The original Test Drive Unlimited was a unique game. There was nothing like it at the time. Combining a laid back, sun kissed lifestyle where your biggest problem was which colour to paint your Aston Martin, the game went down as one of the most unique, and enjoyable early Xbox 360 titles.
Step forward the sequel then, Test Drive Unlimited 2, coming with it all the premise that this game would be just as good as the original, just with more options, thus making a better game. Well, no, not really.
Firstly, M.O.O.R. Standing for ‘Massively open online racing’, M.O.O.R was the main selling point of a game in which having an Xbox Live membership is pretty much required in order for you to take advantage of around 50% of the games new features. M.O.O.R allows player interaction across the two massive real life islands of Oahu and Hawaii, it allows the starting of a race simply by the flash of your headlights, and allows you to meet up with a friend in the game world, and drive them around the island doing sweet nothing. Sounds fun right? Well, that was the intention.
Upon the games release, like a massive kick to the balls to anyone who shelled out the money to buy this game as soon as it was out, it simply doesn’t work. If you are connected to Xbox Live or PSN, chances are you cannot get passed the start screen. Why? ‘Server problems’ says Eden, the games developers. These ‘server problems’ leave you with nothing but an expensive screensaver, and when you finally get the game to start, more annoying bullshit happens. Bullshit like a green and purple Lanica Delta which corrupts your gamesave haunting your every move and bullshit like being frozen in place when walking around the Casino, like you have just walked into some invisible fucking tar pit.
Oh, and the voice acting, what a joke. The voices of various characters in the game, such as some self absorbed preppy douchebag who gives you your licence examinations and some annoying cow who, for some reason, entrusts her Ferrari to you despite only knowing you for five minutes, are done by what sounds like, 3 people. All of them male. The voice acting is on par with cheap european porn. You almost expect one of them to crack a double entendre and make a suggestion for you to fix their plumbing, but this unfortunately never happens.
Aside from the errors which have made this easily the worst game release I have ever been a part of, the game does have some decent elements. Although not giving you a vast sense of speed like NFS Hot Pursuit, bombing down a straight on a motorway is great fun. The ‘Solar Crown’ championship races which your character is thrown head first into are repetetive, dull and almost no challenge if you have a decent vehicle, of which there are plenty. But, what is left to do when you have finished all of these races?
Well, you could drive around the island looking for ‘wrecks’, finding all of which will unlock an exclusive car, or you can set about driving on every inch of road in the game. Online would be an option, if it decides to fucking work. What annoyed me was features in the first game that were missing in the sequel. Features like being able to sell a car. That’s right. If you have a car taking up space in your garage, looking ugly, and mocking you well get used to it, because you’re stuck with it. The only specifications that allow you to sell a vehicle, are if you have 100% full garage space and you trade an old model in as part exchange. This however excludes vehicles won in your racing career from other racers. One of the first vehicles in the game you win, is a bright pink Mustang with ‘kisses’ on the side of it, yet, it’s yours for all eternity unfortunately. Also, the option to adjust your seating height in vehicle, now replaced with the ability to use indicators, which by the time you have decided to use them, you have already turned a corner.
An unique feature added to TDU2 is the various levels you can achieve in the game. Split into four different categories, doing things like changing the appearence of your avatar, and interacting with other people online, increases your global level, which supposedly gives you better notoriety in the game world. These challenges give the player something to aim for and vastly increase the longevity of the game for people who are interested in completing this game 100%.
The driving element in this game is pretty good however. If you feel that it isn’t to your liking, then you can tweak it with all manner of anal options in the menu, it’s hardly any fun, but whatver floats your boat. Buying property returns, with around 100 different houses in the game available. Money is tight however. A few extravagent vehicular purchases could leave you out of pocket easily, which is where the Casino comes in.
Roulette, Poker, Slots, this Casino has none of these currently functioning properly. Maybe when a patch is released, this DLC might actually work? But from what I played of it, before several disconnections, the Casino is actually pretty entertaining, and via the Slot machine, you can even win an Audi.
When it works, this game is decent. You have a fair selection of 100 cars to drive across a massive area on two different islands both on and off road, you can buy and sell properties and customize your car and your avatar until your hearts content, you can compete in championship races and lose all of your hard earned money in a casino, which is all well and good.
Avoid this game if driving around outside of an overly competetive environment will bore you. If you like Need for Speed Hot Pursuit for it’s fast paced, competetive style, then chances are TDU2 and it’s slower, laid back gameplay won’t be enough to keep you entertained. Even so, avoid this game like the plague until all of the shit wrong with it is fixed.
- A massive area to drive across
- On and off road driving
- Boring championship races
- Voice acting
- Missing features
- It pretty much doesn’t work when connected online
- Save file corruption
- Still no patch