Midnight Club: Los Angeles

Rockstar's RAGE engine has been put to great use, and as the car was thrown into vomit-worthy turns, the camera dropped and zoomed to the car's side. Excitement is a key word in LA. The crashes are every bit as impressive as those found in Burnout, although you'd do well to avoid smashing your car - incur too much damage and you'll not only suffer a penalty but the quick-fix will leave behind a shoddy paintjob and unfinished bodywork. Despite bundling into an oncoming car, our guide made clever use of the slip-stream boost to slingshot past the lead and snatch victory last bend-style.

After the race, the prizes - cash to purchase NOS and upgrades and reputation to unlock races and rides - flashed up on-screen and then it was straight back to cruising around the city where we'd finished up. An entire race had been and gone without so much as a hint of loading, and we were once again massively enjoying a cool gentle roll around the streets as the evening sun set on the city. All in all: beautiful.


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