Vehicular customization is also a rewarding process, and it's where Midnight Club shines. Pining over which hood would look best with your brand-new Camaro concept car is something you wouldn't expect to have such a profound effect on you, but detailing your vehicle with personalized parts and paint jobs allows for incredible aesthetic tailoring. While it's not quite as deep, performance customization offers an incentive to save some of your earned scratch to drop on better engines or exhaust instead of patterned paint jobs and side skirts with boosts in acceleration and handling to help you in your rep-race to the top.
You'll definitely see advancement in your own skill as you progress, but it seems to do little against the previously mentioned crushing AI. You'll find yourself relying on your vehicle's special abilities and power-ups when you're in a tight squeeze: slowing down time with the Zone ability allows you to focus on sharp turns or slaloming between pedestrian traffic, while Roar sees you blasting traffic out of the way with a deep pound and Agro allows you to simply smash through it without consequence. More special abilities like the vehicle-launching Pulse or slick-controlling Ice are available during the four-player competitive ad hoc multiplayer. You can take any of your 58 tightly tuned cars or bikes against a few friends in standard races as well as a few other unique game types: Capture the Flag is full of ramming and slamming as you try to steal the flag marker from your opponents to score points; Paint is a trial of checkpoints as you try and paint the city in your colors before the clock runs out; and Tag is exactly as you remember it on the playground--except you're T-boning and fishtailing opponents' rides instead of tapping their shoulder.
Midnight Club: LA Remix is an extensive game with loads to offer, but the difficulty might hamper your experience. You'll spend plenty of time retrying and redoing races as you attempt to rack up your rep, but the grinding rarely becomes a problem because you're enjoying the intensity of kicking off of ramps for crazy hang time, drifting around tight bends with the help of automotive super powers, and creaming your pals in the crash-heavy multiplayer modes. As one of the better-looking and best-controlling PSP racing games on the market, LA Remix is a must-play for portable racing pros thanks to the variety of game modes, substance of the city, and a mess of great customizable rides.