Puzzle games and Online games

Midnight Club: Los Angeles

Posted on: June 4, 2010

Midnight club has dragged itself out of the shadows and in doing so has instantly disassociated itself with the slightly teenage Fast and Furious aesthetic. This is an older, wiser, classier racer than before, with slick, HDR-lit visuals and a genuine sense of power in its engines. As its core, though, Midnight Club remains faithful to its original premise. The open world is used to stage races with no boundaries point-to-point challenges where having a taxi-driver like knowledge of the streets pays dividends.

You can follow the flaming checkpoints, of course, but savvy drivers will use back alleys, subtly disguised ramps and corner-shaving petrol stations to gain an advantage. Nothing new of course, but rarely has it looked and left so coherent and substantial. The RAGE engine has been created not just to shift polygons but also to emote, to allow Rockstar’s development teams to suck us further into their games.

A good example of such immersive techniques is Los Angeles Turbo mode. The camera slides in behind the car when you hit the NOS, the screen fades to sepia and the bass begins to thud. The sense of danger is dramatically increased: the motion blur combined with a narrowed viewing angle makes dodging through the traffic a harrowing experience. Just as it should be, and when you crash, the impact is terrifying. Whereas other racing titles may revel in the pornographic glory of a traffic accident, Los Angeles has gone for a raw, gritty, nasty feel.

Adding to this notion of gritty reality, Los Angeles is a stringently streaming gaming experience, while the arcade handling and ridiculous speed disregard any notion of genuine realism, this is still a world that wants you to believe its real. So, after flagging a rival driver for a race, you drive to the start line, race your wheels into the axles, and then finish, straight back into the city. No loading times, no menus, everything has been crafted so you feel connected to the Los Angeles streets. Immersion is Rockstar’s ethos this generation.


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