Car video games are being about being who you can’t be in real life. In the world or racing, those who want a simulation play Gran Turismo, those who want to be bored play NASCAR, and those who want to be badasses play Midnight Club: Los Angles. The people at Rockstar Games brought us out to LA to get a feel for the game in the city that inspired it.
The beginning of the game starts with the choice of “beaters” - a Nissan 240 SX, mid-80s Volkswagen GTI, or Scirocco . The amazing (or possibly unfortunate) thing is that the cars drive like a 240 SX, GTI, or Scirocco. Win races, earn money, buy better cars, and before you know it, you’re piloting cars like the Saleen S7 through the streets of Los Angles.
If you’ve never been to Los Angles, but are planning on visiting soon, don’t bother using MapQuest, just use the game. The attention to detail is amazing. I actually used the game to find my way back to my hotel. Part what helped make this level of detail possible was Grand Theft Auto 4. These two games do not share any of the basics (characters, cars, city, plots, etc.,) but because Rockstar had a tested and successful base from GTA 4, programmers could focus on the details of the game.
But the Midnight Club LA is not just about the visuals; it’s about a good time. “We don’t ship the game until it’s fun,” says Jeronimo Barrera, Vice President of Development at Rockstar. “The only way the game can work is if the guy who designs the cars has passion. You can’t fool car enthusiasts.”
Midnight Club: Los Angles is about racing on the streets for cash to build your vehicle collection and street cred. You are your own kingpin of underground racing. While the racing methods may not exactly be based in reality, there is something really cool about pulling up next to a car, flashing your lights, and the race is on. “The car is the character,” says Barrera.
Like any video game, there is a certain containment area you need to stay within, but the difference here is the mountains to the ocean are the boundaries (easily the largest in the Midnight Club series.) In other words, it earns the name Midnight Club LA because it covers all of LA (the version for the PSP, Midnight Club: LA Remix, has a smaller containment area, but Tokyo is also added as a second city.)
There is a multi-player version for head-to-head online play, and I can reveal more details at a later date. All I can say now is I’ve played it, and it rocks.
Everyone who reads this site loves cars. This is why we bring you stories like this on these games. It is unfortunate that most of us will not get to drive all of the world’s best supercars (hotlaps in just one supercar will allow most of us to die happy.) What games like Midnight Club: Los Angles allows us to do is live out fantasies. It runs the whole spectrum from modern supercars like the Saleen S7 and Lamborghini Gallardo , to classics like first generation Mustang GTs and Camaro SS, to concept cars like the Cobra Concept, and even motorcycles.
And, of course, all cars get can get customized. You can even add custom bodywork to classics such as the Lamborghini Mura.
Midnight Club: Los Angles is exactly what car guys love. We get to live out our dreams without paying for insurance.