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During a recent visit to Codemasters' UK headquarters, we had an opportunity to check out RF Online, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that the publisher had acquired the European and North American rights to just two hours earlier. Already a huge success in Korea and China, where it launched last year and has attracted over a million players, RF Online blends traditional fantasy RPG elements with a futuristic sci-fi storyline and epic battles between the three player factions that vie for control of the Novus galaxy.

 When you create a new character in RF Online, you'll choose to side with the Bellato Union, the Holy Alliance Cora, or the Accretia Empire. The three factions are very different in terms of their appearances and skills, and, having seen some high-level characters in action during our time at Codemasters, we can report that the prospect of playing as any one of them has us pretty excited. If you choose to play as the Bellato Union (RF Online's equivalent to humans), for example, your character will be tech-savvy enough to use powerful weapons and, eventually, to purchase and do battle in a mech that can be upgraded with both melee and ranged armaments. The Holy Alliance Cora, on the other hand, is RF Online's elflike race, and as such, they shun technology in favor of magical techniques and, ultimately, the ability to summon and fight alongside large pets. The evil Accretia Empire is a robotic race (with character designs and locations reminiscent of those in Phantasy Star Online) with access to advanced weapon systems, and although we didn't get to see much of them during our presentation, we were told that their answer to the mechs and summons of their enemies is their ability to transform themselves into powerful gun turrets.

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