Midnight Club: Los Angeles
Midnight Club: Los Angeles is a racing video game developed by Rockstar San Diego and published by Rockstar Games. It is the final installment in the Midnight Club series. The game features 43 cars and 4 motorcycles. The open world map of Los Angeles is the size of all three cities from the previous installments combined. After several delays, Midnight Club: Los Angeles was released in October 2008.
|Midnight Club: Los Angeles|
|Developer(s)||Rockstar San Diego,|
Rockstar London (L.A. Remix)
Midnight Club: Los Angeles is set in the city of Los Angeles, again providing an option to completely free-roam (in an open world environment larger than all the three cities combined from the previous game, Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition). New additions are a 24-hour day-to-night cycle, weather effects and traffic with licensed vehicles, adding a realistic aspect to the game. The new dynamic weather system has been reported to alter the gameplay experience, making the vehicle more prone to sliding on slick surfaces. If any damage is inflicted upon a vehicle after races, the player does not necessarily need to drive back to a garage for a full repair, but, instead, can choose the "Quick Fix" option through which old, junkyard-esque parts will be added to the car. To get back that "nice, new car look", the player must actually drive back to repair their vehicle at a garage or gas station. This also means that totaling a vehicle is only possible within a single race or event. With the RAGE system being used for this game, traffic levels fluctuate throughout the day, with light traffic at night, heavy traffic in the morning and afternoon, and heaviest traffic in the evenings. Motorcycles are again part of the game, including the Ducati 999R and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14. Convertible cars, customizable interiors, in-game photo mode, and customizable exotics are all new additions. Developers placed great emphasis on the elimination of load screens, stating that the player could literally jump from career mode to an online race in under ten seconds.
Los Angeles is said to be the longest of the four Midnight Club games, with more than ten different types of races including series races, tournaments, pink slip races, and freeway races. For most of these races, players must race an opponent to the start line in order to earn extra rep (a leveling system used to determine the player's skill in the game) before the actual race begins, although this can be skipped. Races have four difficulties: easiest, medium, hard, and hardest. These difficulties are color-coded with green being easiest, yellow being medium, orange being hard, and red being hardest. Each successive difficulty of race has greater rewards than the former.
There are a number of special abilities that have been brought into the game (a returning feature from the previous installment). These include an EMP, which disables the electronics of every vehicle around the player; Agro, which makes the player's vehicle indestructible-giving the ability to plow through traffic without slowing the car; Roar, which sends out a sound wave that will move traffic out of the player's way for a clear and straight path through the streets; and Zone, able to slow time and allow a temporary boost in handling. The previous installment had restricted special abilities to specific cars, but all vehicles in this game can now use any one of these above mentioned abilities, as chosen by the player. These abilities can also be changed at garages whenever necessary.
Police return but are no longer scripted to a specific race; they take notice of simple infractions in the game world (running red lights, speeding, burning out, hitting their cars or nearby cars, and driving offroad). If caught, players have the choice of pulling over (which will initiate a special cutscene when the police car approaches) or leading the police into a pursuit. The game goes into "Pursuit Mode" after a period of time or if the police lose sight of the player; this will also happen if the player decides to start the engine and flee the scene during the "pull over" cutscene. Infractions causing the game to go directly to pursuit mode include speeding and excessively damaging a police car. Police authorities will chase the player no matter where they are and the longer the player evades capture, the higher the fine if the player is arrested. The player will be arrested instantly if he totals (damages out) his vehicle.
Additionally, there are sixty collectibles that the player can find hidden throughout Los Angeles. These appear as yellow oil barrels with Rockstar's logo printed on them. Every ten collectibles that are found will unlock one of six game modifiers (mentioned in-game as "cheat codes"), while finding half and all of the collectibles will unlock achievements. However, enabling any of these special modifiers (with the exception of a modifier that unlocks an overhead view camera) will prevent the player from earning money, rep, and further career progression.
