Test Drive Unlimited 2 Review

By on February 13, 2011

Cars, customization and chicks, the open world racing game from Atari is back.


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First Impressions
My reaction is
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It’s been four years since Eden Games unfurled their majestic open, online world to race in. Despite its shortcomings, Test Drive Unlimited was an immense success and was one of the few open world racing MMOs that actually did things correct. In this second iteration, high on their ‘cars, customization and chicks’ formula, Eden Games has once again open up the tracks in a far more polished and engaging game, though it does come with its loose ends.

The game begins with an awesome party at the rooftop of a building where you get to choose your character. The choices you make here aren’t going to affect your career in any way (at least not significantly).The career proceeds really well and the best part is you can cover it at your own pace. Once you pick you character you’re all set and the first car you get to drive is a Ferrari. You are thrown right away into the open world and you are set free to explore, until you hear a knocking and wake up only to realize that you’re nothing but a chauffeur. The lady who wakes you up is your boss’s daughter and she offers you your dream (a shot at a real race!), all she requires is for you to complete a challenge i.e. to drop her off at the designated location within the time limit. If the task is completed successfully you are selected as the replacement for the driver who fell ill. The remaining follows the usual trend, you have to work to get to the spotlight and race even harder to remain there. The vehicles are fitted with F.R.I.M which is used to keep track of you and your vehicle’s “heroics”.

Let’s get to the most important aspects of a racing game, the three C’s:

Cars, Customization and Controls… The trailers had definitely established that the vehicles accessible in this game are going to be really classy and top of the class. I also learnt that irrespective of how good you are at racing, the vehicle you own will have a huge influence on your gameplay and hence your global level. Once you’ve picked a car, you are asked for an assistance level – full, sport or hardcore. Full assistance is for the newbie, sports for those who enjoy a little thrill and hardcore for the regular gamers.

The customization basically involves both your performance and visual mods. The visual customization has a lot of options from paints jobs to some really beautiful body accessories. It’s all up to you and your creativity to sort this one out. The performance mods are very appropriate but surely did expect a little more from the developers. The character customization isn’t all that great either.

The controls are better than the previous game but still a pain to get used to even in the full assistance mode. The brakes take an eon to start working at full speed and sensitivity to change in directions isn’t very impressive. These flaws are well covered up by the amazing speed and driving experience in the open world, however.

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The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
8
The gameplay is pretty good barring the flaws in the controls.
GRAPHICS
8.5
The cars and environment to have some real neat detailing, it’s a pity they didn’t put enough work on the cut scenes.
SOUND
7
Music doesn’t seem to be a major issue as this game has only two radio stations. With only two radio stations, there isn't much to go for. Vehicle effects are pretty good, however.
VALUE
8
The open world cruising, car tuning and the multiplayer should keep you going for a while.
FUN FACTOR
9
Cruising along in a scenic open world in a gazillion dollar sports car, yup pretty fun.
OVERALL
8
Not without its issues, Test Drive Unlimited 2 is definitely a step forward for the series, and in absolutely the right direction.

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