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Test Drive Unlimited 2 February 8, 2011

Test Drive Unlimited 2 Review

The Verdict on Test Drive Unlimited 2

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Test Drive Unlimited 2 expands on the traditional racing experience providing gamers with M.O.O.R.: Massively Open Online Racing; immersing drivers in a persistent online environment and revolutionizing multiplayer racing communities as players compete, team up, and share their achievements and creations online. Unlike any other driving game, TDU2 blends the open world experience with realistic vehicles and performance dynamics and for the first time, TDU2 features vehicle damage, weather effects, day and night cycles, and a brand new island to explore.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 is an arcade racer at it’s core of mechanics.  With the inclusion of many immersing RPG features, sandbox elements, and multiplayer offerings that aren’t normally associated with a racing game.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 delivers immensely in the content department.  As advertised, the game is “Massively Open Online Racing Experience”, and this couldn’t be more true. As you are progressing through the game, earning experience, licenses, and cars, you also have 1000’s of other people competing in your world.  These people are looking for challenges, or just doing the same as you, and progressing through their single player experience.  And with the term thrown around quite a bit after Gran Turismo 5, TDU2 definitely falls into that category of CARPG, if not RPG.  There are so many customizable option in TDU2.  Since you have an avatar which you select at the very cheesy opening of the game, you can customize this avatar with clothing and other options that you can purchase as you earn money from any of the various activities on Ibiza.  Aside from the purchasing of clothes, you can speak with real estate agents, customize your vehicles, customize you home, and customize just about every aspect of TDU2.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 is not a linear game.  There is a very neat leveling structure put in place to assure that you get the most out of the game.  With four categories to earn XP: Social, Discovery, Competition, and Collection, the game constantly has you doing new things.  Hardly a boring experience, if just for the sheer fact that the game makes you want to challenge that guy that just sped past you and knocked you off the road if just for the chance at leveling up.   And this is where the Sandbox elements of the game really come into play.  You can take off to explore the island in all it’s beauty, and just search for wrecked vehicles which will net XP.  Or you can just focus obtaining licenses and grinding through the ranks that way.  But there always seems to be some type of distraction in TDU2 to keep you occupied.

The way the gameplay of Test Drive Unlimited 2 is presented is great.  There’s really alot to wrap your head around in the game, but it all comes together quite nicely.  And the game is good at providing direction when needed via the onboard GPS system which coexists with your map, giving you both audio and visual cues.  Frequently people that you meet throughout the game’s single player portion will call you to attend an event.  And if you don’t have the required, car they’ll call you to remind you that you don’t, and send you coordinates to where you have to go to get one.  But more importantly it’s easy to navigate to these points.

The island is huge, and you will be doing the majority of your time driving from point A to B.  Some of the fun in getting there is meeting up with people from the community along the way, but Eden Games also makes getting there half the fun by incorporating a points system that is persistent at all times.  Stringing together jumps, near misses, and speed bonuses, will net you extra cash.  Here you can continue to press your luck in increments, but if you crash or hit something before locking in your reward, you lose all of the money you have earned.

The last two racers I played were Gran Turismo 5 and Need For Speed Hot Pursuit.  Frankly, trying to compare either of these two game’s graphics to TDU2 is a tall order.  While the island is nice looking at times, and there are some cool environmental effects, the overall graphics package is a little lackluster.  Car models, engine sounds, Car interiors, cut-scenes, there’s just so many areas where this game just gets completely outdone by it’s competitors when it comes down to how the game looks and sounds.  Like I said, there are some redeeming qualities in this department, such as the transitions from day to night or vice versa.   Overall, there are just too many other games that have been recently released in the genre that just plain look better.  It doesn’t take away from the fun of TDU2 one bit,  but the graphics certainly leave alot to be desired.

Also, I have to mention that there is an obscene amount of screen tearing in the game for the videophiles out there.  Noticeable in cutscenses as well as the standard driving perspectives it won’t take you but a moment or two into the game to see what I mean.

