Midnight Club 3 Remix > Need for Speed

User Rating: 9.7 | Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Remix (Greatest Hits) PS2
So out of spite for Need for Speed Underground 2 I took some of my tax refund and bought "Midnight Club 3 DUB Edition Remix"
Big enough title?
Anyways, it rocks. Gamespot, the only review network that appears to have ANY TESTICLES gave it a gleaming review and the "Greatest Hits" sticker automatically means the game is under $30, so I said what the heck? I grabbed the last copy at EB games and while I was walking to the counter I looked over at this little kid playing a sweet ass racing game. He was using a Mitsubishi Eclipse as a battering ram, totally destroying all the cars on the road. The game had HARDCORE graphics and the physics looked good and arcade-y. So I asked the guy behind the counter what game the kid was playing. He told me I had his last copy in my hand. That sealed the deal and I went home thirty bucks poorer. Now having played the game for 2 days straight I think I ripped HIM off.
The fact that Rockstar Games made it SHOULD have tipped me off, along with the fact that the manual outlined the SPECIAL POWERS you have access to in the game and had 4 pages just for music credits.
I know you're thinking, "special powers in a racing game? WTF?"
It might seem cheesy, but eventually you unlock three hardcore abilities. SUV's, trucks and luxury sedans have AGRO, which makes them invincible for short periods of time during which you can charge through traffic and competitors. Muscle cars and chopper bikes have ROAR, which sends out a shockwave of sound that sends every car around you careening off course. And sport bikes and tuner cars have ZONE, which allows the driver to slow down time to make precision movements.
All only last a short period of time and require different driving styles to power them up. But it's all very, very good.
The prevailing style of racing seems to be checkpoint races, which are cool because it's up to you to decide exactly how to get from point to point. The cities you race in are complex and filled with jumps, shortcuts and back alleys that make for a really unique experience. Right now, after only a few hours I have a Chrysler 300C, a '57 Chevy Bel Air, and a Lotus Elise. Very cool.
I only have one complaint, and it is minor. The arrow that points you in the direction of your next checkpoint can at times be a little hard to read. I find that it blends in a little too well with the rest of the HUD (heads up display)... But if you just check the nav map, you might not even need the arrow. It's no biggie.
So if you want a game that is essentially the free-roam ability of Underground 2 and Most Wanted (note that a whopping FOUR cities are included here) without the shoddy storyline, and with a LOT MORE cars and a deeper customization system, motorcyles, AND CLASSIC MUSCLE CARS, go find a copy of Midnight Club 3 Dub Edition Remix