Midnight Club II Hands-On

We flagrantly ignore traffic laws in the upcoming Xbox and PC versions of Rockstar's street racing game.

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At Rockstar Games' display area on the E3 show floor, the company is showing off the upcoming Xbox and PC versions of its recent street racing game, Midnight Club II. Recently released for the PlayStation 2, Midnight Club II is notable for its gritty, stylized look, fast and arcadelike gameplay, open-ended urban driving, and online multiplayer features. The Xbox and PC versions will inherit all these traits, plus make some minor enhancements to smooth out some of the PS2 version's occasional rough edges.

The game looked really sharp on the PC, even though a Rockstar representative noted that the PC version has been in development for only a matter of weeks. It looks like the PS2 version, but much sharper and cleaner. The Xbox version looks better than the original as well, though ultimately all three versions of the game look roughly identical. All clearly share the same gameplay, as well, which involves a lot of sliding around corners, slamming into rival cars, and dodging obstacles. This is pure arcade racing--notably, the PC version was set up to be played with an analog gamepad, not a stick. Both versions offered smooth and responsive control.

Midnight Club II is slated to ship in the early summer for the Xbox and PC, though the Xbox version should hit the shelves a little sooner. It's essentially the same game, but the port seems to be taking advantage of the Xbox's and PC's relatively superior graphical processing power.

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