The actual car physics for TDU2 are poor. If the developer was trying for more simulated effect in TDU2, this game should be considered an utter fail.   It has a great feel for an arcade racer, but even then it would still have some major problems because of the line it tries to walk in being both.  Again, of the recent racers I have played this one probably feels the worst as far as pure racing controls and handling go.  It’s not all bad, there is a great sense of speed in the game when you are cruising down one of the island’s many freeways.  But, lack of usable in-car view really land this game squarely in the arcade category.  Which is a pretty big deal for me.  If a racer offers in car views, that’s what I want to play with.  Unfortunately there seems to be a big problem with the steering when shifting to in car view of TDU2.  Oversteering becomes quite frequent and just rounding a normal turn is an exercise in futility.  The game will force you to switch back first and foremost because of the controls.  Secondarily, it doesn’t look all that great either.

For a game that has so much to love in all of it’s features, they sure don’t make it hard to hate Test Drive Unlimited 2.  You are going to get multiple opportunities to hate this game.  From the moment the game starts, your senses will be accosted with poor graphics, bad hairstyles, bad voice overs,  and all of these other things that scream to your senses that this is indeed a mediocre game.  It just keeps hitting you in the face with crappiness, literally for hours, before you actually realise what the good parts about TDU2 are.  Cheesy opening sequence, followed by unbelievable voice acting, forcing you to sit through poorly rendered cut scenes, it’s truly enough to take the game out of your Xbox/PS3 within the first hour and call it wash.  Persevere my friends..Persevere.

Update 2-12-11<—– There have been reports of issues with TDU2 since launch, notable “game breaking bugs”, a permanent loading screen, and problems and issues with save files. Eden is apparently working to fix these currently —–> Status updates on the incoming patch from TDU2 team via Twitter.

If any game in recent memory makes the case for fun factor being the ultimate score to measure a game by, it’s Test Drive Unlimited 2.  There’s just so much to do in the game that is downright fun.  The racing is fun, if you go into it with an arcade mindset.  There’s definitely issues here with some parts of TDU2, but the good outweighs the bad by a landslide.  An engaging leveling system, an expansive world to explore, and limitless possibility to have fun by your lonesome or with friends via your network of choice, make this one of the funnest racers I have played in quite some time.

Say Something
  • haggis

    Finally!!!!! A real review by someone that says it like it is.The good,the bad n the meh,i like it .There are way to many reviews done by the arse kissing masses trying to stay on the good side of corporate gaming so that they can ensure their next review copy.
    Well written and informative,answers most of the questions i had. Cheers man.

  • GreenRIngs

    I am definitely getting this. God review. I would like more details but I took your advices on getitng assassins creed brotherhd which was going to pass on and I did really enjoy it more than the others so I will try this too.

  • Michael Wojo

    Sooooo disapointed…..I was looking forwared to this game for so long with such love from the first and when I played it today,well I finally said enoung is enough.I had no idea where to go,if the only way to play is online gaming that just blows,the music is S#*T!,for unlimited they should have thought of letting you play your own music.I finally gave up trying to get a c4.That eairly in the game and its that frickin hard…….

    • Gman

      Try picking it up on 360 or PC and you can use a custom soundtrack

    • Ron

      wow seriously? you can’t get a C4… you gave up way too quickly.

      but then again, this game is for mature gamers. which makes you… *ahem* not part of the demographics.

      and yes, child, on my PC version you can add any song you want to the radio.

      halo is calling. you better answer.

  • Matt

    The handling and physics are awesome with a G25 wheel (PC), and I found the C4 licence extremely easy with this set up. Havent had this much fun with a car game since midtown madness, and I’ve played them all!

    • jeff

      love the midtown madness reference. i actually think mm2 is a better looking gme then tdu2. maybe thats looking at it throught rose colored glasses.

  • Isaac

    I just got this game the day it came out (Feb 8) and I can say this review is spot on accurate. All the things I love about the game are stated and all my beefs, mainly the handling, are expressed here. I don’t see anything wrong with the graphics but thats just me. I have the PS3 version. The graphics of this game are about the same as the graphics of the first TDU which I have on XBOX 360. Overall I like the game just don’t know if it was worth the $50 LOL.

