Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition – XB – Review

Imagine another world
within our own everyday universe where the people of this particular subculture
have their own language, sense of style and obsess over the same fascinating
subject that brought them together in the first place.  This is what the illegal
street racing-import tuner scene is like and while many games have attempted to
simulate it with slight success none have come closer than the Midnight Club
series.  While the two games have led us by the hand and given us a peek
into the world of illegal street racing this third installment introduces import
tuning DUB Magazine-style. 
Club 3: DUB Edition
is here and fans
of the genre will definitely be pleased.



As I mentioned above, last
year has seen a large number of titles playing in the same field yet somehow
missing the mark.  While Need for Speed Underground 2 isn’t bad (just way
too commercialized), it just didn’t feel as “street” as the Midnight
Club series on the Xbox. 

Midnight Club 2
has taken us through
the streets of Downtown LA, the winding streets of Paris and the neon glow of
the streets of Tokyo and in this outing you’ll be seeing the streets of San
Diego, Detroit and Atlanta.  The game’s Career Mode starts you off in San Diego
as you step foot in the oil-stained garage of the Six-One-Nine Custom Shop.  The
mechanic/owner is as car fanatical as you are and even sells you your very first
car (although the choices are limited).  Picking from the six vehicles ranging
from old-school classics like the ‘64 Chevy Impala or the ‘74 Chevy Monte Carlo
or super sleek newer models like the Dodge Neon SRT4 or the Mitsubishi Eclipse. 
From there you start off in your first race and then you’re free to explore the
darkened streets of San Diego’s many side streets and ocean docks.


The neat part is that the
series has acquired a large number of licensed vehicles from VW, Lexus,
Chrysler, Ducati and even Lamborghini.  There’s more than sixty-something
vehicles ranging from classic muscle cars of yesteryear to modern race cars and
motorcycles (Kawasaki Ninja, anyone?) to SUVs (like the boring Escalade and the
bulky Hummer).  Many of the vehicles can only be unlocked by winning certain
races or by purchasing them at the custom shop.  Luckily there are plenty of
ways to earn money for new cars or upgrades in Career Mode like competing in
City Races and accepting challenges from some serious street racers with lots of
street cred.  You’ll be able to cruise the streets looking for challengers
(flash your headlights and see if other racers accept your challenge) or locate
hidden Rockstar icons for cool unlockable goodies.  Either way you have to work
your way up to the top to earn respect, money and new cars.


Customizing your vehicles
also come early on in the game and you import tuning fans out there will be
happy to see so many different import tuner parts and body customizing
features.  The result is a game that allows you to install enough parts to make
you own distinctive vehicle complete with new rims, headlights, decals, spoilers
and performance parts like better shocks, engine parts or a new muffler. 
Gaining new performance parts mean the world in this game since the higher up
the street racing ladder you go the more you’re likely to encounter racers with
vehicles that handle better than yours.  If its customization that you’re most
interested in then you won’t find better options than the ones found in

Midnight Club 3



Yet if it’s all about the
races then
Midnight Club 3
will not disappoint.  It’s more
arcade-styled than strict simulator and this is part of the reason the game is
so addictive . . . well, that and the arcade-styled modes.  The game controls
wonderfully and you’ll find races where you just don’t have to watch out for the
other racers but the street traffic that piles on things like passing trains,
police car chases and even traffic.  There are cool new moves like two wheel
driving (helps wedge you between two cars or a tight alley) and Zone (avoid
collisions and the Zone Meter can be activated when full to slow the world down
around you).  Then there’s Roar, which makes the engine of muscle cars and
choppers rev up to the point that the other cars around you get out of your
way.  Finally there’s Slipstream Turbo that gives you an extra boost similar to


Apart from Career Mode
there’s Arcade Mode, which is chock full of various race modes we’ve become
partial to since Midnight Club 2 like Capture the Flag, Tag and Paint
(where you race around town turning checkpoints your team’s color before the
other team dominates the area with their color).  There are also Autocross and
track races for those who want to stay within a single racetrack and ordered
(similar to the usual Circuit races) or unordered races.  One of the coolest
modes is Frenzy where the object is to earn points by dodging as many cars as
possible.  Imagine being behind the wheel of a car with no breaks with the car
somehow continuously firing up the nitro every fifteen seconds and you get the
idea what Frenzy is like.


