Rockstar has been proving recently that downloadable content can mean more than just map packs and premium character costumes. It's done that convincingly by creating substantial material that truly extends the life of the game. Now Midnight Club
, the studio’s second-biggest franchise, is set to get some DLC for Los Angeles
in the form of South Central
, with a whole heap of added bonuses to boot.
When I went down to Rockstar’s pad to give the new area a spin though, the developers were keen to avoid calling it ‘Midnight Club’s Lost and Damned
’, and with good reason. Think of South Central
less in terms of GTA IV's Lost & Damned
- a brand new episode - instead, it interweaves itself into MCLA
extending it from the off.
Although we like to use the term ‘add-on pack’, the amount of stuff Rockstar has put into this update is far beyond that. Nine new vehicles, 26 new races, new music tracks, 10 delivery missions, a dozen battle maps and over a hundred new red light races, not to mention the car bodywork extras and miles of virtual real estate, make this a product on nearly the same scale as The Lost and Damned
Focusing on the areas of Compton and Crenshaw, South Central
follows the design of the rest of Midnight Club
’s LA by being an exaggerated representation of the area. While the grittier locales and atmosphere are replicated down to a tee, placements of roads, freeways and certain areas have been altered slightly to provide a better set-up for racing fun.
After a little exploring around Compton, I played a few of the new arcade races with a selection of the South Central
cars. The G4 Chevvy Impala is a hot enough car if you have the right paint job on it and handles like your all-rounder vehicle. Using no boosts whatsoever (except ones that ploughed me right into oncoming traffic), I came in a *ahem* respectable fifth place in the ‘Crenshaw and Back’ race. Never mind...
I tried the Range Rover Sport next and that felt a bit tighter to control, but generally its pretty much a box on wheels, as you’d expect. Playing ‘South Central Exit’ proved to be too much for the big guy – turning some evil corners almost ended with the vehicle barrel-rolling itself.