  • Gman

    Can anyone give a solid comment on how this controls with a wheel? Does it allow shifting? H-shift? Clutch control?

    • Artyom

      This game’s wheel support is absolutely AWFUL!!! Anyone who thinks wheel support for this game is good has never raced their wheel on another game. It is hyper sensitive. You’ll over steer on any turn. Going straight is even difficult because just little input is enough to make you fish tale at speed. 200 degree set rotation in the game doesn’t offer real experience. Vibration instead of Force Feedback makes the feel of a car on a road non existent. The rest of the game is fun, graphics aspect doesn’t bother me so much. Their real FAIL is wheel support. If that doesn’t get fixed, the game is going to line the bottom of my dustbin.

  • KrazyFace

    Can someone clear this up for me then? On the 360 and PC you can use a custom soundtrack, but not in the PS3 version!? Is this really correct? Really?

    • mynameisbob

      You can always play a custom soundtrack in Xbox 360. It has the option of the guide button.

  • KrazyFace

    Guide button!? Im sorry I don’t have a 360, maybe I should rephrase my question; does anyone know for sure that the PS3 version dosen’t have a custom soundtrack option?

    It’s not essential, but if the only music is that “americkan emo rawk” sh!t then I’ll be crusin’ with the tunes OFF!

  • Cory Phillips

    The developers of this game obviously busted their butts making this game. The Ibeza island is an amazing piece of work. Hundreds of miles of stunning roadways, flawless scenery. Offroad tracks are everywhere also. Not to mention the second island that also has about 1000 miles (yes I said 1000, I’m not exaggerating). Many cars to chose from including my favorite; the Subaru WRX Sti. Great driving physics that take a little bit to get the hang of, but when you do, this is one highly addictive game!

  • LuGnUtZ86

    This game is not just a fail it a big steaming pile of horse FAIL. Graphics blow, physics are the worst iv seen since Rush. very bad voice overs and iv seen better voice/mouth syncing in those cheesey kung-foo movies they play late at night. crap, crap, crap. dont waste your money.

    • Ron

      the graphics are amazing on PC. but *heh* you probably wouldn’t know about PC gaming… someday, child, you’ll learn that building a computer is astonishingly easy. but for now just keep sucking your thumb and asking for a new console. *laughs at you with a serious face*

  • Cory Phillips

    It’s basically just like Midnight Club. Except instead of one city, you have 2 enormous islands with 2,000 miles of roadway, and more features than any game I have ever seen. It’s driving physics are extreme so you must learn how to really drive a car to drive in this game. And it also depends on the car your driving. Old muscle cars handle like crap while a ferrari handles awsome. You have night/day and weather. You will find new car dealerships as you drive. There are many cars to chose from, including the Bugatti Veyron, and SUV’s. The way you can drive and randomly go in and out of different servers automatically makes the gameplay extremely addictive, you can lock players into your server. The game is one of a kind, nothing ever has came close to this kind of a game in many ways. I recommend you find somewhere to play online if you don’t believe me or even offline. The naysayers have my mind confused, it’s as if they were playing a different game than me if they thought it sucked. But like I said give it a play at your friends house and see for yourself.

  • Bob

    The graphics are better on PC. You guys should consider getting/building a gaming rig.

  • JOAT

    Ron’s a moron….child

  • Ron’s moms lover

    @ Ron Wow dude you come off sounding like the biggest nerd loser on the planet. Listen here CHILD, you are a failure of life and a waste of air and space, just because you’re butthurt about your crappy pc game cuz it’s all you got doesn’t mean you need to reply to everyone calling them a CHILD. You assum that anyone that plays a console is a CHILD you are a perfect example of assuming you are a pimple faced, living in his mommys basement, worthless sack of shit and I hope get fucking electrocuted on your hardcore pc. FUCKING nerd.

  • LuGnUtZ86

    Ron, Child you are right i wouldnt know about PC gaming because like a grown up i use my PC for work, and porn, but mostly work.

