Midnight Club: Los Angeles - PS3 - Preview

PAX 2007 Preview

Midnight Club: Los Angeles is the next entry in the long-running street racing series. Developed by Rockstar San Diego, Midnight Club: Los Angeles is the first entry in the series to come out for next-gen hardware, and showcases some truly fantastic graphics and intensely fast racing. The game presents the open-world arcade-style racing system that the series has been known for and adds some new elements to make it an experience worth jumping back in to.

Midnight Club: Los Angeles was on display at Rockstar’s booth at this year’s Penny Arcade Expo, and some of the game’s developers were on hand to talk about the game, scheduled to release in the first half of 2008 on Xbox 360 and PS3. The game will take place in the city of LA (obviously), which will be three times the size of any previous city featured in a Midnight Club title. While it won’t be a 100 percent accurate representation of the city, astute gamers will be able to find their way around by using authentic landmarks like the Hollywood Hills and Rodeo Drive.

Midnight Club: Los Angeles Xbox 360 screenshots

The environment will also work dynamically, with elements like changing time of day and weather conditions. These conditions will change naturally as you play the game (the night will last a little bit longer than the day, since that’s when the developers feel that the game works best), or should you want certain conditions for a race, you can go through the menu and change them yourself.

However, aside from the next-gen presentation, the basic fundamentals are still very much in play here. The game is about the same things that it was before, meaning presenting an all-out approach to illegal street racing. You’ll fly through the city, flashing your brights at other street racers to take them on, avoiding cops, and basically living the street racing life. The checkpoints are now fewer and far between, making it so the player should be able to craft their own shortcuts to get from one section of the race to another

Midnight Club: Los Angeles Xbox 360 screenshots

The default camera is the cinematic view, which is not unwieldy like they are in other games, but actually quite functional. It’s actually pretty cool to hit the NoS and have the camera pan down to the side of your car, watching the pavement scream by. For the first time, the team has implemented a cockpit view with a full PoV system that lets you look all around the interior. This is a nice touch, considering that the devs have also implemented an upgrade system where you can not only customize the exterior of your car, but the interior as well. The team also stated that sport bikes would indeed be back for Midnight Club: Los Angeles, with an agreement with manufacturers like Kawasaki and Ducati being crafted for the game’s release.

The game will also implement one-touch multiplayer, allowing them to switch from a single-player environment to a multiplayer mode seamlessly.

Midnight Club: Los Angeles Xbox 360 screenshots

Graphically, the game will definitely live up to some next-gen potential, with the aforementioned huge and detailed city. The cars themselves also already look great, boasting 100,000 polygons a piece with great racing effects in place, like motion blur and bloom lighting.

Midnight Club: Los Angeles is shaping up to be a fine addition to the series and a true next-gen street racing game. Fans of the series will definitely want to check it out next year.

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