Midtown Madness 2 Review

For PC

By Contributing Writer Chris George

Rating: Good
   Midtown Madness 2 is a great racing game because it offers two very 
important things that too many racing games don't: Freedom and variety.  
The only thing you really have to do is reach the finish line and/or 
complete the mission objective; how you go about doing it is completely up 
to you.
   You have the freedom to go wherever you want in huge replicas of San 
Francisco and London as you knock other cars out of your way, elude the 
cops, and make pedestrians flee for their lives in terror.  There's never a 
shortage of variety because Angel Studios and Microsoft came up with lots of
creative variants on the same basic gameplay formula.
   All of the gameplay modes are fun in their own unique ways.  The Cruise 
Mode lets you drive around the city with no objectives or time limit, 
allowing you to concentrate on causing total chaos throughout the city.  
The multi-player game gives you access to all of the single-player modes, 
plus an additional mode called Cops & Robbers (which is Capture the Flag 
with a piece of gold instead of a flag).  The classic CTF gameplay formula
works brilliantly within the context of a driving game.
   The best new addition to the game is the Crash Course mode, which 
drastically increases the depth and replay value of the experience.  You 
basically go through training to become a cabby or stunt driver, and Angel 
Studios did a commendable job of making the entire process fun from start to
finish.  You complete missions, take exams combining multiple missions into 
one big task, and unlock new cars and paint jobs along the way.  The tasks 
are hard enough to give the game some lasting power, while still never 
becoming so hard that they make you want to stop playing.
   The graphics are marred by some minor slowdown and clipping problems, but
are otherwise polished and nicely detailed.  The sound effects are realistic
and funny at the same time, with lots of nice little touches like people 
yelling at you as you hit their car and continue driving like nothing 
   Like any other game, Midtown Madness 2 does have a few problems.  In this
case, they're enough to prevent it from being a Game of the Year candidate 
and getting an Awesome rating, but they're still minor enough to ensure that
the game is loads of fun.  Your car acts like it's on ice sometimes, which 
makes the control a bit of a chore.  It's very upsetting when you're near 
the finish line and you graze a curb, causing your car to spin out of 
control and allowing the other cars to pass you.
   The game also has its fair share of glitches, but no more than is to be 
expected from a PC game.  The traffic AI can seem more than a little stupid 
when you see civilian-controlled cars remain motionless after the light 
turns green.  Also, in certain multi-player games, my car sometimes gets 
stuck to the ground and someone else has to kill me in order for the game to
   The innate gameplay magic from the original Midtown Madness is back and 
better than ever in the sequel, which is one of the most enjoyable racing 
games released so far this year.  Here's hoping that Microsoft brings this 
series to the Xbox in time for the system's launch.

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