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1UP: Midnight Club Los Angeles Multiplayer Hands-On Preview

1UP: "Multiplayer lobbies are firmly in the "ugly yet utilitarian" category of game features. Yeah, it's cool to jump from multiplayer soiree to multiplayer soiree with a bunch of pals, but it's also terribly uninteresting downtime. You recycle the same in-jokes and references among yourselves while waiting for the map to load up, and invariably, some jamook forgets to hit "ready" even though everyone else is yelling for him to hit A or X or whatever.

So it's nice to see how Midnight Club: Los Angeles makes the game itself a player lobby. The setup is pretty slick; you hit a button to go into an online "Quick Cruise" via your T-Mobile Sidekick, and suddenly, the streets of L.A. become populated by other players (up to 16). In general, the game puts you in the same online rendition of L.A. as your MC: L.A.-playing buddies on your friends list, but if you just want to race Lone Wolf McQuade style, you can jump into any open spot in a random online player's city.

Once you're online, starting a race is as simple as pulling up your in-game cellphone and initiating a challenge. After other players use their phones to accept, the participants automatically warp to the starting point (unlike the single-player game, where you go on a warm-up race to the starting point before the actual race). Of course, you can turn down any race invitation and keep on cruising around (but if you're going to turn down online races, why did you go online in the first place?)."

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