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Anthony Capone
30 Dec, 2008

Midnight Club: LA Remix Review

PSP Review | Los Angeles earns another solid remix.
Third-party games on the PlayStation Portable have been few and far between this year. One title hoping to defy the growing trend is Rockstar's Midnight Club: LA Remix, the portable tie-in to the excellent Midnight Club: Los Angeles on Xbox 360 and PS3. Racing games have often been either hit-or-miss when developed on Sony's portable device, but for the most part, LA Remix is right on the money. Racing can often be hampered by challenging AI, but with robust controls and a detailed racing world, Midnight Club: LA Remix is an entertaining and adrenaline-filled adventure.

The first thing you notice about Midnight Club: LA Remix is that it pulls out all the stops to make the game a challenge. Things start out easy enough, but after a while, keeping your foot (or finger) on the accelerator is only part of the winning formula. The key to getting in front is finding the quickest path from start to finish (which isn't always obvious), and staying ahead of the competition. Indeed, the AI does all it can to maintain the challenge, being extremely good at speeding ahead and pulling tight corners. Opposing cars frequently attempt to bash you out of the race, especially at the higher difficulty levels. This sometimes becomes a little frustrating, as your car can be thrown so far out of the race that hitting restart is the only option left. Attempting to slam your own car against the opposition isn't recommended, as you hardly ever come out on top. The other issue when racing is that there are either too few marker placements or they aren't always obvious. Though casual players may be turned off by the gruelling format of races, Midnight Club fans are sure to lap up the challenge.

There are many cars to choose from in LA.

There are many cars to choose from in LA.
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Midnight Club: LA Remix's story is simply a loose attempt to tie the endless racing scenarios together. That doesn't really matter though, as LA Remix is a very entertaining experience, thanks chiefly to the racing atmosphere portrayed in the game. LA Remix offers a nice array of cars and bikes to choose from, all of which can be upgraded and customised. To help ensure you pass the finish line first, it's useful to make use of your car's special abilities and various power-ups. For example, the ‘Zone’ ability slows time and is handy when executing tight corners or navigating through heavy traffic.

Solid controls also propel LA Remix ahead of the competition. Manoeuvring through Los Angeles is always a joy, courtesy of the adrenaline rush you get whenever speeding through strategically placed traffic. Managing the position of your car on the road is always relatively easy, as the developers have struck the right balance between sensitivity and speed. Indeed, no matter which direction players steer their car, it will generally go exactly where you want it to.

Aside from racing through the streets of Rockstar's rendered Los Angeles, you can explore the city at your own leisure. And if players tire of the free-roaming mode, you can always go back to challenging other rev-heads. The game features a handy GPS overview of LA, from which the location of new races can be found. In order to initiate a new match, you can either flash your headlights at another car, or race your rivals to the starting line.

Everyone needs a nice set of wheels.

Everyone needs a nice set of wheels.
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Reputation plays a part in Midnight Club: LA Remix. Whenever you finish first in a race, you reputation grows higher. Once players reach the requisite amount of ‘rep’ points, Tokyo appears as a playable location for the next round of street racing. In order to make the trip to Japan, players need to win an insane amount of races. The associated downside of this is that Los Angeles can quickly become very repetitious. Further, the tough artificial intelligence often make races go for longer than they should. Indeed, LA Remix is best experienced in short bursts, making it an excellent game if you use the PlayStation Portable to pass time on pubic transport. Be warned though, loading times in LA Remix sometimes seem endlessly long.

Midnight Club: LA Remix incorporates a fairly detailed vehicle customisation mode. It's always fun deciding what paint job to include with your car, and there are a heap of styles and patterns to choose from. Deciding the colour of your car won't make or break your winning streak, but pairing the right parts together can sometimes mean the difference between first and second place. Players can benefit greatly in the early stages of the game if they focus on acquiring better engines rather than customised colour patters.

LA looks good, but like any other city.

LA looks good, but like any other city.
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Graphically, Midnight Club: LA Remix does a good job of representing Los Angeles and Tokyo. Both cities are massive, though there isn't much to distinguish the two. Streetscapes can sometimes appear a little artificial, but there is plenty of detail in cars and bikes. Animations and modelling are also fairly good. Thankfully, the soundtrack isn't annoying (like some other racing games), and sound effects are above average.

Midnight Club: LA Remix allows for up to four players to race each other in ad hoc multiplayer. Thankfully, players can take any of their collected vehicles from the single-player mode into multiplayer. Aside from standard races, there are a few other multiplayer modes on offer. Tag and Capture the Flag make for more of a demolition derby, and are always fun. Paint is perhaps the most entertaining mode – it's all about covering as much ground as possible in order to shade the city completely in your colours before time runs out.

If you can persist past the challenging AI and annoying restarts, there is plenty for everyone to enjoy in Midnight Club: LA Remix. With in-depth vehicle customisation and an endless supply of races, LA Remix offers hours of entertainment. Solid controls allow for precise vehicle handling, and visuals convey an authentic racing experience. The PlayStation Portable has seen somewhat of a dry spell in 2008, and Rockstar's racing title goes some way to filling the gap. Overall, Midnight Club: LA Remix is an entertaining racing game and worthy cousin to its console counterpart.
The Score
Midnight Club: LA Remix is an expansive and detailed game, and is sure to please anyone with an appetite for speed.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Content

Midnight Club: Los Angeles Review
18 Nov, 2008 Los Angeles like you know.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles Preview
26 Jul, 2008 Driving down Sunset Boulevard has never been so pretty.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles and LA Remix dated
04 Jul, 2008 Racing onto shelves this October.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  24/10/2008 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $49.95 AU
Publisher:
  2K Games
Genre:
  Racing
Year Made:
  2008

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