Big name racing titles have been released over the past few years. We have seen Blur, Split/Second, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and Gran Turismo 5. So how does Eden Games' Test Drive Unlimited 2 fare? Should you try this game out or just ignore it? (I was playing on the Xbox 360, but TDU2 is available for PS3 and PC)
Leveling System: Get to Level 60. There is a leveling system in Test Drive Unlimited 2. Players get experience for competitions, collections, discovery, and social. Competitions include licenses, racing, cups, instant challenges, and multiplayer competitions. Collections include haircuts, plastic surgeries, stickers, cars, houses and furniture, clothing. Discovery includes roads discovered, pictures, wrecks, and missions. Social includes clubs and social interaction with other players. I was not able to be social with other players until I downloaded the mandatory patch twice. Getting to level 10 allows access to the Hawaii. Higher levels gives discounts on cars and houses, and more money for F.R.I.M.
Story: Compete in Solar Crown and Win. The story revolves around Solar Crown, a televised racing program that occurs on two islands where eight racers compete for money, trophies, and cars. Cars are divided into C-class, classic cars, B-class, off-roads, and A-class, asphalt. Competitions included C4, B4, A7, A6, C3, B3, A4, A3, A2, and A1 classes. Each class contains a low and high cup. There are also three multi-class cups that rewards cars for winning. Each competition has five to eight challenges and points are awarded based on finishes. Which racer has the highest points after all challenges are completed win. The final challenge for two of the three cups is a long lap around one of the two islands that takes about an hour to complete.
Racing Modes: Five for Solar Crown Competitions and more for online racing. Solar Crown competitions has five different types of challenges. Time Trials is where you have to beat a certain time in order to get first place. Speed Trap is where drivers have to drive through a number of radars. The driver with the highest average speed wins. Eliminations is a seven lap race where the driver in last place after each lap is eliminated. The last driver left wins. Speed Challenge is where drivers must drive over a certain minimum speed and points are awarded for going over the minimum speed. Highest point total wins. Race is getting from point A to point B going through a set number of checkpoints. First driver to cross the finish line wins. Online mode includes instant challenges, where one driver challenges a second driver to a race. Chase mode where players are in police cars and chase a player that got a max traffic violation bar. I have spent most of the time racing offline since I had to download a mandatory update twice just to play online.
Racing Mechanics: Frustrating and Inconsistent. Test Drive Unlimited 2 attempts to use a arcade-realistic hybrid driving mechanic. It is very inconsistent and frustrating at times. During races, I spin out for no reason. I brake going straight and my car spins out. Sometimes when I try to drift, I spin out; and other time I pull of a drift. During races, I will drive over a curve and nothing happens. I drive over the same curve and I would either jump or spin out. It is very inconsistent. The driving mechanics will make you restart races. It is worse when trying to earn licenses to access Solar Crown races. The game lets you test drive cars before you buy them.
Car List: One of the best for any racing games. The car list is vast and includes some of the best cars in the world. Cars include several Ferraris, Chevy Cameros, Dodge Viper, McLaren MP4-12C, Mercedez-McLaren SLR 722 and Stirling Moss edition, Alfa Romeo 8C and 8C spider, several Aston Martins, Pagani Zonda, Nissan GT-R Audi R8, Gumpert Apollo (available as a club car), Bugatti Veyrons, and Ariel Atom V8. Six cars can be unlocked by discovering wrecked cars. Discovering ten wrecks of one car unlocks that car. These wrecked cars include a Dune Buggy, Shelby 427 Cobra, and Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe. There are no McLaren F1s or Lambos available in the game.
Graphics: There are better looking racing games than Test Drive Unlimited 2. It looks like an Xbox game. Cars look better in Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit than this game. The background looks bland.
Sound: The sound is subpar. The voice acting is bad and annoying. The engine sound for each car is very similar. In real life, a Ferrari sounds different from an Aston Martin. There are only two radio stations. The commercials can be funny at times.
Content: There is a lot to do. The content of the game is vast and there is so much to do. There are two islands to discover. Discovering the roads of the two islands open up tuner shops, sticker shops, car washes, car dealerships, plastic surgeons, clothing stores, and hair cuts. Players can own houses to store cars and show off to other players. Clubs allow access to certain vehicles. Missions include trailing, where you have to follow a car; deliveries, where you have to deliver a car with taking as little damage as possible; and jolt, where you try to get a person from point A to point B without filling the jolt meter. There is a Casino that is DLC for $10. I have not downloaded the Casino. Also you have twenty pictures to take on each island for extra money and achievements/trophies. Six vehicles can be unlocked by discovering ranks. Money can also be earned from F.R.I.M. You fill up the F.R.I.M bar by drifting, passing other cars, and air time. There are ten bars to fill and the tenth bar nets $4,000. Players can get $10,000 for level 10 F.R.I.M. after reaching a certain level.
Final Thoughts: It is a unique racing game with a lot to do. The mast content will keep players busy for several hours. Leaderboards and online modes gives replayability to the game. The car list is one of the best for any racing game. The story is just a racing competition and the characters are annoying. The graphics are subpar for a next generation game. The driving mechanic is frustrating and inconsistent. I recommend renting this game and see if you like this game or not before buying it. I got TDU2 from Blockbusters for $27.00.
Final Score: 7/10