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Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition

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Spoilers, bumpers, exhausts, bonnets, tyres. The extent to which you're thrilled by this catalogue of car parts will give a good indication of whether the third iteration of Midnight Club street racing is for you. For, while the driving aspect of the game has been tweaked to deliver a corporeal improvement over the racing experience offered by its predecessor, it's the customisation that Rockstar San Diego has really gone to town on.

To this end, the staff of US car modding bible Dub have been brought on board as creative consultants. Customisation covers virtually every aspect you could think of, including vinyl and paint options, decals and rims. Rockstar claims that this is the "deepest selection of customisation options ever seen in a game" - and we believe them.

If the thought of spending hours fiddling with go-faster stripes fails to fill you with glee, you'll be pleased to learn that the real focus remains on the gameplay.

And while the basic premise closely resembles that of its predecessors, it's been improved and updated in every key area.

The main Career mode is now a cash-based endeavour and you begin with just enough dosh to buy a basic car. Win a race and you'll be rewarded with more money, a new car or an unlockable secret. The good news, though, is that you don't have to win every race in a city in order to progress to the next location, resulting in a less linear experience and also one that's less frustrating.

Elsewhere, we were impressed by the array of massive jumps on offer (it's even possible to pull off mid-air 360s if you get the timing right) and the more organic feel to the cities.

As for the online side of things, you'll be able to race with up to eight players, and we're promised a selection of new online team-based modes. Other tweaks include being able to join in mid-game; and the fact that, if a race's host leaves halfway through, another host is automatically chosen, allowing the chase to continue seamlessly.

The overall experience will be familiar to anyone who's played the earlier games in the series, but we're sure that this will be a much slicker and better executed representation of illegal neon-fuelled street speeding.

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