Midnight Club: Los Angeles is a racing game not to be missed. I remember playing the original Midnight Club and not being too much of a fan, but started enjoying the series after its first sequel, but I'm unaware of the reason why. Regardless, the games in the series just keep getting better, and Midnight Club: Los Angeles is the best yet.
Let me first start out by saying that MCLA is a racing game unlike any other. Drifting away from the Need for Speed series, Forza, and Juiced for a moment, the game offers a small change in comparison to other racers: intense and in-depth customization. I think that's what really sold the game for me, aside from being a genuine street racing video game with an in-game cockpit view mode. I find myself attempting to win race after race just so I can trade in my previous car for a newer one that was unlocked through progressing through ranks, and then spend a good amount of time customizing it. It's not limitless customization, but I do enjoy the fact that there are a lot of items to choose from in terms of body kits, interior customization, colours and combinations, vinyls, neon lights, window tinting, and of course, vehicle performance.
I will admit, the story line is rather weak. Four years after Rockstar Games' release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and the company is still hooked on giving characters a ghetto or 'gangster' personality. "This doesn't take away from the overall quality of the game, though right?" Fa sho, fa sho my dude, fa sho. It's headache inducing though. I find myself shouting at the television, correcting the characters grammatically. "It's FOR SURE, not fa sho!" I would shout at them, to no avail. Not like I expect them to hear me or anything...but regardless. It's your basic story: young man comes to Los Angeles from an unknown town to make a name for himself in racing - slowly but surely rises through the ranks and becomes known as the "baddest racer all up and through LA."
Speaking of ghetto and gangster (pardon me if this offends anyone), but Rockstar wasn't shy to adding a plethora of rap songs in the game and only a small child's handful of rock or pop music. I felt like I was having their opinion that Los Angeles is full of gangster-ness shoved down my throat, and it was hard to enjoy the game when the only genre of music I enjoy is involved in the entire game, a mere 1.3%. I thought it was a damn shame to lack variety in music, but whatever.
The gameplay is thoroughly enjoyable - racing through the city and weaving in and out of traffic feels almost natural with this game. Every car handles differently, but slightly reminiscent to each other, so going from driving an '88 Volkswagen Scirocco to a Chevy Camaro SS to a Range Rover to an Aston Martin isn't too difficult to manage.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles is a racing game that almost any casual gamer will enjoy, despite the weak storyline and 'gangster' effect. I recommend the Complete Edition that comes with all of the downloadable content, which adds a lot more to the game.