Rockstar Games (the makers of Grand Theft Auto) has had a street-racing game series called “Midnight Club” for a little while now, but recently it's been facing some intense competition from EA's Need for Speed: Underground 2. (NFSU2)
While Midnight Club does do free-roaming better (it's even available during races, so you can take more hidden shortcuts and explore the map to some extent), the car customization options and overall gameplay just totally isn't as good or exciting as it is in the NFSU series. It's gotten better in Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition, the latest title in the series, but it still has a ways to go.
Need For Speed Underground 2 is honestly one of my favorite games on PlayStation 2, mainly just because the “feel” of the game is so well-aligned with nightlife, and the city feels alive when you play it. — You can explore other areas as well, customize cars (with body accessories, tune-up parts, etc.) by visiting shops located throughout the map, unlock new races and story mode updates, and more.
Midnight Club 3 tries to have a story mode, too… but as mentioned, the feel of the game is just “off” by comparison. To me, it's basically just Midnight Club 2 (the previous title) with the following:
- An attempted storyline.
- An attempt at vehicle customization. (They did an okay job, but it's still far from the feel of NFSU's tuning and customization elements.)
- An attempt to make things less linear in terms of gameplay. (They've added more race opportunities, so you don't have to simply stick to the predefined flow of the game.)
- It's still missing a “16:9 Widescreen” display option on PlayStation 2, which is an annoying gameplay setback to anyone with a newer TV.
… If I had to rate the game, I'd give it maybe a 2.6 out of 5, where as NFSU2 would be rated much higher for sure. 😕 — If you're interested in checking this game out, I'd say be sure to rent it first.
If you're going to buy anything at this point, perhaps just get Need For Speed Underground 2 until the series can improve further. 👍🏻