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Midnight Club: Los Angeles (often shortened to Midnight Club: L.A. or MCLA) is the fourth video game in the Midnight Club series of racing video games, not including Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Remix. It was officially announced for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on May 16, 2007 by Rockstar Games. The game was developed by Rockstar San Diego. The game features 43 cars and 3 motorcycles. The map of Los Angeles is confirmed to be the size of all three cities from the previous installment combined. It has also been confirmed by several sources that each car has a polygon count of roughly 100,000. After several delays, Midnight Club: Los Angeles was released on October 21, 2008 in North America, on October 24, 2008 in Europe and Australia, and on February 5, 2009 in Japan.

Released media

Beginning in late August 2007 at the Leipzig Games Convention, Rockstar began releasing screenshots and trailers that showcased the new 24-hour cycle, new makes including Ford and Mazda, and the city of Los Angeles itself. In all, a total of seven trailers were released along with many clips that showcased cars that appear in the game.

Another screenshot update for the game confirmed that Midnight Club: Los Angeles is the third video game to feature the Dodge Challenger concept and the Chevrolet Camaro concept.

Along with various videos and screenshots, Rockstar began opening individual sections of the video game's official website that featured new videos, screenshots and characters. At the annual Leipzig Games Convention in 2008, gamers were given the first chance to play Midnight Club: Los Angeles head-to-head multiplayer. As the release date drew nearer, Rockstar revealed several contests which included prizes from Pizza Hut and Footaction USA. Rockstar has also teamed with the Air Jordan Brand to make a pair of limited edition Midnight Club shoes to celebrate Midnight Club: Los Angeles.

Soon after, a sample of the Midnight Club: Los Angeles soundtrack was released, which has a total of 97 songs. The music includes a variety of genres such as hip-hop, rock and electronic, including Maino, Nas, The Cool Kids, Digitalism, Agent Elf, DJ Felli Fel, Bishop Lamont, MURS and No Age. The Live Launch Event introduced the remix of the Eagles of Death Metal soundtrack-featured song, "Wannabe in L.A." from their album Heart On, at the Virgin Megastore in Los Angeles.

On October 20, 2008, Midnight Club: Los Angeles was released in the United States and the music section of the website was released, revealing all music tracks in the game. The full vehicle list was also revealed, showing vehicles such as the Ford Mustang GT Convertible and Ford Shelby Cobra Concept.

Plot

The main character of Midnight Club: Los Angeles
A man from the East Coast moves to Los Angelesmarker. The character, known only as "Player", takes a major role in the game. In the intro of the game, he is on the phone with the, unknown at the time, Los Angeles City Champ, Booke, telling him to meet at a fast-food restaurant named Carney's Express Limited. He hooks the protagonist character up with three cars, one to pick, in the beginning of the game: a 1998 Nissan 240SX, 1983 Volkswagen Golf GTI, or 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco.

Early in the game, the protagonist character asks Booke saying if someone can help him with his car. After a few missions, the character receives a call from a Russian man, from Moscowmarker, named Karol, who plays a big part throughout the game, telling him that he is welcome to use his garage, Hollywood Auto, as a safehouse where the character can buy and sell vehicles, paint the body, upgrade the engine, or any other thing the character wants to do to his vehicle. Shortly after, the character meets Annie, who has earned a reputation as one of the finest drivers in the city. Karol calls introducing him to Delivery Missions, where he must deliver cars with very little damage in a certain amount of time. After that the character is introduced to "Time Trials" where he has a certain amount of time to make his way around the city in a certain vehicle. The first vehicle the character uses is a 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse. After each and every time trial, someone calls saying that it has been beaten, meaning the character must do it again, sometimes even more than twice. With many time trials, payback missions and regular races, Annie calls saying to race these people at the 7-Eleven in Santa Monica.

Around 70% completed, the character meets an young man named Andrew. After a few races with Andrew and other missions to build rep and money, with City Optional Races with no major character involved, Booke calls the character about a payback mission where a man named Jin owes Booke money, and the character has to take his car out. After the mission, where Jin is released from the hospital Booke calls and says that they have been challenged to a Team-Ordered race between Jin and Andrew. After the race, the Los Angeles Police Department starts going after the street racers, and they chase the character in a mission called "Lose the Cops", where the character must race from an abandoned gas station to Carneys without the cops noticing. During the mission Booke calls and says that if he doesn't come back and get him, "they're done with each other". Later after, Andrew calls saying that he wants to race in his 1995 Mazda RX-7. Later Annie calls again saying to race her in her new Shelby Cobra Concept. After, Andrew calls the character, in a very bad mood, saying "Well if it isn't Mr. Big Win, you think you're so good using your foot to step down on a pedal, yeah yeah. Now let's see how well you do on a bike! Get your hands on a motorcycle and get some rep out of it and then we'll talk!" He calls back saying that bikers want to race the character in a hangout downtown. After the tournament, five races and another city race, Andrew challenges the character in a 2006 Ducati 999R.

