Project Torquehttp://project-torque.aeriagames.com/What is Project Torque?
It's a racing MMO developed by Aeria Games (better known for free MMO's such as Last Chaos and Dream of Mirror Online). It features a mix of fictional and real cars racing on various types of courses; from nighttime Tokyo street racing to rallycross style courses through the English countryside.Okay, so break down the gameplay for me.
It follows the standard free-to-play model, meaning you can play the game for free as long as you want, but you have the option to spend real money to obtain items faster than you'd get them playing free. Certain special items are cash shop only.
You start out as a "beginner" with a choice of one of four starter cars. You race against other players to gain "RP", which is the standard ingame currency, as well as "XP" which is used to level up. You start as a level "F" driver, and once you reach the maximum experience level for rank F, you have to take (and pass) a license test before you can move up to rank "E".
The RP you earn is used to purchase newer and faster cars, as well as upgrades and tweaks for your vehicle. Upgrades include your standard types...better tires, more engine power, etc. However, you also have the ability to tweak the performance of your car by purchasing "balance" tweaks. These allow you to to change the handling of your car (shift grip to the front or rear), as well as the power/acceleration ratio (choose more top speed or greater acceleration), so you can customize your car to your personal driving style or for a specific type of race.
There are currently only a few real-world licensed cars available, but more are apparently on the way. As of this time, licensed cars are only available through cash shop purchase.So what kind of racing is there?
Well, from what I've seen so far:
How many/what type of cars are in the game?
- VS. Racing: 2 to 8 players racing either 3, 5, or 7 laps on a course of your choosing. More tracks and layouts are available as you level up.
- Explorer: 4 to 8 players "exploring" a map for powerups/bonuses. I haven't had the chance to try this one yet, but apparently you can collect pickups in a certain order to gain a bigger combo bonus. Sounds like a good way to earn RP.
- CTF: Players race to be the first to pick up a flag. The flag carrier then plays "keepaway" from the other drivers, trying to drive through marked goals to score points while the other players attempt to ram him to steal the flag.
- Thunder Alley: NASCAR inspired hootin' and hollerin'!!! Up to 30 players in special "stock cars" race at high speed on special circuits. I haven't levelled up enough to try this yet, but some of my friends seem to enjoy it.
- Challenge: Buy a big money ticket and race for cash, I believe. Again, I haven't levelled up this far, but this appears to be the "high stakes" racing.
I don't have an accurate count yet. Most of the cars appear to be your standard "import tuner" mix, with a few generic muscle types thrown in. The fantasy cars are generic enough not to care too much about, but they don't just flat out suck.
As for the real world cars, so far I've seen an 80's Toyota Corolla, as well as a more modern MR2. There's also a Mazda RX7 available.
The car sales page gives you the option to list them by year, and there are entries for years where right now there are no cars available, leaving room for expansion.What does the game look like?
It doesn't look bad. It's definitely not "next gen" quality. I'd say it's much like NFS: Underground. The graphics so far look good enough to get the job done without making my eyes go
The proportions on some of the cars don't seem quite right, but it doesn't really take away from the experience.
For the love of God though, whoever made the "driver" model that you see inside the car needs some practice. Sorry, your driver is just damned ugly. He's like a French-Japanese Metrosexual who might be starting to grow a mullet, we can't tell for sure. Thankfully "customizable avatar" is on the "Upcoming Features" list, so hopefully he's just a placeholder until those are in.
Here are a couple of video trailer links:http://project-torque.aeriagames.com/media/movies/PT01http://project-torque.aeriagames.com/media/movies/PT02
Here are some screenshots, spoilered for size.
What kind of PC do I need to run this?
The system requirements are as follows:
OS: Windows 2000, XP, Vista
CPU: 2Ghz Minimum, 2.5Ghz Recommended
RAM: 512MB Min, 1GB Rec.
Video: DX8 Compatible Min, DX9 Compatible Rec.
DX: DX9c required
Sound: DirectX compatible
Network: DSL/Cable recommended
Input: Keyboard for default controls, analog controls strongly*
* = My personal recommendationHow are the driving physics?
They're actually pretty enjoyable.
I wasn't too impressed with my first race. It was a standard Tokyo street course, four straight stretches of road connected by four 90 degree turns. Bleh. I felt like I was playing a dumbed-down NFSU. The car felt solid enough, but the course was uninspiring.
But then I ran one of the circuit races, which was an improvement. A dedicated race course with some interesting curves that rewarded proper cornering, showing very quickly the differences between driver skill levels. I had chosen the only RWD model available amongst the starter cars, and it really performed well as I was able to affect my steering by throttle input. Nice.
Then, I fell in love with "B Road Rally". A circuit set in England, it's a twisty, turny affair through the British countryside that rewards aggressive cornering. I felt like I was playing an old Rally game, the only thing missing being a virtual Nicky Grist shouting out the upcoming corner directions. My RWD starter car ate up the road, attacking the corners and chicanes as though it were made for that very purpose. My first race at that track, I beat two higher level drivers in faster cars...but I barely noticed because I was enjoying the drive so much.Can you damage your car?
Yes, you can. You can beat the hell out of it, really. But if you take too much damage, just hit the Backspace key and it will "reset" you on the track with a short time delay with an undamaged car. Damage left at the end of a race does not carry over into the next and you pay no money for repairs. You can purchase an "instant repair" powerup that, when used, repairs you in the race without stopping/resetting your car.
Bottom line, it's a free racing MMO that resembles NFSU with better driving physics and game modes, with a haunting feeling of "I've played a game like this somewhere" all over it.
If you're into multiplayer racing at all, I recommend you try it. There's only one active server right now (Phoebus), so look me up as "lugnutusa" and add me to your friends list. ;-)