I am not a fan of driving sims like Forza and Gran Turismo. I don't have any interest in having to spend hours mastering the subtle intricacies of each model car that's available, as the slightest error on the track means complete disaster. (To be clear, I'm not passing judgment on those games or the people who play them, it's just not my cup o' tea.)
I prefer "arcade" racers, like Midnight Club: Los Angeles. I love being able to scream around corners at 100mph, shrugging off collisions with light poles and trees, smashing into oncoming traffic and buildings and still having a chance to come from behind and win. So, yeah, aside from the impressive graphics, there's very little approaching realism here. And I like it that way.
But the easy of play also means it's easy to get a just a little bored with it after a while. There's a nice variety of race types, locations, cars, and opponents, but ultimately it always comes down the same thing: keep your foot to the floor and (almost) never let up. There's some strategy involved in choosing the right car (that is, generally, the fastest available) and finding/remembering shortcuts around the city, but that's about it.
All in all, Midnight Club: Los Angeles is a fun and very accessible game, well worth the (as of 1/11/11) $20 asking price.