Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Hands-On

We go hands on with the portable version of Rockstar's street racer.

Burning Rubber

Look for head-to-head wireless play this June in Midnight Club 3 for the PSP.

Following Rockstar's successful release of Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, the New York-based publisher set its sights on Sony's PlayStation Portable. While details have been fairly scarce on just what the PSP version of Midnight Club 3 would offer, we recently had the chance to talk to Rockstar and even got some hands-on time with the upcoming game. Though it's still a work in progress and it's still running off a development kit, the pint-sized racer packed a considerable punch with its impressive visuals and meaty selection of modes. Developer Rockstar Leeds, in conjunction with Rockstar San Diego (which handled the console version of the game), appears to be doing a fine job of miniaturizing the great console racer.

Simply put, Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition contains nearly all the content seen in its console cousins, sans online multiplayer. The multiplayer in the PSP game will be achieved through ad hoc Wi-Fi play in a variety of modes, some of which mirror the console game and others which are new. We were only able to try some single-player city racing in New York, but Rockstar reps on hand noted that the single-player experience is being faithfully re-created on the PSP, right down to an automotive store's worth of parts and a car lot's worth of vehicles.

The control scheme has translated nicely to the PSP and offers the responsiveness you'd hope for from a portable Midnight Club. We had the chance to try out a car and a bike and were pleased by the comfortable feel. The visuals in the game are looking sharp and are, unsurprisingly, very close to the PS2 game. The three cities--San Diego, Detroit, and Atlanta--are being faithfully re-created, and from what we can tell so far, they're set to be on par with what's been seen in the console game. You'll see legible billboards and traffic milling about. In addition, the game will throw out an assortment of particle and special effects. If you look closely, you'll find some reduced detail here and there, but what we noticed wasn't major. From a performance perspective, the frame rate wasn't 100 percent consistent yet, and the sense of speed wasn't quite there. However, both issues are on Rockstar Leeds' "to-do list," so they should be rectified.

Rockstar Leeds is burning the midnight oil (sorry) to cram DUB Edition into the PSP's tiny frame.
Rockstar Leeds is burning the midnight oil (sorry) to cram DUB Edition into the PSP's tiny frame.

Based on what we played, Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition is looking good. Fans of the console game should be pleased by what's being offered on the PSP. Although we'd obviously liked to have seen more original content in the PSP game, aside from the reworked multiplayer, the game experience is still a solid one. If you're looking for a deep racer that's fast and fun, you'd do well to keep an eye out for Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition when it hits on the PSP this June.

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