Remember Eden games? They announced a new concept in 2007! The game requires players to follow traffic rules. They can gradually climb the ranks by purchasing new cars and gaining a firm grip on the real estate market. A new game, Test Drive Unlimited, was released in the wake of the announcement. After a three-year absence, they’re back! Its name is Test Drive Unlimited 2.
While the sequel is a continuation of its predecessor, it maintains the same basic structure. It becomes evident from the beginning that you are far below the social ranks, even though you started the game with a quick Ferrari tour around the island. It’s your job to become wealthy and proud by participating in street races, purchasing houses and clothes, and visiting a plastic surgeon occasionally. It’s a bit like real life, but a lot more fun and much faster.
You have a lot of flexibility between events. You don’t need to buy virtual clothes if you aren’t interested in them. To reach the final level, you will need to explore everything the game has to offer. This means you will need to fill the experience bar in four categories: competition, discovery, collection, and social. It’s a difficult task that might not be worth it after you have bought the car you want.
The free-roaming aspect between challenges is what I think sets this game apart. It can be fun to drive in traffic to shops and events, especially in a hypercar. For impatient gamers, the map and fast travel options are kings. These are particularly appreciated as the world is facing a few issues.
One, the world seems empty. Traffic is sparse, and off-road distractions are almost non-existent. There is the 2-channel radio, but too much of it can be considered a punishment by the state. It would have been much more convenient if you could get out of your car and walk around.
The free-roaming bit can do a lot, despite these remarks. Navigation to places like hairdressers or car dealers works well. The car controls are handy. You can actually put the top on a Mercedes CLK and operate the blinkers.
There are many championships that allow racing, ranging in class from C to A. You will need a license, depending on the event. Only certain cars are permitted. Although it works well, it can be time-consuming.
Test Drive Unlimited divides the championship into different segments. They can be divided in different ways, such as completing a lap within a time limit, achieving the highest top speed, or simply being the first person to cross the line. Although these events are fun, they can also be very frustrating. Even if you have a significant lead, the rubber band AI will catch you up quickly. It doesn’t matter what car you drive; they will almost always wait for you if you are trailing behind. Bugs can also be an issue. One example is when you drive off the road and come across a “wrong direction, turn around” sign, despite having followed the correct route. Restarting the race is the only way to fix it.
Test Drive Unlimited 2 can be described as an arcade game. I respect that. It would be absurd to expect setup changes and oversteer/understeer characteristics to match real life. My Logitech G27 was connected to my computer, and I was ready to test the handling.
Let’s begin with the good news. This is a huge deal. Test Driver Unlimited 2 supports all G25/G27 steering wheel models. This means that the H-shifter and Rev lights, as well as the clutch, are all included in the box. It was a pleasant surprise!
The downside is that all cars drive the exact same. All cars share the same sense of understeer regardless of whether they’re an Audi R8 or an off-roader. It’s almost like driving a skin with a few parameters. To make things more interesting, cars can go crazy for no apparent reason. There have been many times when the tail just popped out of the brakes without warning.
What you get are lifeless, boring cars that sometimes have a will of their own. The game lacks the ability to give you feedback, and the racing experience becomes dull.
Perhaps online is the solution. It solves the AI problem. With some friends, I’m sure we could have close racing and endless hours of fun. But it’s not entirely true. My internal bug counter, which I use to rate a game online, was the only thing that increased. These problems persisted incessantly. Broken connections and the inability to see friends even though they are located in the same area are standard. This is theoretically an excellent feature. This is a great feature. I can see it working. However, online is currently broken and must be fixed.
It’s easy to set unrealistic standards and flame everyone who leaves the coding table in a world like F1 2010. I won’t do that. Eden games are not the most visually appealing game in the world. This is most evident in the world’s scenery. It lacks the curtain dynamic that could really pull a player in.
On the other hand, the cars are pretty good. It is possible to see the cars in person or even take them out for a test drive. Its exterior and interior match those of its 101 counterparts in real life, which is an outstanding achievement! You will enjoy a fine car experience with working controls such as blinkers, lights, and mechanical roofs.
The sounds are very generic. Although they do have some “crown punch,” it is not realistic. You’d likely fail to guess the car based solely on its engine noise. Except for minor adjustments, every car sounds precisely alike.
Test Drive Unlimited 2 is an excellent concept, but it lacks proper execution. The free-roaming part is very well done and gives you a glimpse of all the possibilities. Even for an arcade game, the driving experience is very dull and emotionless. It was disappointing that I had to race for digital dollars. Isn’t this what racing games are all for?