Remember Eden games? Back in 2007 they announced a wonderful new concept. A game in which players have to obey the traffic rules and can slowly work their way up in the world of fame by buying new cars and having a strong grip on the real estate market. In the wake of the announcement, a new game came out called Test Drive Unlimited. And now, after an absence of 3 years, they are back! It’s name: Test Drive Unlimited 2.
The sequel builds on its predecessor by respecting the same basic outline. At the start it becomes painfully clear that you are at the bottom of the social standings, despite starting the game in a short Ferrari tour around the island. By participating in street races, buying houses, clothes and occasionally visiting the plastic surgeon, it’s your job to become rich and flaunt in. You know kind of like real life only less meaningful and a lot quicker.
The game gives you a lot of freedom between events. So if you’re not into buying virtual clothes than you don’t have to, at least not initially. Because ultimately you’ll need to explore every single stone the game throws at you if you wish to reach the final level. That means filling the experience bar in four categories: collection, competition, discovery and social. A tough challenge that may not be worth it once you’ve bought the car you were after in the first place.
For me though the free roaming part between challenges is what really sets this game apart. Driving in traffic towards events and shops can be a lot of fun, especially in a hyper car. But for impatient gamers the map and quick travel option is king. These are especially appreciated because the world faces a few problems.
For one the world looks very empty, traffic is thin and off road distractions are virtually non-existing. Of course there’s the 2-channel radio, but listening to it for too long can be seen as a state punishment in my view. And it would’ve been so much better if you were actually able to get out of the car and walk about.
Despite those remarks the free roaming bit does a lot of things very well.