Online play supports sixteen players at once. A number of new modes will be introduced, including Keep Away where the player must hold the flag as long as he can, and Stockpile in which there are numerous flags to be captured. New online power-ups mentioned include Mirror (will reflect any power-up fired at the player), Agro (will act the same as the offline special ability, increasing the player's vehicle weight and enabling them to crash through other vehicles without taking damage or slowing down), and Random (gives the player a random power-up). A new aspect entitled "Rate My Ride" was also introduced, where players can go online to view, rate, sell and buy user-modified vehicles. PlayStation Network trophies are also included, with a total of 46 trophies to be won.
The game includes a Race Editor features that allows the player to make tracks for online play. A fringe benefit of the mode is that it also allows free-roaming of the game map (including picking up collectables and earning various achievements) without traffic, police, damage or other gameplay interference.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles is a part of Rockstar's Social Club and includes features that track the stats of the player's driving and potentially award them with various in-game content such as hydraulics, TIS rims, and the Audi R8. In order to obtain these rewards, players must fulfill certain requirements to achieve their C-License, their B-License, and A-License. Once each license is acquired, a new reward is obtained. Players can also view their in-game "Rate My Ride" vehicle's rating, rate other player's vehicles, view their statistics and compare them with other players, view online leaderboards, and upload and share in-game photos. The Social Club also hosts online tournaments that award prizes to winning entrants.
A man from the East Coast moves to Los Angeles. The character, known only as "Player", later "Judas", takes a major role in the game. In the intro of the game, he is on the phone with the L.A. City Champ, Booke, telling him to meet at the fast-food restaurant Carney's Express Limited. He gives the protagonist the choice of three cars, one to pick, in the beginning of the game: a 1998 Nissan 240SX, 1983 Volkswagen Golf GTI, or 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco.
Once the player has built up enough of a reputation, they gain the ability to become Champ of the City and of each car type. The first one that is offered is becoming City Champ. At a point in the game, Karol calls telling the player about Booke being back as City Champ. Booke then tells the player to race regional opponents to see if they can race against him. After the player beats them, Booke calls saying he is impressed, and to meet him at the Standard Hotel for a race which ends up being the City Champ race vs. Booke and one of the final races on Career mode. When the player wins, the player not only becomes City Champ, but other championship races open. Once the player wins against the lesser opponents, the Champs of all five vehicle classes in the game challenge the player. The characters are Oswaldo, Julian, Lester, Pete, and Marcel.
After the player becomes City Champ, Karol calls and has a proposition. He asks the player to get $1 million to help co-own his two garages with him for his business. In return, he lets the player have anything in the garages for free. This proposition also affects Doc's South Central garage although the game does not mention it.
After the character has completed 100% in Los Angeles in the PSP version, an unknown man somehow has reached his cell number, and calls saying that he wants to meet him at the Los Angeles International Airport on "his flight to Tokyo", which causes the character to say, "You talking about the Mid Night Club?" After the call, the Tokyo career and map can be accessed in Midnight Club: L.A. Remix.
The game is compacted and is not a street-accurate depiction of Los Angeles, though it features many of Los Angeles' landmarks such as Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood sign, Randy's Donuts and the Staples Center. The airport is the only location not accessible due to the fact that the game involves street racing, though it can be seen in the distance and can be accessed by glitching through to it. However, it is available on the remix version.
Development and marketingEdit
Updates and expansionsEdit
Since its release the game has had multiple updates and downloadable content releases. The first update released on December 9, 2008 included improved AI balance to better adjust to player's skill level, the cops are improved, and the Xbox 360 got additional leaderboard support for tournaments on Rockstar Social Club. Also part of the update was an additional online game mode called "Modes", where the user could choose to go to a lobby to play various race and flag modes instead of just one specific mode, aside from cruise mode.
