My friend insisted that I tried this game out and I refused for the longest. Honestly, the pics make it look broke at times and I hated the demo. Still, I scooped it up on ebay for $8 on a whim. I figured that if it was terrible I could go without a subway sandwich for once.
Well he was right. The game starts off slow but it becomes pretty fun once you get a feel for the handling. I’m not a fan of the bikes so I stay with my assortment of exotics ranging from Ferraris, Lambos and my Koenigsegg CC85 aka the C&C Orange Soda. I’ve put in more work than I’d like to admit so far. Additionally the game is huge. You do a bunch of events on Oahu: Hawaii’s biggest island. It’s an interesting choice for a racing game.There’s tons of events to do as the island provides some cool track designs.
Still, a lot of it starts to look the same after awhile. I could only take so much green scenery before it got bland. Plus the game dropped in ’06 and it shows. Sure it’s a great technical feat to pack a whole island in a game. But it doesn’t look that great outside of some car models. The first person view, as seen above, is pretty cool though. It’s not ideal for racing unless your a pro but it’s fun to cruise around through that mode.
The game’s UI is kinda weird to get around at first but you’ll get the hang of it. When you press right on the D-pad you can see what events you won, lost or need to unlock along with car dealerships, houses and other points of interests on the map. You can also set GPS points or even warp to a location as long as you drove there at least once. Moving around becomes second nature and it makes you wonder why other open world racing games don’t adopt a similar format (/shots fired at Burnout Paradise.)
The game also has a interesting twist. It’s quite online centric as Oahu acts as a persistent online location. Once you get the game started you automatically log on to the game’s servers. From there you can see everyone else online cruising around as long as they (or you) are not doing a challenge.
If you have a friend playing a game you can drive (or warp if you unlocked the road) to his/her position and meet up. It’s kinda finicky but it works most of the time. Then you can do some quick races and even bet the money you made in the single player game. Also you could drive up to the online races and invite your friends in a more traditional racing game setup for up to 8 players. You can even start or join a car club to do club races and exchange cars.
All in all, the game ain’t bad considering its price. It’s in my current racing game rotation along with PGR 4, Forza 2 and Burnout. They’ll be enough to hold me over until Forza 3 drops. So yeah give Test Drive Unlimited a shot if you have some extra scooby snack money in your pocket.
Also I found some flicks/concept art that are rumored to show off Test Drive Unlimited 2. Props to Diablo fo the tdu-central.com forums for uncovering these. Check the link for more flicks. I got a couple in the gallery below mixed in with the pics in this post. I’m out for now, later…