  • Grymwynd

    Can anyone give a solid comment on how this controls with a wheel? Does it allow shifting? H-shift? Clutch control?

    My neighbour has it running on a PS3 with a G25 wheel and its LOADS better with the wheel and yes it does have H shifting and cluch control.
    Still think the graphics blow though. First thing I noticed was trees blinking in and out as you drive, then I saw birds flying along the tarmac in the middle of the road and even more disturbing was watching an aircraft fly under the road and I only played it for an hour. My friend tells me he has fallen through the road and got stuck a couple of times. So all in all I would say this is more like a beta version than a finished game and yet still hugely fun to cruise around the islands.

  • jeff

    i had this for the 360. the graphics of the cars and twns suck major balls. all the towns, save landmarks look the same all the houses look the same. i played it for 8 hours trying to get myself to like it. i just couldnt. when i first saw birds i thought they were ufo’s cuz the fly perfectly straight and exetremely smooth. the audio sucked. i had the volume almost to mute and it sounded like the speakers were blown. im one part where your supposed to drive a lady’s ferrari to get serviced, it was like it was on ice skates; dull ones at that. the opponents cars would zoom ahead, then at the first turn youd blow by them never to be overtaken; even after wrecking. its hard to believe that a land rover can go 110 on dirt but a street car cant go above 60, down hill. and then theres the steaming pile of fail that is online. it works till yo try and race online. then it doesnt. i returned it and feel all the better for it.

  • tinge81

    Ladies and gentlemen lets not lose track of the debate here! (Ron and Co.). This isn’t a slagging match, I think Ron is just expressing his passionate view of the game and obviously finds it offensive when people slag it off. Xbox, ps3, pc who gives a f**k! We all like gaming hense why were here! As for maturity levels, well name calling…hmmm?? Anyways here is one for you, ‘assume’… is to make an… A.S.S of U and M.E! ….. Lets be honest, are any of us that mature playing games well into our adulthood? lol, i’m neally 30! but I fakin lav it! So fak it! Each to their own and I’m still off to buy TDU2 because I can immerse myself in game play and not have to listen to the misses moaning! Level it out people and Ir’l see those of you that keep the game in Ibiza! The land of sex, drugs and now fast cars! Peace!

  • Anonymous

    Ron shut up, I have a mac which is way better than your crummy virus ridden PC, so I have a play station, there all the same game it dosen’t matter who has what, yeah I am 14, but far from a child, so next time, try not coming off as pompus jerk , who I think is to big for there britches and not tell every one who has a consoule a CHILD, if any one here is a child, it is probably you, I can’t evan explain my anger at you right now, I bet your just a 7 year old who has no friends, just crying, mommy wheres my bottle I want some chocolate milk> Yes I do have anger management problems

    • Artyom

      Funny you are accusing him of being childish, but your rant is absolutely the same. Don’t play the fools game of trading insults. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, you don’t have to agree or like it.

  • Anonymous

    your right ,but remember I do have anger management problems, sometimes I can get out of hand.

  • notafan

    Can’t like buggy

  • upgreyedd

    fags!btt: playing it on a steering wheel is really stingy..and almost unplayable..graphics are mediocre..playing aspect is ambitous but likeable…but driving really here is hard ..hard for an arcade racing game..and as hard as grid racing to think its a simulation game.

  • Anonymous

    In the begining its ok if you buy an all wheel drive car, buts its still pretty bad, soon you are forced to buy a rear wheel drive car for class A events and rear wheel drive is when the atrocious physics come, one tire of the road and you spin out, let alone the other computer based racers(tess, miami, wilder bros etc) will eventualy, purpously try to spin you out in a race( and normaly succede do to the awful driving physics, they aso challenge you to pink slip races where you can win there cars which will be of no use to you considering the fact you have alresdy deafeated it in your car, besides what am I going to do with a pink mustang, and worst of all you cant paint the cars once you win them>:(, I would graciously return it, but my brother likes it to much(whats his problem?) this game blows.