Rockstar Games' excellent Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition hits the Sony PSP in fine style with a near console quality release with plenty of options including extensive customization options, dozens of race modes, online wi-fi play and sterling visuals. The game is addictive and offers players a great number of options and gameplay modes. Sadly, It suffers from long load times, but the high-quality production values make this an acceptable trade-off. Midnight Club 3 is an exciting, challenging racing title that offers a hip urban feel with intense races, slick tunes and, some really cool power-ups. Read on and find out why MC3 is one of the slickest PSP racers yet.
Transporting players deep into the street
culture underground for a nocturnal urban racing joyride, Rockstar's excellent
Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition captures the essence of street racing culture.
Club 3's basic racing structure doesn't diverge from the previous two games, but
there are some interesting twists, such as a much deeper customization options,
more parts and a generally cooler aesthetic that makes the game stand out from
the earlier installments. There's much that's familiar. For example, during the
point-to-point races, the object is to cross each checkpoint before your
opponent, which are indicated by torches that light up the skies and are visible
behind even tall buildings, making them easy to locate. The interface is
likewise similar to previous titles. As you pass each checkpoint, the
directional arrow onscreen will point you to the next section. There is also an
onscreen map that shows you the layout and can be extremely helpful if you lose
your way. Midnight Club 3's controls are very easy to use, and the number of
power-ups such as Nitro and Roar can be implemented at a push of a button. The
cars are exceptionally responsive, making cornering and dodging easy to
accomplish. Many of the basic skills you'll need in the game should be fairly
simple to master, while others such as riding behind a rival and gaining their
slipstream, or learning to drive the vehicle on two wheels require some
practice. What helps the learning curve immensely is the non-linear structure
that allows players to proceed at their own pace, gradually building up the
skills to challenge the more difficult later levels. While the earlier levels
are relatively straightforward with predictable AI opponents, things become
harder as you work up the ranks and your rivals become more aggressive, making
them harder to predict and defeat.
From an aesthetic standpoint, Midnight Club 3 is one of the best-looking PSP racing titles to date, an impressive achievement when you see the high level of competition. The car models themselves look fantastic, with an incredible amount of customization available, allowing you to imprint your own style on your rides. The game's graphics engine is impressive with the races moving at an incredibly high speed throughout with little slowdown. Special effects such as lighting and speed blurring add to the game's excellent visual aesthetic. Its street feel is authentic thanks to the outstanding soundtrack. In keeping with the slick underground atmosphere, MC3 emphasizes hip-hop but also includes other genres such as techno and dance. The songs are very high quality with a number of well-known artists contributing tracks to the game. Midnight Club 3's most impressive aspect lies in its cities, which are huge and densely packed with objects such as buildings and structures. Roads intersect realistically and the numerous branches means you can explore each city for quite awhile before you run across the same sections. This is quite an impressive achievement, and Rockstar deserves praise for transferring an ambitious console racer to the PSP handheld with very little lost in the translation. While Midnight Club 3's expansive racing environments give players a great sense of freedom, including such large racing areas come at a price: there are some long load times in the game, which is especially evident in the career mode. While it is slightly frustrating, the nearly console quality visuals, expansive environments, and deeply satisfying play makes these waits an acceptable trade-off. It can get aggravating but, the load times are worth sitting through, since the racing is as intense and enjoyable as anything you'd find on a larger console.
What really makes Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition stand out from the pack isn't any one of its individual elements, but the total package. In typical Rockstar fashion, the game creates a cohesive game environment that immerses the player into the world of underground street racing with plenty of flash and style. Its extensive vehicle customization features add an incredible amount of depth to the game, allowing you an almost unlimited number of options. The visuals look impressive throughout, especially for the PSP, with a solid frame rate and excellent environmental effects that create a believable game world. Underpinning all of this style is plenty of substance, with solid gameplay that offers plenty of depth, solid mechanics, and intense gameplay in a non-linear structure that makes the game both accessible and challenging. This is a highly polished game throughout with outstanding production values and solid gameplay. While it does suffer from some long load times, this is a small price to pay. Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition is another outstanding installment for the popular street racing franchise making an impressive appearance on the PSP. This excellent, addictive, and deep title is well worth your time.