An already popular series returns and exclusively to the Xbox, here is Midtown Madness 3 and my this maybe just what we have been waiting for.
For most of us on Live! for the ultimate in competition we sit back and play either Moto GP online demo or Moto GP 2 to beat other people’s lap times, dash about to be a winner in a race and to progress up the rankings to hopefully score much higher then your rivals on your friends list. Midtown Madness 3 throws away all of the statistics that have been at the core of online play through Xbox Live! so far and instead aimed solely at pure bonkers fun.
Quite a risk in the online arena, but what they have risked has proved to succeed dividends and now you can race around with no regard to other drivers and enjoy the frantic driving, skidding, sliding and jumping off ramps rather then constantly worrying about how your online statistics will look. With the release of Moto GP 2 around the release of this game, we have two very different games. Racing in competition where rank means everything, or just the thrill of winning in a crazy, fun and outright bonkers of a game which is Midtown Madness 3.
This is such a refreshing change and I am sure the makers of Burnout II will be wondering why oh why they didn’t add full online play to the game as this game has proven that this sort of racing really appeals. So if there are no statistics, what does this game really have to offer for the Live! service. In one word, ‘fun’ and when I say fun I don’t mean the ‘fun’ you experience when playing football, I mean the ‘fun’ you get when playing ‘Paint Ball’. The shear thrill of manic gaming has arrived to our console and I can’t emphasize this enough.
The game modes online vary but all are great to play. The one that crops up mostly is the ‘Hunter’ mode. With up-to 8 players on one game session, one person is selected as the ‘hunter’. The Hunter is a police car which, if you are, will mean racing around the city and trying to crash into the others which turns them into hunters (police cars) as well. The game is won when all but one driver is left and all the rest are hunters.
‘Tag’ is very similar. One person starts with the tag which you have to pass on to someone else before the time runs out. If you don’t tag someone else in time you lose and the others continue until only 1 driver remains.
Also there is the more traditional ‘Checkpoint’ mode where you race around streets passing through checkpoints till you reach the finish line.
There are also other game modes like ‘Capture the Gold’, ‘Stayaway’ and Cruise which lets you explore and in the Washington DC city even play football if you can find the area. Every single game mode is well designed and work well in all the racing environments.
You have 2 cities that you can race around in, Paris and Washington DC. Both very well detailed to the point if you crash into a shop window you can see 3D manikins in clothing stores and all sorts of other apparel. Race around stairs and re-create ‘The Italian Job’ scenes when driving the Mini Coopers. The cities are extremely large as well which does mean there are quite a few jaggies around on the edge of buildings and cars to cope, but still the game looks incredible and runs extremely well considering all that is happening around you.
Knock over trees, lamp posts, tables, chairs, benches, traffic lights and many other things. Smash windows, leap over buildings using some of the hidden ramps located around the cities. Even drive under the city and in the subway. There are over 30 vehicles which are all available to drive online from the off. Nothing you have to unlock on single player to get the most out of online playing. There are hidden cars which you can unlock in Single Player but the wealth of cars is available with no hassle needed. If the cities feel too large you can limit it down to much smaller sections and the host of a game can make everyone use the same class of car to even the playing field to make it fair for all involved.
The single player game isn’t half as enjoyable when compared to online play through Live! but is still quite entertaining. You are working undercover and work in a variety of jobs such as Security Guard, Taxi Driver, Chauffeur, and many others. This melds many games into one like Crazy Taxi, Burnout and Project Gotham Racing.
Online heaven is here. If you needed one reason to get the Xbox Live! service, this is the one that will do it if others do not quite encourage you. The game is not serious, people seem a lot more relaxed and friendly making everything feel so sweet. This game hits the spot for online play, nothing more to say other then if you have Live! …. ‘get it’.
Rating: 4.5 / 5