After the tournament, Booke says that the character needs to have the right to race him, now that he is interested because he has made a fine reputation, by racing the District Class Champs: Tommy, Leon, and Laticia. Aside from the District Champ races, the character also begin a series of Class Champ races, one Champ he has to beat all five vehicle classes on the game from the characters Oswaldo, Julian, Lester, Pete, Marcel, which is part of the final part of the game. After the character beats the district champs, Booke calls saying he is impressed, and to meet him at the Standard Hotel for a race which ends up being the City Champ race vs. Booke and one of the final races on Career mode.

After all the Class Champs and the City Champ are beat, Karol later calls and asks for a proposition from the character. He asks him to get $1 million dollars to help co-own his two garages with him for his business. In return, since the character co-own the two garages with him, he lets the character have anything in the garages for free. This proposition also affects Doc's South Central garage although the game does not mention it.

After the character has completed 100% in LA in the PSP version, an unknown man somehow has reached his cell number, and calls saying that he wants to meet him at the Los Angeles International Airportmarker on "his flight to Tokyomarker" then the character says "You talking about the Mid Night Club?" After the call, the Tokyo career and map can be accessed in Midnight Club: LA Remix.

Gameplay

The game is set in the city of Los Angeles, again providing the option to completely free-roam (in a map larger than all the three cities combined from the previous game, Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition). New additions are a 24 hour day-to-night cycle, weather effects and traffic with licensed vehicle, adding a realistic aspect to the game. After races, if any damage is inflicted upon the vehicle, the player doesn't necessarily have to drive back to the garage for a full repair, but instead can choose the Quick Fix option through which old, junkyard-esque parts will be added to the car. To get the nice look back, the player must actually drive back to repair their vehicle at a garage or at a gas station so totaling the car is only possible within a single race or event. With the RAGE system being used for this game, traffic levels fluctuate throughout the day, with heavy traffic in the morning and afternoon, and little traffic at night. Motorcycles are again part of the game, including the Ducati 999R and the hyper sport bike, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14. Convertible cars, customizable interiors, in-game photo mode, and customizable exotics are all new additions.

The Special Abilities options have also been brought into the game (a returning feature from the previous installment), which include EMP, when activated will disable the electronics of every vehicle around the player; Agro, when activated will make the player's vehicle indestructible giving him the ability to plow through traffic without slowing the car down; Roar, when activated will send out a sound wave moving traffic out of the player's way for a clear and straight path through the streets; Zone, when activated will slow down time allowing the player to get between that tough gap in the traffic or letting you get around that sharp corner without losing too much speed. The previous installment had limited which type of car could get that special ability, but all cars in this game can now have any one of the special abilities, that the player chooses. The abilities can also be changed at any time the player feels.

Police return but are no longer scripted to a specific race; they will chase the player no matter where the player is and the longer the player runs from them, the higher the fine will be if the character is arrested. Developers placed great emphasis on the elimination of load screens, stating that the player can literally jump from career mode to an online race in under ten seconds. The new dynamic weather system has been reported to alter the gameplay experience, making the vehicle more prone to sliding in the rain.

Online features

Online play supports 16 players at once and a number of new modes will be introduced including, Keep Away where the player must hold the flag as long as he can and Stockpile in which there are numerous flags to be captured. New online power-ups mentioned include Mirror (will reflect any power-up fired at the player back to the person who fired it), Agro (will act the same as the offline special ability, increasing the players vehicle weight and enabling them to crash through other vehicles without taking damage or slowing down), and Random (gives the player a random power-up). A new aspect entitled "Rate My Ride" is also to be introduced, where the players can go online to view vehicles that other players have created.

PlayStation Network trophies are also included, with a total of 46 trophies to be won.

Social Club

Midnight Club: Los Angeles is a part of Rockstar's Social Club and includes features that track the stats of the player's driving and potentially award them with various in-game content such as hydraulics, TIS rims, and the Audi R8. In order to obtain these rewards, players must fulfill certain requirements to achieve their C-License, their B-License, and A-License. Once each license is acquired, a new reward is obtained. Players can also view their in-game Rate A Ride vehicle's rating, rate other player's vehicles, view their statistics and compare them with other players, view online leaderboards, and upload and share in-game photos. The Social Club also hosts Online Tournaments that award prizes to winning entrants.

Reception

Midnight Club: Los Angeles received generally favorable reviews from critics. Most reviews praise the game's detailed depiction of Los Angeles, great amount of depth and multiplayer options, consistent frame-rate, stylish presentation, and varied soundtrack. The areas that were criticized included the clich├ęd characters, slow texture loading when players start up the game and unbalanced difficulty.

