|Developer Rockstar San Diego returns to the gritty urban streets for their sequel to the PlayStation 2 launch title Midnight Club: Street Racing. Players once again assume the role of an underground street racer as they embark on a potentially profitable career spanning the world, with events held in Paris, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. Rather than confine racers to a specific route on a closed-off track, Midnight Club II offers open-ended courses within each city that feature shortcuts, tunnels, bridges, jumps, overpasses, and more as players do whatever they can to stay ahead of the competition.
Each city is also filled with animated pedestrians and traffic, essentially serving as moving obstacles that can interfere with a player's high-stakes race. New high-performance vehicles are available to drive, unlock, and store in the player's garage, including the debut of motorcycles. Motorcycles are fast but also more difficult to control, requiring new skills to master as players weave across traffic and zip through narrow alleys. Over 28 hot rods, muscle cars, and rally cars round out the vehicle lineup, and players can perform stunts, such as wheelies, tipping cars on two wheels, 360-degree spins, burnouts, and more to help navigate the course or to impress the competition.
The AI has been enhanced from the previous title to allow for more "on-the-fly" decisions in regards to the routes computer opponents take, making each race a different experience since rivals no longer follow a set path to the finish line. Since the basic premise of the game is illegal, players should expect the police to engage in high-speed pursuits and attempt to stop them from completing the race. As in games like Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, law enforcement can call for roadblocks and rely on helicopter patrols to put an end to the competition. Also adding to the challenge is variable weather, including rain, fog, and lightning storms that can hurt visibility.