PSP – Midnight Club 3: Dub or Dumb Edition?

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Okay I admit, this title seems very negative but it is justified, I promise! The fact is I love this game… When it’s not being inconsistent. For a start Rockstar Leeds did an amazing job on the PSP port. Essentially, it’s like looking at a slightly lower resolution version of the original and on a screen this small and sharp, often there seems to be no difference at all.

This means that all the good stuff is there from the PS2 version, starting with the brilliantly diverse line-up of both music and cars. For someone who enjoys many different styles, this is a huge strength in the game.

Few games allow you to race a 70’s Camaro against a Saleen, Dodge Viper and a Kawasaki Ninja at the same time, on the same ‘circuit’. Absolute heaven if you’ve always wanted to do such things. The customisation is very deep, satisfying and sometimes more fun then the actual races! To top off the positives, the control is almost perfect. It seems slightly less forgiving than the PS2 version but eventually you get used to it.

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However even after all this time, the biggest issue still exists. Namely if you’re going to have an open ended circuit, design each course so that there’s more than one viable way to win! After all if there’s only one viable route to take, why bother making the checkpoints give the illusion of it being so open? Due to this design it is often left to trial and error to find the single ‘true’ route providing much frustration.

There are many scripted events in the game where you may find yourself crashing and burning for the wrong reasons. There’s one race in the game where every time you take a certain route (the fastest one) and a truck magically appears and drives straight across your path. Now, if you’re lucky, you’ll drive straight through its wheels, COOL! However, if you’re unlucky, you could easily throw the whole race and that’s not fun. Especially if you have to re-load a whole tournament!

Finally it suffers a similar problem to Burnout 3, namely, when you have a big slo-mo’ crash, although your car glides in slow motion the clock keeps ticking at normal speed – And so do your rivals. Unfair? Guess so.

In spite of these faults, when it’s good it’s amazing. The city streets glisten with light, your engine roars and your tires squeal as you push your car through a slide at top speed and, perhaps because of all the frustration, there’s an amazing sense of satisfaction when you win.

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So yes, MC3 is at best a lovely game, an exciting experience that makes you feel warm inside but only when you’re doing the optional races that you are not obliged to do. Just be prepared to get frustrated from time to time.

Rating: 8/10 (Wonderfully deep and atmospheric, but occasionally too damn random)