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Rockstar must have been carrying around a massive guilt complex after the release of Midnight Club II. You don't go from making possibly the biggest ballbuster the arcade racing genre has ever seen to one of the most forgiving without indulging in some serious hand-wringing behind the scenes. Whereas Midnight Club II positively delighted in your failure, the third in the street racing series is so easy you can almost hear the game apologise every time an AI controlled car overtakes you. "I'm terribly sorry, after you sir, I appear to be in the lead..."
Okay, that's a gross exaggeration, but winning is a formality in all bar a handful of the fifty-odd career races you'll face in MC3, and, not only that, you can easily triumph over vastly superior opposition in all but the last handful of races with the very first car you buy (in my case, a D Class R32 Golf). Clearly something went awry with the progression system and difficulty-balancing in planet Rockstar. While MC2 suffered from almost vertical difficulty spikes and cheating elastic AI, MC3 grossly overcompensates for that. It's no exaggeration to report that MC3 sets a new low benchmark for ease and accessibility for racing games, and while that might be a good ploy for making racing newbies feel good about their prowess, it leaves long term fans such as us and those with a modicum of experience in arcade racing feeling very underwhelmed indeed, and almost longing for the ballbusting sense of challenge and satisfaction gleaned from the flawed gem that its predecessor was.