We're going back to an era when cars were built for longevity, steel was
considered safe and an economy commuter car was called a
"bicycle." Sounds like something Buz Luhrmann would say, you
know the guy who made Moulin Rouge. Anyways, the latest from Electronic
Arts Motor City Online is some ways an online RPG. You buy a car, you win
races, you earn money, you upgrade your car, you buy better parts, race
with tougher opponents, earn more money. But all that fades when it comes
to the level of customization and adaptability this game provides.
Let's look at the level of intricate customization possible in this game.
More than a hundred parts make up one car in MCO, though the game ships
with over 2,000. Go to the workshop and marvel at the extensive
parts selection, from simple spoilers and wheelie bars to intake
manifolds, cam shafts, crank shafts, various suspension parts, radiators,
blowers, brand name engine blocks, paintjobs and so much more. The
customization engine is like none other. You'll even need to consider your
car's weight and the heat it puts out. The attention to detail is amazing!
I have been following the long long development process behind this game
for a long long time now. And what I hate about the whole thing aside from
the name change (from Need For Speed: Motor City to Motor City Online) is
the fact that there will be no single player mode in the game. That is to
say that there will be no gameplay offline. That sux big time.
Particularly because in Bangladesh, where I live, net latency and lagging
is a big problem. On top of that high costs of maintaining an internet
connection is a bigger kick in the butt.
On top of that you have to pay a monthly subscription, the amount yet to
be decided. There is a bright side to that though. when you become a
member of EA's online gaming network, your one monthly fee pays for all
of EA's online subscription based games, like Majestic (stupid game),
Earth and Beyond or the anxiously awaited Sims Online. Nice.
The cars in the game are all licensed - Ford, Plymouth, Chevy - and most
of them hail from the golden Era of cars in America. Cars from the classic
30's and fat fenders of the 40's to the obscenely powerful muscle cars of
the late 60's and early 70's. There are over 60 cars included with
additional vehicles available for download after launch. The ultimate Hot
Rod experience. Brings a tear to my eyes. I'm talkin' about powerful
horseless chariots with massive engines - 450hp turbo V8, manual 4-speed
gas-guzzling leviathans, complete with blower and dual carbs. Run, little
V4 engine, RUN! These babies look mean and sound even meaner.
The game sports a brand new racing engine. Motor City thankfully takes
advantage of hardware T&L (transforming and lighting) to help produce
some terrific graphics and effects such a dynamic lighting and shadows.
Finally, we see the payoff for purchasing last year's high-end graphic
cards. These cars truly do look like their real-life counterparts.
The game starts of with you
picking your desired 3D character (who can be seen behind the wheel) and
buying a car. No, your first car is not a pretty one. But you'll be fixing
that soon enough…
five race modes: Drag Racing, Open trial, Street Racing (here you'll find
pedestrians and traffic), Circuit Racing and Sponsorship Racing. In a
Sponsorship race, you are provided a car (usually better than yours) to
race with on a specific track. But you don't have to pay for any damages
incurred. This is great for learning tracks and earning risk-free cash.
Sponsorship can be played as time trials or against other racers. You can
even hold your own races and charge whatever dollar amount you want for
players to participate. And many races can be adjusted so that higher or
lower ranking players with faster (or slower) cars can't join. This keeps
beginning, Time Trials are the quickest way to obtain sizable amounts of
cash. You also receive a paycheck of $1000 of virtual MCO money every
Friday at 5 o'clock. Now you can begin to seriously customize your new
purchase. Just try not to live paycheck to paycheck.
Still, you don't have to be a hardcore car nut to get into this game. It
can be as complex as you want it. Classic car-freaks, however, will find
themselves right at home. You can even personalize your license plate.
Plus, parts have a working wear-and-tear system so the guy with the best
parts won't have the best parts forever.
Let's say you don't have the greenbacks to repair your heavily damaged
engine block. Maybe it's time you take advantage of the MCO community of
auto-philes. Buy or sell parts and paintjobs to friends or user-run
garages and at Ebay style auctions. MCO offers persistent chat systems
such as full e-mail and instant messaging to keep in touch with friends,
fellow club members and other players. This is a good way to touch base
with players randomly selling parts or to hear about a nice Sponsorship
Once you really get going, you could easily spend all day obsessively
tricking-out your car. Eventually, you want to bend some corners, mark
your territory with a few skid marks and really see if it was all worth
Using authentic 4-point suspension physics, vehicles rock, roll, sway and
fishtail just like some of us remember. Point-specific damage modeling
compliment the games spectacular crashes and wipeouts and can cause very
noticeable changes in engine sounds and handling - just like a real car.
You can also watch the replay from a number of different camera views and
slow motion speeds (laid out just like the old NFS replay interface).
The enterprising folks at EA seem to have thought of everything. If all
that brainwork pays off, Motor City should prove to be the best in the
Need for Speed series and will be vying for best racing sim of the year.
Of course, we'll have to wait until Fall for a drive, but that will give
racing sim fanatics a chance to say good-bye to their loved ones.
This is easily the best racing game ever. Watch out for this, this fall.
Goooooo Speed Racer Goooooooooo.