I missed out on the first Test Drive Unlimited, and have yet to check out the sequel released last week, but thankfully Senor Fistbeard McTavish is all over the game like fist on beard. He's also written a reader review on the game which you can now sample below.
Thanks to Madman – the best written Reader Review receives a selection of the latest DVDs and Blu-rays from their selection.
Take it away Fistbeard.
Test Drive Unlimited 2
Well, with me being a fan of the original TDU, I snatched up TDU2 over steam and jumped right in a few days ago. But is it new and flashy like a gorgeous Italian sports car, or is it your grandpa’s rusty Volvo with a racing stipe?
Hated Voicework – The characters in this game sound horrible, and I figured out why: They all sound like announcers. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but it sounds like they were recorded really poorly, and for some reason I think of an arcade racing cabinet announcer whenever I hear anyone talk in the game.
Online – What? You hated online? Well, yes and no. Online is integrated really well into the game, but it’s the smaller issues that crop up to make you think “Why wouldn’t they include this?”. I was co-driving with a friend, and we wanted to go from free roaming to admiring his new apartment. I had to re-join his session, as moving from one area to another, be it a showroom, house, or anywhere else breaks the connection. We were unable to see each other’s stickers we put on our cars, and a few times we couldn’t even connect to each other because it still thought we were doing races.
Bugs – Aside from how long it took for me to actually get the game working, I encountered a fair few glitches. Connection issues, I had cars going invisible, one point my car looked like it was about to phase into another dimension (shaking and blur everywhere), and even 3 times when the audio turned into screeching static.
Loved Driving Cars– And yet with all these issues, I still love this game. Driving the cars around the huge islands is incredible, and the attention to detail (outside noises getting muffled when you have windows up or down) is awesome. Driving along roads to discover new car dealerships is fun, and seeing a gorgeously rendered car in a showroom, giving it a test drive and realising you want said car badly is a great hook to get you racing and saving cash. So many times I’ve found a new dealership, hopped in a new car for a test drive and went “Oh god, I WANT this car!”.
Online – Despite me not liking the online section, it’s hard not to be impressed at how well it’s integrated into the game. Browsing showrooms with other people talking is impressive, and a few times while I’ve been cruising around I got phone calls from the police informing me that another player has been causing havoc, and wanting me to go take them down. That blew me away the first time that happened.
Overall, despite the bugs and weird decisions in terms of online play, I’m really enjoying Test Drive Unlimited 2. Some parts could be much better, namely the bugs and some weird consistency issues with the online model (Constantly having the session broken by area transitions), but despite all this, just hopping in your car and driving into the sunset makes you forget about all the problems and realise why this game is so fun: Just going out and driving.