Midnight Club II is an open-world street racing game that takes place in 3 different cities. Several modes are offered to play through, the main game being the 'Career Mode'. Multiplayer, Quick Race and Race Editor modes are also available. Multiplayer plays differently than races in Career Mode since powerups are available to the player, turning it a bit into a car-combat game at the same time. This option, however, can be turned off.
On May 11th, 2012, Rockstar made the game free for Steam users if they joined the Rockstar Games Community for a limited time.
Midnight Club II's career mode consists of challenging each racer in the game's major cities. Each opponent has a select number of races/challenges and beating said races unlocks his or her vehicle for your use. Race types are all checkpoint-based but vary in type. Certain races will have a set path to follow while others will have an arbitrary number of checkpoints mapped across the city and they need to be collected in any order you see fit. Each city has a different type of racing style, affecting the races you'll encounter from the many characters featured in each city. These cities are:
Los Angeles is the first city you will race in. You will immediately be dropped into a race with a character named Moses who will message you from time to time early-on in the game. Later encountered is Gina who, not only becomes a girlfriend figure in the game, but also unlocks motorcycles and sends you voice messages giving you helpful hints for each race and different vehicle techniques. Los Angeles is populated with wide turns, very long straight-aways and vacant lots. You are introduced to Nitrous in this city for the first time. Landmarks of L.A. include the Los Angeles Convention Center (Where E3 is held), the water canal and the L.A.X. Airport.
Paris is the second city that is unlocked and features extremely technical races, very big slopes and hills and a 4 lane-wide highway that circles the entire city. Paris requires a much more refined driving technique which is a lot easier to handle when unlocking a few of the cars in this city. They are lightweight and nimble allowing for tight turns without tipping your car over or losing control. Double Nitrous is also unlocked in Paris. Certain landmarks of Paris include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, L'Arc De Triomphe and an underground series of tunnels referred in-game as the "Catacombs".
Tokyo is the third-and-final city unlocked and features a complex street layout packed with shortcuts and alternate routes, an above-ground highway and very big jumps. The cars here are the fastest of the game and while they handle much better than other vehicles, skillful driving is required as traffic combined with the very complicated layout of the streets can lead to slips costing the player victory. Bright lights and neon signs litter the city and is very picturesque to see when not racing through it over 200mph. Landmarks include the Imperial Palace and a close re-creation of the shopping districts found in Tokyo and similar cities such as Ginza and Shibuya.
Midnight Club II features a wide array of "techniques" unlocked as you progress in the career mode which can be used to escape tight situations or aid you to pass the competition. In order of unlocking from first to last, they are:
Unlocked early in the game, Nitrous lets you use a few seconds to speed past opponents. Nitrous is separated in 'tanks' and using one charge depletes one tank. They cannot be re-filled during a race by themselves or during free roam. You must finish/quit a race or enter one to refill all your Nitrous charges.
In-Air Controls allow you to change the inclination of your car or motorcycle in the air to align all 4 wheels parallel to the ground when landing from a jump. Not doing so will cause the vehicle to either swerve off-road or simply flip over and crash.
A Burnout is executed by holding down the handbrake and gas until a meter on the side of the screen charges and lights up as red. Releasing the handbrake when the meter is full will cause the car to boost and accelerate faster than a normal start would. Burnouts can also be used in 180º turns to boost out of a U-turn.
Slipstream Turbo is when you pull behind another driver and "draft" off of his driving. This decreases wind-resistance and lets you speed past opponents. However, this technique is portrayed as a boost in Midnight Club II. Pulling behind an opponent will charge up a meter on the side of the screen and when full, a boost can be used that resembles Nitrous but is only slightly slower.
The most unrealistic of all maneuvers, Two-Wheeled Driving lets you tilt your car onto two-wheels to narrowly avoid collisions with close-riding traffic. This technique is extremely useful in Paris, which is a city littered with traffic in very narrow streets. Turning while on two-wheels is, for the lack of words, stupid as it causes your car to tip over, crash and force-resets you, setting you back several seconds.
Motorcycle Maneuvers are unlocked at the same time as the motorcycle themselves.
Wheelies let you pull back and ride on the back tire of the motorcycle, giving you a speed boost.
Endos are when you lean forward while braking, causing you to brake on the front tire. It serves no other purpose than being rad.
A lean is when you lean into a turn, allowing you to turn at a much sharper angle while not slowing you down significantly.
Ducking is leaning forward while driving to lower wind resistance, allowing you to drive faster.
A complete list of the characters featured in the game (by city), the vehicle they drive and what vehicle it is based off of.
World Champion: Savo - Veloci - Saleen S7
Featuring electronica, trance and hip-hop songs, Midnight Club II has an expansive soundtrack that accompanies each city and its races quite well. The soundtrack ranges from well-established artists such as Thomas Bangalter (Of Daft Punk fame) and Felix Da Housecat to lesser known artists. The full list is as follows: