Midnight Club: Los Angeles

Common Sense Media says

Gorgeous-looking racer shuns all traffic laws.

Age(i)

2
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9
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11
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Players spend their time looking for and engaging in illegal street races, wagering money and vehicles on their outcome. They tear through Los Angeles with little regard to property or people, though it's worth noting that the game's makers have made it impossible for players to hit civilians with their cars.

Violence

Slow motion car crashes can be pretty intense, but there is no blood and the drivers never appear injured.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Drivers taunt and insult one another, but they stop short of profanity. However, the soundtrack features songs with stronger language, including words like "damn," "bitch," and a variation of the "N" word.

Consumerism

Players spend the money they win in races on a wide variety of branded, real-world automobiles and parts. The phone used by the main character is recognizably a T-Mobile Sidekick.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the focus of this game is illegal street racing. Players careen through the streets of a realistic looking representation of Los Angeles with little regard for the property damage they cause or the people they narrowly miss running over (the game's makers have made it impossible to actually strike a pedestrian with a car). Parents of new teen drivers might want to consider a recent study which suggests that playing some racing games can increase one's willingness to take risks while driving in real life. Players also engage in virtual gambling activities, wagering money and authentic cars that have been licensed to appear in the game by real-world manufacturers. The language used by characters isn't particularly offensive, but the background music includes lyrics that some people will find objectionable.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

MIDNIGHT CLUB: LOS ANGELES, the latest entry in Rockstar Games' eight-year-old street racing franchise, puts players in the shoes of a daredevil driver who slips behind the wheels of customized cars to race through the streets of Los Angeles, from the city's downtown skyscrapers through Hollywood and Beverly Hills all the way to the beaches of Santa Monica. The goal of the game is to increase your driver's reputation and fatten his wallet by winning races so you can buy new rides, trick out the cars you already own, enter more challenging races, and become a street legend.

While the game's illegal street racing action will be a turn off for some players, others will delight in the game's delicious sense of speed and realistic settings. Careening at lethal speeds through the streets of L.A. requires completely focused attention and deft hand/eye coordination; you can't hit pedestrians (the game's makers have seen to that), but you can still crash spectacularly into buildings and other cars. Some races can be very difficult, but as you explore the city you will find no shortage of events and challenges to enter, ranging from simple checkpoint races and tournaments to jobs that require you to deliver vehicles undamaged to your garage's customers or cause damage to the vehicles of those customers who fail to make their payments. You can even create your own race routes in the race editor mode.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Regardless of one's taste for street racing, it's difficult to fault Midnight Club: Los Angeles for its presentation. The city architecture looks lovely, as do the cars, but the real treat is a dynamic camera that is capable of seamlessly zooming from street level to a bird's eye view of the city in a split second. It's not just eye candy; this trick offers the very practical benefit of providing a clearer perspective of the city's layout and the locations of various goals, all without pulling the player out of the game world. Expect to see this neat feature pop up in other games.

The game's only real downfall is that, despite its thrilling races and undeniably high production values, it can become a little monotonous. Whether you're playing online or locally, behind the wheel of a car or the handlebars of a motorcycle, racing against someone or trying to drive them off the road, everything boils down to driving really fast through the same city over and over again. As complaints go it's not a particularly bad one. Still, unless you have an extraordinary passion for fast driving, your attention will likely start to wane well before you've done everything this lengthy racer has to offer.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the dangers of street racing. Do you have any friends who street race? What is it about this potentially lethal activity that they find appealing? Some municipalities have gone so far as to pass legislation that gives police the right to permanently confiscate the cars and revoke the licenses of drivers they catch street racing. Do you think such measures are an effective deterrent? Why do you think street racing drivers don't choose to pursue a legal form of amateur or professional racing instead?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Rockstar Games
Release date:October 20, 2008
Genre:Racing
ESRB rating:T for T – Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Violence, Strong Lyrics (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

This review of Midnight Club: Los Angeles was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bymylibrarycardworeout August 17, 2011
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Great game, just a little violence.

This is a great game. The graphics are amazing. But my mom hates my playing it because it does encourage street racing. There is some bad language in it but I always turn the sound off while I play this game. The crashes are intense and when you play it on a big TV screen, its pretty good. The driver never is effected when he is in a crash. He is always fine. The consumerism is that the phone is a sidekick, and all of the cars are real. When you crash in most of the cars you usually just dent it until the damage become so extremely you loose control, fly though the air, and crash. The bikes that they have are a different issue. There are 3 bikes levels. There is the slow Ducati, the faster Ducati, and then the Kawasaki bike which is the fastest. The faster Ducati and the Kawasaki can go over 200 mph and when you crash, you go flying off your bike into the street. If this happens on the major road, the cars don't stop. They just run over you. There is violence, but if you just like the thrill of driving and racing (like me) this is a great game. It is a boys game, but that didn't stop me. The graphics in this game are amazing. But there are some glitches when I am playing, which are my complaint. The graphics sometimes don't fully load so it looks like you are driving in brown mush. So you have to pause the game and mess around. Otherwise the game is great.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Kid, 12 years old January 28, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Good game, but it gets old.......

This is a great racing game. The only problem is the language and it gets boring after a while. All in all, it is a great game.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old May 11, 2013
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

16+?!?!?!

16+?!?! It's more like 10+. Some profanity in the songs but other than that nothing bad. Fun racing game for 10+.

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