Sunday, November 2, 2008

Midnight Club & Dead Space

I finally got my second wind in Midnight Club: Los Angeles. It started out great -- as fun as the original and with more visual and story polish. Then I got a little lost in the wild for a bit. I guess I expected the game to be structured a bit more, so what I ended up doing was losing a lot of races that were too hard for me and spending all my money on speeding tickets. This meant slow progression in terms of performance upgrades (which makes it even harder to win tougher races) and slow progression in terms of cosmetic upgrades (which are at least a third of the fun of the game).

I finally just started milking the easiest races and got the money I needed to have fun (dominate against other low-ranking folks; being competitive against tougher foes; and being able to pimp out my car in cool ways). Now the game is getting much more fun and I can tell I'll be playing a bunch more of it.

One other thing that's really nice about the progression curve: I can earn a ton of cash racing the default car so that I can really soup up the harder-to-drive (more specialized) cars and make them easier to handle when I start out with them. I remember struggling with muscle cars in Dub Edition, but I don't think I'll have the same problem here because I'll be able to buy and upgrade one that handles well before I need to complete those missions.

That said, I need to take a quick break to check out Dead Space. It's just got too much good buzz to let it idle on my shelf any longer.

A couple of quick notes re: Midnight Club, first:
  • LB activates special move. I drove around for a long time before I could figure out how the mechanic work (powers up and then executes on LB press). See, you get the prompt to buy a special move upgrade -- and you get told to use it -- but you never get told HOW to use it. Whoops.
  • Cosmetic car customization is a bit too advanced for me. I much prefered the more restrictive options in Dub Edition because it guaranteed my car would look cool without much fuss. Between awkward camera controls and weird advanced/tecnical features required to customize decals, I think I'll be spending a lot less time on this feature. I can understand why they did this (to be competitive with games like Forza and PGR that have active online communities who love to share car porn).

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