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My Motor City Online Review   comment

Hi, "Itís been a while" © staind, sorry but this column update isnít about what I have or have not been doing for the last 6 months but about the last 2 weeks.

If you are already plaing the MCO beta send me "DB PhaNToM@Mercer Isle" a message and say hi...

If you donít know anything a bout Motor City online here is a brief description. It is a online racing/role playing game where you get my for completing/winning races, which you can then you to buy sell cars and parts. The rare cars and parts are put up for auction where you bid against real people for the parts. You can only race on certain tracks when you reach higher levels. You can get points towards your next level by competing in races/trails, but you can also loss points in some races. It is being developed by Electronic Arts, the people who brought you the Need for Speed series.

I am a huge fan of Need for speed completing each at least once (Hot Pursuit and high stakes twice, Porsche unleashed three times). They all had there flaws, the most common one was how the computer plays could go around corners (appearing to be side stepping), which if you were in the way at the time could mean that you where knocked of the road. But they always had a collection of different cars with different characteristics, from a BMW Z3 to Ferrari F50, with engines being mounted in all parts of the cars. Which made it good you could try out certain cars and stick with the one you liked, the most common choice being between the F50 and the Diablo SV.

The follow is some comments about the game, donít get me wrong I love the game, I will never hate a Need for speed game or a derivative of it but some things to bug me about this one.

Ok so the concept is great, you will be able to see how good you are compared to other real people, rather than normal computer players, (which is probably will be the best part of the game). The game is going to be based in the 70ís where you can only get cars from three manufactures (GM, Ford and dodge/Chrysler) I have heard that they are considering adding other European cars. Ok here come the flaws in the ideas. First of it looks like all the cars are going to be front engine and rear wheel drive which makes the driving characteristics for all the cars pretty much the same, just that some cars are worse than others. Apart from the ac cobra and the corvette all the cars are really heavy. You can make improvements to the cars but there are limits to what you can do to reduce the weight, back then most Americans manufactures only knew one way to make cars, big heavy with V8 power. A classic example of this is the Ford thunderbird (so called performance car). Some people say there is no substitute for Horse Power. But I believe in Lotusís theory "For better performance, add lightness". Ok enough of the gripe about American cars.

To auctions (you donít have to use the auctions, you can get standard performance parts from a catalog which is instant), because everyone has the same problems, they all want the same thing better parts and better cars. So as you can image prices can get a little bit ridiculous. Just recently I did up a chevy nova (the lightest car you can get without using an auction) I doubled the HP and took 100lbs off as well as getting better handling. A third of the cost was the car itself, a sixth was the performance parts from a catalog (about 20 parts) and the rest one half was getting 2 pairs of wide performance tires (though the auctions). I think something has to be done about that.

The online factor, it is great for me having dsl, but you canít play this game offline not even modify your car. The interface appears slow, adding and removing parts, probably because you are constantly transferring data backwards and forwards to the server and myself living in New Zealand am a long way from the server.

Real players compared to computer players. Personally I donít race other players because you donít get enough reward for competing in it, both for points and money, and it is also slow for me. But I have heard stories and I can image they are true, that people have been intentionally ramming people of the road or slamming on the bakes in front of someone in the middle of a straight. If you think computer players where bad at least they didnít do it on purpose. Also the starting order is something to watch out for because in a sponsored race it could decide the outcome of the race, and if you "race again" it is always the same as the last race :+(.

One thing I would like to see is to be able to repare your car between races without having to "leave" the race. Any way they are still in the beta testing stage, I recommend that if you like racing games that you download the beta (495MB) from and try it for yourself. When you are in the game send me a message "DB PhaNToM" is my persona name, give me a bell if you also want to join my club "Challenge Pro". I would be happy to give you some tips on many things in the game.

So long for now...

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