensed vehicles to choose from, “Midnight Club 3” is a street racer’s wet dream made real.
Much like every other game in Rockstar’s catalog, “Midnight Club 3” offers open environments for the player to explore. You can cruise the streets for secret bonuses in alleyways and jumps around town, or just practice your driving skills in between races. While there are three different cities to choose from (San Diego, Detroit and Atlanta), the last two cities aren’t unlocked until you’ve completed a certain percentage of the game. And a majority of your time spent with “Midnight Club 3” will probably be in the bottomless career mode, where you can challenge fellow racers for cash and build your own stable of fast and fancy cars. But it isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Starting out with only 20 grand and no street cred, you’re offered six beginner cars to choose from: a ’64 Chevy Impala, ’78 Monte Carlo, Dodge Neon SRT4, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Volkswagen Golf R32, and a Volkswagen Jetta. In an attempt to bathe in the ridiculousness of the situation, I picked the Jetta and promptly began to pimp my ride. One hour and four races later, my metallic orange Jetta was speeding down the city streets of San Diego sporting an all new style, as well as an upgraded engine and some off-the-hook hydraulics.
Did this make me feel any better about myself? You bet. But did it help my advancement in the game? Not one bit. And this is ultimately the biggest problem with the overall product. Despite how many races you’ve won, and how much money you’ve earned, you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished anything over the past few hours of gameplay. And in spite of the number of different race styles and game modes offered, “Midnight Club 3” quickly becomes repetitive. Perhaps it’s because after playing “Burnout Revenge” driving 200 mph feels a lot more like crawling, or maybe it’s just that the sluggish load times slow down the gameplay.
Whatever the answer, it’s incredibly difficult to warm up to a game that seemingly doesn’t want your approval. Even more distracting is the permanent arrow that mistakenly points you in the wrong direction during races, and after losing numberless challenges because of this, I simply gave up. Still, the deep customization options coupled with amusing extras like the ability to drive on two wheels doesn’t make the game a complete waste of your time. But for gamers who prefer fast racing and stylish action, “Midnight Club 3” is a cold cup of tea better left alone.