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    Test Drive Unlimited 2 Review (Xbox 360)

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    sicran
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    Test Drive Unlimited 2 Review (Xbox 360)

    Post by sicran on 22/2/2011, 11:16 pm

    Atari and Eden Games have just released the second entry into the Test Drive Unlimited
    series which offers players the ability to drive some of the most
    luxurious cars in the world and experience the lifestyle that goes with
    them. Giving players full access to the island of Ibiza to start and
    eventually on to Oahu, you're free to explore every nook and cranny of
    the environments as you're put into races, earn money and can customize
    the experience as you see fit. So with all the pieces in place, how does
    Test Drive Unlimited 2 come together as a full product?

    When you first step onto Ibiza in the game, you're pulled from your job
    as a lowly parking valet and given the shot at racing on a reality TV
    show competition called the Solar Crown. Along with seven other
    contestants, including the show's producers and hosts, you'll be put
    through a series of races and challenges to prove your mettle and earn
    cash. In order to compete in various events you need to earn driving
    licenses for various classes in the game's asphalt, classic and off-road
    categories. Now the game's story toes the line of over-the-top cheesy
    from start to finish. Every character delivers their lines with enough
    gusto to be a gainfully employed sportscaster. From minor conversations
    to driving instructions you'll be bombarded with overly positive chatter
    from everyone acting as though they're your best friend. And once
    you're freely driving around the island, cell phone calls chime in
    suggesting you visit one location or another, often one after the other.
    But for time's sake, luckily you can turn them down and go about your
    business.

    The game features a leveling progression in which you'll unlock items
    available for purchase and discounts at shops around the game world. As
    you earn points in the four categories of competition, discovery,
    collection and social you'll eventually build up towards the level cap
    of 60. In order to earn points you need to buy cars and clothes, make
    friends in the game with other online players, win races, and map out
    the islands thousands of miles of road.

    Now before even digging into the cars and driving aspect of the game,
    the developers built an enormous layer of content dedicated to the
    lifestyle surrounding the luxurious vehicles available. You pick one of
    six starting avatars for you character who you can later augment all you
    want with plastic surgery. And by discovering stores scattered around
    the island you'll be able to buy clothes and accessories to create the
    look for your character that you want. You'll also be able to buy houses
    which you can decorate with different accessories to your heart's
    content and invite other players into your abode to check out your digs.
    There's a lot of care put into designing the lifestyle elements of the
    world, but at the same time all of the buildings feel empty. If you go
    into a real estate office or a driving school, you're in a big empty
    room where the only interactive option is to talk to the person at the
    desk. And for that matter the driving schools in Ibiza and Hawaii are
    literally copy and paste versions of each other down to the parking lots
    and interiors.

    You'll bump into other online players at some of these locations and the
    on-screen indicators will show you where other players are on the
    island while you're driving around. The game has an emote system that
    allows you to communicate with other players as well as chat over
    headset. For players who love to customize their own spaces in an online
    world, the game provides an immense palette for that. You can also
    create drivings clubs that are similar to other online title's clans or
    guilds. Within clubs you can gain access to new cars and challenges that
    you wouldn't otherwise have access to.

    When you first get pulled from your valet job into the racing circuit,
    you have almost thirty thousand dollars in the bank and get to buy your
    first classic car. You'll nab either a Ford, Lancia or Lotus to get
    yourself started in racing and earning money. While the game offers
    three levels of driving assistance to help players depending on their
    skills, the game tends towards arcade racing rather than the more
    realistic physics you'd find in more simulation-style games. The
    differences between full driving assistance on and the “hardcore”
    all-off modes are slim. Most racing novices would still feel in control
    driving “hardcore” from the getgo. While the description of “hardcore”
    claims it aims for a more “sim-type” feel, it's definitely more Burnout than anything resembling Forza.

    The game also gives you a combo system to earn money from early on where
    by dodging cars, jumping and drifting you'll earn cash. But if you bump
    into anything along the way you'll lose your combo and your money. As
    you work up through the 10 levels of combos, you can bank funds at any
    stage for a limited period of time before the meter reaches for its next
    point. This system is helpful early on as you don't have as much money,
    but after winning a few championship races the system's maximum of
    $4,000 just doesn't seem worth the stress of banking up 10 levels of
    combo.

