New year off to speedy start with multiplayer race games

The new year is getting off on a speedy start with some online racing games reflecting Korea’s craze for massively multiplayer online role playing games, only pointy-eared elves have been replaced with purring steel machines on wheels.
NHN’s new online racing game Skid Rush starts opens test services next Wednesday. The game is a car racing game with massive multiplayer online role playing game (Mmorpg) features, such as “training” your car up the ladder of levels and performing quests.
The game is making its official debut but is not entirely “new” to the gamer community, thanks to two closed tests and one free open test.
The game takes place on a fictional island somewhere in the Pacific, where the racers have to stop evil forces who are trying to steal a new energy source. The game’s role playing features include performing “missions” and training one’s car. The biggest role playing feature is a group battle mode where en masse races can take place on designated servers, which strengthens the community characteristics easily found on Mmorpgs.
Unlike other auto racing games, which focus more on creating a realistic three-dimensional environment, the graphics of Skid Rush are more like animated cartoons, with urban scenes that are reminiscent of Vice City. This doesn’t mean that that the game is two-dimensional or that it feels like a Disney animation. It feels more like taking part in a Western comic book.
Skid Rush will have to compete against Ray City, another racing Mmorpg being serviced by Neowiz. Unlike Skid Rush, Ray City provides realistic renderings of Seoul and has been hot since it began open test services last month. Some of the popular features on Ray City include chasing, tailing, and running away scenarios, similar to car-chasing scenes often seen in movies.
This near-perfect rendering of Seoul is one of the reasons Ray City has been so popular among Korean gamers, because the virtual game environment includes not only the major roads and buildings, but also street signs and company signs, some of which are product placement ads. At first, the map was focused on southern and downtown Seoul, but new developments have added expansions to add other neighborhoods as well.
Moreover, on Dec.30, a major update now enables players to engage in one-on-one challenges, where gamers can select someone on the road and request a race. If the other player agrees, the racing “track” appears on the road in real-time.
The update also includes another sports car ― the Alto QQ.

by Wohn Dong-hee

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