Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition PSP Review

I admit it, I've been pretty disappointed in the home ports of Midnight Club so far. Seeing a game reduced to the likes of a typical 2-D racing affair on the Game Boy Advance after playing through the excellent console editions just isn't the same. Fortunately, the slate has been wiped clean and Rockstar Games has finally delivered a faithful handheld racing experience with for the Sony PSP. It's a ride that isn't without its flubs, but still manages to be a very smooth ride.

The game follows in the same formula as its console brothers. You get to choose from a number of different modes, such as Arcade Mode, Quick Race, or Career Mode, where you can begin to build your repetoire as an underground street racer supreme. In this mode, you'll pick your own wheels, customize them to your liking, and then be able to cruise around a number of city locations, seeking out competitive racers and tournaments to take part in. There's quite a few events to complete and plenty of new cars and parts to purhcase, so your ride is almost ever-lasting.

The game also supports Wi-Fi multiplayer, and it's here that Midnight Club really manages to shine. Up to six players can take part in a number of racing events, and the action picks up greatly during each race, keeping things competitive and somewhat smooth. I say somewhat because that's one of the game's flaws- its speed.

In an effort to be faithful to the console version, Rockstar Leeds had their work cut out for them in representing the game's shiny appearance. It still remains wonderful to look at with detailed tracks and city locations, but as a result, the frame rate takes a knock at times, especially if you strike objects or vehicles. Even standing around in the garage, things slow down. Could this not have been fixed in the debug copies?

Also noticeable is the game's excruciating loading times. We're talking about a minute to two minutes for a game to load up, which is probably some kind of world record since some old 3DO vaporware. If you can stand this, however, and get used to the wait times, you'll find that the racing action is most certainly worth it.

Another neat item to point out would be the game's booming audio. There's a full soundtrack at play here that really gets you in the mood to race, and the sound effects and dialogue are faithful to the theme at hand. Match that with the game's customizing features and you're in for a good racing experience.

If only some of the graphic quirks and loading times had been addressed, we would have had the kind of racing game that could've sat alongside Ridge Racer rather proudly. As is, it's still recommended for its fast gameplay and stacked features, as well as its multiplayer attachments. Give it a spin and see if you can handle the ride.

4

What's Hot: Perfectly emulates the fun of the console versions.

What's Not: Load times so slow, you can knit sweaters between them.