    Platform:
    Xbox 360
    ..................................
    Publisher:
    Atari, Inc.
    ..................................
    Developer:
    Eden Games
    ..................................
    Genre:
    Racing/Driving
    ..................................
    Release Date:
    2/8/2011
    ..................................
    Game Features:






    Ratings :: 1
    Average :: 10.0
    Submit Full Review
    Rate This Game













    Now throughout all the
    game's single player story, you'll continually race against the same
    seven opponents who are on the same reality TV show that you are. And I
    must say that the AI leaves something to be desired. If you pull ahead
    of the pack and continue to drive clean lines, your lead will continue
    to gain through the entire race and the other drivers will never catch
    you. The computer-controlled players tend to drive the same lines and
    will drive into you if you cross these lines while overtaking or
    cornering. If you come off the starting line too slow, the AI cars will
    literally pass through you and reappear in front of you because they
    started faster, rather than having to drive around you. Needless to say,
    the AI isn't what's going to keep players coming back to Ibiza and
    Oahu.

    The game almost completely lacks damage. While driving head-on into
    another vehicle might cause them to lose their bumper and scrape your
    paint, your only setback is a speed change. Driving into a wall at
    200mph will only take a few seconds off of your lap times rather than
    take you out of a race. This makes the whole experience easier and
    removes the feeling of consequences from poor driving.

    Driving around the open road will also brings up some technical quirks.
    For one, traffic will often pop in and pop out at certain lines
    throughout the map. One second a car will be there and another it will
    simply be gone. On more than one occasion my vehicle dropped under the
    map on a normal road, splashed into an unseen ocean and restarted me at a
    nearby location.

    Where Test Drive Unlimited 2 really shines, outside of its
    technical and AI problems, is the sheer vastness of its world and
    abundance of fantastic cars. Because the game offers you leveling to
    just explore the roads around the islands, it presents almost a zen-like
    experience to mark roads with your blue “been there” line. And with
    incentives to buy cars from Mercedes-Benz, McLaren, Zonda, Ferrari,
    Bugatti and more, you'll never be lacking for new wheels to test out.

    What really shines through at the core of Test Drive Unlimited 2
    is the developers absolute love of the automobile. You're able to browse
    showrooms, open up car doors, mess with the windows and examine the
    full interiors of the cars. They are lovingly recreated and show respect
    and awe. The available cars are amazing.

    TDU2 is a completionists dream. The game has over 650 challenges, around
    100 cars 61 houses and hidden items all over the map to discover. It's
    going to take dozens of hours to find everything. In my time driving
    around I only found a handful of wrecks and places to take photos for
    points in-game. You're really going to have to scour the map to find
    everything.

    The multiplayer is a cool aspect of the game, though in my trials around
    the islands I did discover that some “players” you find in the game
    world are actually AI plants. By flashing your headlights you can
    challenge any players nearby to a duel race where you put money on the
    line and the winner takes all. While you can chat with real players, I
    did enter into a challenge with a “player” while the cable guy was
    rewiring our internet. There was zero signal in connection, so I was
    confused to see two or three “Gamertags” floating around my offline
    Ibiza. But when the competition is real and your not racing the same
    seven AI players from the storyline, the game gets a new level of fun
    and intensity. TDU2's lasting appeal will come from its multiplayer as
    long as the servers stay online and people love collecting cars.

    The game world has a “cop” mode enabled, and when you commit too many
    violations such as speeding or crashing near police cars you'll be sent
    into a chase mode. If you escape your notoriety will go up or you'll be
    arrested and your level reset – along with a fine. But to be honest,
    it's difficult to rack up enough infractions to even kick this mode off
    so many players won't even realize it exists.

    After hours upon hours driving the roads of Ibiza and Oahu, the game definitely has its charms. Test Drive Unlimited 2
    is ambitious, enormous and an experience that many people can lose
    themselves in. But with its forgiving lack of consequences, obnoxious
    storyline and poor AI, the game's lasting appeal falls on the
    multiplayer and simply filling your garages with dozens of automobiles.













    Platform:
    Xbox 360
    ..................................
    Publisher:
    Atari, Inc.
    ..................................
    Developer:
    Eden Games
    ..................................
    Genre:
    Racing/Driving
    ..................................
    Release Date:
    2/8/2011
    ..................................
    Game Features:






    Ratings :: 1
    Average :: 10.0
    Submit Full Review
    Rate This Game

















    While
    it wants to offer more simulation elements than it does, the game is a
    full, slippery arcade racer with odd physics. There is no vehicle damage
    and therefore no consequence to poor driving. The avatar scenes feel
    forced and slow to control.








    The
    cars look fantastic - hands-down. But the awkward character models and
    popping in and out of the distant scenery and AI vehicles take this one
    down a few notches.






    Two
    repetitive radio stations and terrible voice acting don't allow the
    pleasant hum of the automobiles to raise this category's score.






    There
    is a lot to do and find on Ibiza and Oahu. And with the multiplayer
    elements I can foresee a tight-knit community sticking with this one for
    a long time.








    The
    game dreams big but doesn't really achieve on all fronts. Trying to
    implement an avatar system is a cool thought, but feels like fluff on
    top of the cars at the game's core
    .






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