Game Informer magazine gave it a 9/10, praising the game by saying "Midnight Club: Los Angeles is just what the doctor ordered: a fun, fast racing experience with enough content to keep you playing for months." They also praised the virtual recreation of the map of Los Angeles by saying, "The cityscape is amazing. The level of detail and the sheer amount of roadway to tear up seems limitless, and the diversity of L.A. lends it a less monochromatic feel than Burnout Paradise."

IGN gave it 8.5/10 and an Editor's Choice Award by saying, "Midnight Club: Los Angeles is a great racing experience with a few mars on its paint job. The cars handle fantastically, the city is nearly perfect, the GPS stuff is awesome and customizing your ride is great." They also address the difficulty by saying, "...but don't expect an easy time on the streets."

GameSpy gave the game a 4.5/5 and an Editor's Choice Award, praising the game by saying, "The original open-world street racer leaves the competition in the dust." They also said, "And speed is the name of the game. MCLA's sense of velocity is breathtaking. The graphics are practically photorealistic..." They also addressed the difficulty by saying, "Single-player learning curve can be a bit steep." In conclusion they said, "...there's much more than enough game here to justify the price tag. If you invest the time in tricking out your ride and mastering the more challenging difficulty levels, you'll be rewarded with an adrenaline rush that you won't find anywhere else."

Updates, expansion, and downloadable content

Since its release the game has had multiple updates and Downloadable Content releases.

The first update released on December 9, 2008 included improved AI balance to better adjust to players skill level, the cops are improved, and the Xbox 360 got additional leaderboard support for tournaments on Rockstar Social Club. Also part of the update was an additional online game mode called "Modes", where the user could choose to go to a lobby to play various race and flag modes instead of just one specific mode, aside from cruise mode.

The most recent update is entitled the South Central Upgrade And Content Pack, and it includes a whole new area of the map, South Central LA, about a third of the size of the current map, for free. Players are also able to purchase the pack which includes new character competitions, races, music and cars available in a single complete package. New vehicles include various cars and, for the first time in the game, SUVs. The content was originally scheduled to release on March 12, but delayed to March 19 with no comment from Rockstar. Problems occurred on March 19, when trying to release it on Xbox Live and delayed for a second time. It was also stated that additional car packs will be released in the future, but on March 27 Rockstar accidentally put the vehicle packs on Xbox Live. They were removed from the marketplace later that day and anybody who was downloading it at that time was asked to stop. On January 14, 2009, the content pack was accidentally released on the Xbox Live Marketplace during its testing and approval phase by Microsoft. It was then removed and anyone who was able to obtain it was asked to delete it because it may cause unforeseen problems with achievements and save data, according to a Xbox Live Marketplace staff member. On March 23, there was an event posting on Xbox Live Events for Midnight Club: Los Angeles South Central scheduled for March 29, but later that day it was removed from the events section. Rockstar then put a new post up on the Midnight Club: Los Angeles website on March 30 saying that the event was to be on April 4. On March 27, both the South Central Expansion and Premium Pack were released on the Xbox Live Marketplace for download. On 23rd of April the second vehicle pack was released on Xbox Live and PSN which included 4 new vehicles 2008 Cadillac XLR V, 2008 Lancer Evolution X and an extra motorcyle (the new fastest one on the game), the 2008 Ducati 1098 R. An area of particular interest is a phone message the player receives if all cars, including the DLC cars, have been acquired. The message says "more high performance cars coming soon". This message can be displayed when a player continually enters and exits any garage. On October 22, Rockstar released a free "police car pack" on the PlayStation Network. This gives the players the ability to race using 5 different types of police vehicles and gives players the ability to avoid the police while cruising or racing. On October 10, the police car pack was released on the Xbox 360 marketplace.

Midnight Club: Complete Edition

On September 18th, Amazon revealed Midnight Club: Complete Edition for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Bundled with this version of the game are the South Central Map Expansion, South Central Vehicle Pack #1 and #2, and South Central Premium Upgrade. All of these extras are located on the disc itself. It was released on 13th November.

Midnight Club: L.A. Remix

Logo for the PSP version
Midnight Club: L.A. Remix is a portable version of Midnight Club: Los Angeles, which was announced by Rockstar Games on April 21, 2008 for PlayStation Portable. The game was released on October 21, 2008 in North America, on October 24, 2008 in Europe and Australia, and on February 5, 2009 in Japan.

The game features only a portion of Los Angelesmarker, using the same map from Midnight Club II. Making up for this, the game features another playable city, Tokyomarker, which uses the same map from Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Remix. Unlike the console version, the police do not chase the player in "Cruise" mode. However, the player can get caught after running from the police for a long period of time, and eventually getting boxed in, and getting no fine. Also unlike the console version, Midnight Club: L.A. Remix does not feature cut scenes. Also,the cars in the game have been split up meaning that one half of the cars can be used in Los Angeles while the other half can be used in Tokyo, the bikes aren't split as all three can be used in Los Angeles and Tokyo.

References

External links




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