Test Drive Unlimited 2 | Gameguide Test Drive Unlimited 2 – Gameguide

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The game begins with you being the start attraction at a birthday party with truly awful human character models and animation, and you Barbie wife – or husband if you select a female character – presents you with a brand new Ferrari for your birthday.  Of course, you take it it for a spin, but something doesn’t seem right.  It’s almost like you’re in a dream.  And you are.

You wake up to find that you’re a lowly valet, and you’ve fallen asleep in some rich, spoilt girls Ferrari and now you’re about to get fired.  But for some inexplicable reason, she decides to test you, and gives you a challenge to drive her to her meeting that she is running late for.  Make it in time, and she’ll set you up in the local racing league – a dream come true for you.

Standard game mechanics follow and you’re soon picking an entry level car and then getting your license.  All absolutely necessary in a game like Test Drive Unlimited 2 but all utterly boring and mundane.

It wasn’t until my second session that I started to enjoy the game – I found a car and a racing series that was more to my liking and I started to enjoy myself.  Then I began exploring and started unlocking mini-challenges and it all felt familiar again.  This was the Test Drive Unlimited that I had fallen in love with, but this time on an incredibly detailed, apparently true to life, recreation of the Ibiza.

Soon however, the cramp hit.  I’d been playing on the designed-for-kids PS3 controllers for too long and my man sized hands needed a break.  I might have to seriously consider laying down some cash on a Bluemouth Pro Elite Playstation 3 controller – a larger sized controller that looks like it’s based more on the XBox controller – if I’m going to be putting in some serious time on Test Drive Unlimited 2, which I’m going to have to If I want to discover everything the island has to offer, and if I want to level up enough to get to Hawaii.

So yes, despite my initial disappointment, I was falling in love with Test Drive Unlimited 2.

The game does, however have some flaws.  It’s got the standard pop-up scenery, but then that’s understandable in an environment this big. A little less understandable is the occasional disappearing car, flying car and water hazards when you’re not even that close to the water.

A few bugs, yes.  Still enjoyable, yes.

The racing league is split up into three categories, and you and swap and change at will; Classic, Tarmac and Off Road, each of course with specific entry requirements, forcing you to have multiple cars, and a house with a big enough garage.  Yes, owning property is back, but this time there are more ways to spend your hard earned cash.  You can give your car a paint job, apply decals, get it tuned, get a haircut, buy cloths, get plastic surgery and even lay down $1,500 to get three bikini clad beauties to wash your car.

But it’s the racing that makes or breaks the game, and Test Drive Unlimited 2 sits nicely in the middle ground between arcade and simulation, allowing you to set the level of driving aids to suit your level of experience.  Set it all the way towards simulation and that classic Mustang you just laid down some cash for will be a pig to handle.

There’s enough to keep you busy for some time on Ibiza, and I’m not sure yet what Hawaii holds, but I’m assuming it’s more of the same, but with different scenery.

Graphically, Test Drive Unlimited 2 does seem a little tame.  There are stunning sunsets in the dynamic day/night rotation and miles and mile of road to be enjoyed, but it doesn’t seem any better than the previous Test Drive Unlimited.  Not that it has to be, because as I’ve said before, there is a fast expanse to explore and this in itself is no mean feat.

And then there is the online component.  My first experience of going online was disappointing.  As much as I tired I couldn’t find a multiplayer race to join.  I knew there were people playing, because I could hear them – which in itself is weird.  I can hear other drivers, but I have no idea on what part of this massive island they are on.  My second night trying the online thing was a little more successful – still no races, but I managed to challenge a couple of players to one on one races. At one stage I even saw a small group of people driving a round together.

Essentially however, the only noticeable thing with being online was that the game was ever so slightly laggy from time to time.  The online component is definitely one where you need to have real friends to go online with.

All in all, Test Drive Unlimited 2 may not live up to it’s expectations, but it is none-the-less a good solid racing game, with a little bit of additional detail that sets it apart form the usual glut of circuit based racing games.

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