If you’re looking for a
breath-taking visually gorgeous Xbox game then prepare to be somewhat
disappointed.  Yet if you’re looking for a game that wonderfully renders three
major cities with a lot to see plus cars that look amazing in the lamplight then
Midnight Club 3
does it right.  The vehicles look good while
racing and the motion blur adds a nice touch.  Cars take damage but, for some
reason, car crashes don’t look as gruesome as Burnout 3 but it’s still
sure to make you wince . . . especially the motorcycle crashes that send the
driver flailing off the bike.  There’s also something wonderfully charming about
dusk in the San Diego and Atlanta streets.



Sound-wise, it’s all about
the revved up engines and screeching sounds of burning rubber.  It might not
mean a lot to the casual gamer but car enthusiast certainly appreciate some
authenticity when it comes to the difference between the purr of a Mitsubishi
Lancer to the grumbling noise of a Cadillac Escalade.  Still even a casual gamer
can appreciate the sounds of traffic while racing through a busy intersection
and the occasional shout from a pedestrian.  The soundtrack is a massive
hodge-podge of various musical genres that include hip-hop, industrial rock
and–once again–electronica.  If the musical styling of Fat Joe, Nine Inch
Nails, Trick Daddy or Jimmy Eat World doesn’t grab you then you can always mix
in your own tunes via the Custom Soundtrack feature.  Then again, the soundtrack
does, strangely enough, go together with the game like peanut butter and jelly. 
As for the voice acting, the ghetto-speak is down to a minimum but does everyone
in Detroit really sound like Eminem?   


If there was ever an
excuse to purchase an Xbox Live subscription (aside from Halo 2, of
course) this is the game that will convince you to start going online.  While
you’ll encounter just a few lag or sound stutter issues online, it doesn’t stop
this from being one of the best online games around.  You can race up against
eight players online (or System Link) and play through favorite modes like Paint
or Tag.  The best part is that the new features–like the one that keeps the
race going long after the host drops out of the game for whatever reason–are
welcome additions.  This one also supports clans that come in the form of race
clubs you can start or join.  The cool thing about these clubs is that there’s a
ranking system and you can send out open invites to gamers with matching skills.


Delightfully stylish and
ultra cool, Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition delivers what might possibly be
the best racing game of its class.  While never losing sight of its illegal
street racing roots, it taps into the import tuner subculture far better than
Need for Speed Underground 2
.  It also plays a lot better than many of the
street racing games already out there without giving up its arcade style.  In
other words, this is the game you should buy if you’ve been waiting for the very
best the genre has to offer. 


Review Scoring
Details for

Midnight Club 3: DUB

Edition Xbox


Gameplay: 9.2
The addition of some really cool new
vehicular tricks doesn’t take away from what already is an arcade racing game
that runs at a steady framerate and controls like a dream come true.  The
massive locales offer up a living, breathing city with plenty of shortcuts and
side streets.  As always, the Arcade modes are addictive fun.


Graphics: 8.7
While there are a few visual rough
spots here and there, you have to admit that these cars look as good parked in
your garage as they do in motion.  The streets of the three cities are nicely
detailed and look even more amazing at dusk.


Sound: 9.0
The roaring engines of a muscle car
or chopper are sure to send chills through car enthusiasts and the sound of
burning rubber during an intense race sound even more amazing using a good sound
system.  There’s a cool soundtrack fitting of the game’s main theme but that
same racially stereotyped ghetto talk of the last game has got to go.


Difficulty: Medium
A balance between some fairly simple
yet challenging races and make-one-mistake-and-you’ve-lost-already type of races
is sure to keep gamers deeply focused on the race in progress.  The
computer-controlled racers are quick to recover after collisions and they have a
knack for finding you quickly during a Capture the Flag game. 


Concept: 9.5
The DUB Magazine influence means
you’ll be purchasing and unlocking loads of stylish cars and upgrade them with
loads nifty custom import features.  The motorcycles are back and so the Xbox
Live multiplayer mode that is sure to be your new obsession.  Arcade mode
welcomes back returning favorites but introduces a number of new ones we would
love to see back again in
Club 4


Multiplayer: 9.6
What’s that you say?  I haven’t seen
the sun in two days?  Well, can you blame me?  The Xbox Live multiplayer mode is
just too fun to want to put down and after joining an online racing club
composed of fellow gamers just as obsessed as I am then you’ll understand why
Midnight Club 3
is destined to be an instant Xbox Live


Overall: 9.4
Without a doubt,
Midnight Club 3

deserve a spot at the top of your Must Have
list.  It not only outshines the competition with its addictive racing modes
(and one killer online multiplayer mode) but it also offers enough goodies for
the import tuner crowd to sink their teeth into.