The most recent update is entitled the "South Central Upgrade And Content Pack", and it includes a whole new area of the map, South Central Los Angeles, about a third of the size of the current map, for free. Players are also able to purchase the pack which includes new character competitions, races, music and cars available in a single complete package. New vehicles include various cars and, for the first time in the game, SUVs. The content was originally scheduled to release on March 12, but delayed to March 19 with no comment from Rockstar. Problems occurred on March 19, when trying to release it on Xbox Live and delayed for a second time. It was also stated that additional car packs will be released in the future, but on March 27 Rockstar accidentally put the vehicle packs on Xbox Live. They were removed from the Xbox Live Marketplace later that day and anybody who was downloading it at that time was asked to stop.
On January 14, 2009, the content pack was accidentally released on the Xbox Live Marketplace during its testing and approval phase by Microsoft. It was then removed and anyone who was able to obtain it was asked to delete it because it may cause unforeseen problems with achievements and save data, according to a Xbox Live Marketplace staff member. On March 23, there was an event posting on Xbox Live Events for Midnight Club: Los Angeles South Central scheduled for March 29, but later that day it was removed from the events section. Rockstar then put a new post up on the Midnight Club: Los Angeles website on March 30 saying that the event was to be on April 4. On March 27, both the South Central Expansion and Premium Pack were released on the Xbox Live Marketplace for download. On April 23, the second vehicle pack was released on Xbox Live and PSN which included four new vehicles: the 2008 Cadillac XLR V, the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X and an extra motorcycle (the new fastest one available in the game), the 2008 Ducati 1098R. An area of particular interest is a phone message the player receives if all cars, including the downloadable cars, have been acquired. The message says "more high performance cars coming soon". This message can be displayed when a player continually enters and exits any garage.
On October 10, Rockstar released a free "police car pack" on Xbox Live. This gives the player the ability to race using five different types of police vehicles from Chevrolet and Dodge, with paint schemes from the Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and gives the player the ability to avoid the police while cruising or racing. The police will pursue the player if they are caught street racing. However, if the player turns on the siren while street racing, the police won't pursue the player, most likely because they believe the player is a fellow officer, hunting down the other street racers. On October 22, the police car pack was released on the PlayStation Network.
Midnight Club: L.A. RemixEdit
Midnight Club: L.A. Remix is a portable version of Midnight Club: Los Angeles, which was announced by Rockstar Games on April 21, 2008 for PlayStation Portable. The game was developed by Rockstar London and released on October 21, 2008 in North America and on October 24, 2008 in the PAL region. The game features only a portion of Los Angeles, using a slightly-modified version of the L.A. map from Midnight Club II. Making up for this, the game features another playable city, Tokyo, which uses the same map from Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Remix. Unlike the console version, the police do not chase the player in "Cruise" mode. However, the player can get caught after running from the police for a long period of time, and eventually getting boxed in, and getting no fine. Also unlike the console version, Midnight Club: L.A. Remix does not feature cutscenes. Also, the cars in the game have been split up meaning that one half of the cars can be used in Los Angeles while the other half can be used in Tokyo, the bikes aren't split as all three can be used in Los Angeles and Tokyo.
Rockstar Games released the Midnight Club: Los Angeles - Complete Edition as a PlayStation 3 Greatest Hits/Platinum Range title and a Xbox 360 Platinum Hit/Classics title on October 12, 2009. The Complete Edition features all of the map, vehicles, and music from the original Midnight Club: Los Angeles plus all of the previously available downloadable content on the disc to make up for lost progress, thus saving the player from starting all over again.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles was met with positive reception upon release. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 81.66% and 82 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 version; 80.64% and 81 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version; and 78.96% and 79 out of 100 for the PSP version.
Most reviews praise the game's detailed depiction of Los Angeles, great amount of depth and multiplayer options, consistent frame-rate, stylish presentation, and varied soundtrack. The areas that were criticized included the clichéd characters, slow texture loading when players start up the game and unbalanced difficulty.
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