Game Review: Test Drive Unlimited 2
Release: February 8, 2011
Developer: Eden Studios
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3 (reviewed), and Windows PC
ESRB Rating: T for Teens
Website: Test Drive Unlimited 2
Ever wondered what would happen if you mixed an MMO with a Racing game? Well no need to wonder anymore because Eden Studios has done just that, they have made an MMO Racer with Test Drive Unlimited 2. TDU2 boasts a huge open world that can be played seamlessly between single player and multi player. There are two massive real world islands; the Spanish island, Ibiza and the American island of Hawaii. Trust me when I say these islands are massive. How does 3200 km of roads (or roughly 2000 miles) sound? That doesn’t even factor in that you can drive off of the road as well. Plenty of grass and forests to help make shortcuts will add an astronomical amount of driving space.
So what the heck are you going to do with all of this open highway besides just look at the scenery? Well TDU2 incorporates some more of it’s MMO’ness by giving you a crap-ton of things to do. You start off with single player mode and as the story progresses, the game will start to open up more and more things for you to do. You soon realize that you have actually been playing online all along. You will notice the other drivers cruising around. You’ll see their avatars when you enter a building to do a license test. Online multiplayer races and events open up. Before you know it, you are swamped with “sidequests” and the best part is you can start making money by participating in just about any of these events. There are wrecked cars scattered across Ibiza and Hawaii that you can find. If you can find them all, you will unlock a nifty prize (a car perhaps? I don’t know as I have not found them all yet). There’s also cool spots that can be photographed. Once you find the location, there are certain requirements that may need to be met for the photo to be taken (right time of day, weather conditions, specific car can all be factors). Of course don’t forget the racing as well. Plenty of racing modes like elimination, time trials, speed camera (pass through the speed cameras and the person with the fastest speeds wins), and straight up racing just to name a few.
One of my favorite parts of TDU2 is the map. I love the map. It’s very nice looking and just like the actual game, is loaded with features. Once you find a location from driving around, it will always be there on the map. Any racing start points, car dealers, sticker shops, car washes, tune up shops, houses and more that you find will show up on the map. It’s as easy as scrolling through the many filters using your bumper buttons to make them appear. This is how you can find the multiplayer races, or continue the story. Traveling to a location is very easy as well. Like I said, the islands are HUGE and you could spend hours upon hours just getting from one spot to the next. Hence the much needed fast travel feature. If you’ve already been to a spot that you want to travel to, all you need to do is set up the navigation pointer on the map to where you want to go, and with the click of a button you magically appear at your destination. One thing I discovered with this though, if you have not driven on the road where an event is, you can not fast travel to it. This will encourage gamers who are in it for the long haul to explore as much as the islands as soon as possible.
This game is filled to the brim with features, too many that I don’t even have enough space to list them all. It’s an extremely cool part of TDU2. Unfortunately, it’s not without it’s faults. One of the biggest problems I came across was the handling of the cars just doesn’t feel that great. It is way too easy to loose control of your vehicle and this is a huge sin for a racing game. After all, if the driving isn’t fun, then what is there to like about a driving game? The handling is the meat and potatoes of a driving game. It did improve a bit once I was able to upgrade to a better vehicle, but my Audi TT Roadster still doesn’t drive as smooth as it should. I think that a lot of this could have been avoided if they had went with an arcade style handling like Burnout Paradise or Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.
Two other minor gripes I have with the game is for one, you have limited garage space to keep your cars in. When you first start, you are given a dumpy trailer with a 2 car garage – gotta start out at the bottom! The problem I had was I was advancing the story before I could build up enough money to purchase more houses with garage space, so I had to sell my first two cars to make room for the next two that I needed/wanted to advance the story. I understand why they did this. Buying a new house helps add to the excitement of the story and it also gives you one more thing to do, but it was needless in my opinion. I hated that I had to get rid of my off-road class vehicle so I could go on to the next license test. I guess I should have spent more time doing side missions to earn more money first. Secondly, the graphics are so so. The cars look amazing, but the environments are sort of bland.
Brian’s Final Say: Test Drive Unlimited 2 has huge potential. It’s packed with so many things to do, that it could offer you hundreds of hours of gameplay. It’s just a shame that the handling issues with the cars and the bland environment graphics drag TDU2 into the mud. I say buy it if your a hardcore driving/racing fan, otherwise either wait for a price drop or just rent it.
- + More features, customization, and things to do than you can shake a stick at.
- + great map system with a much needed fast travel
- - Cars aren’t as fun to drive as they should be.
- - Graphics are hit and miss
Final Score: 6/10