Test Drive Unlimited
|Test Drive Unlimited|
PAL cover art
Atari Melbourne House (PS2 & PSP)
Moving Editora (Brazil)
CD Projekt (Poland)
Seven M (Hungary)
|Engine||Havok, Twilight 2|
Test Drive Unlimited (TDU) is a 2006 open-world arcade-style racing game, featuring over 125 licensed sports cars and motorcycles. The terrain is modeled after the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu that features some 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of roads and highways. Test Drive Unlimited is the ninth main installment of Test Drive, one of the longest running racing game franchises. A sequel, titled Test Drive Unlimited 2, was released on February 8, 2011.
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In the world of Test Drive Unlimited, the player is able to drive both on-road and off-road in free-roam mode, challenging any real life racers they encounter. The roads are modeled after satellite images of the island of Oʻahu. The terrain differs from rainforest and mountains to sandy beaches and Hawaiʻi's capital city, Honolulu. It is worth noting however, that other built-up areas on the island are not represented. It is possible to drive on small islands outside of the main island, and even drive underwater (using glitches or mods) The latter requires the use of a known exploit in the game. The Xbox 360 version has supported steering wheel controllers since launch. Following the third free update, Test Drive Unlimited supports force feedback wheel controllers such as Microsoft's Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel.
Although advertising material for the game suggests it to be an exact depiction of the Hawaiian island, numerous government buildings (such as those on Pearl Harbor, Camp H. M. Smith, Hickam Air Force Base), commercial buildings (Ala Moana Center, the convention center, the entire commercial strip in Pearl City and the Pearlridge Center), and notable landmarks (statue of King Kamehameha I, USS Missouri, etc.) are not present in the game. Many roads and highways are also missing or placed far from their real-life counterparts. The ships docked in Pearl Harbor are also in very low detail and do not represent any active or retired USN vessel at all.
The game begins by purchasing a car and a house. The player is then free to explore the island; as this happens, key locations on the map are revealed. These include Car and Bike dealerships (not available in PS2 and PSP versions), car rental agencies, tuning shops, paint shops, time challenges, courier, vehicle transportation, hitchhikers (not available in PS2 and PSP versions) and more.
Success in challenges is rewarded with in-game money, or in the Hitchhiker and Top Model challenges, coupons. Using these coupons, the player can buy clothing for their character at the many branded clothes shops on the island. Money earned may be spent on buying new vehicles, renting cars, upgrading cars and buying houses. Players can acquire sports cars from various manufacturers, including a Ferrari 575M Maranello, the AC Cobra 289, the Maserati 3500 GT and the Pontiac Firebird. The megapack adds more than 45 more cars, including the Efijy Concept, the Ferrari 512 TR and the Nissan Skyline GT-R, and an extra motorcycle.
Missing content on Sony Platforms (PS2 and PSP)
- Manual transmission (although transmission is visible in options, it is permanently set to auto)
- Avatar customization
- Certain vehicles such as Ferrari, Maserati, Lexus, all motorcycles, and some models of different makes
- Certain mission types (hitchhikers, etc.)
- Cockpit View (PSP)
- NPCs in buildings (PSP)
- Rear-view and side mirrors are not functional (blurred out)
- Some shops, like custom car paint
- USB steering wheel support
- Online Cruising (although functional in 2007, Infrastructure online for both Sony platforms was shutdown in 2009. PSP's 2nd available online option is ad-hoc)
- Secret Island (PSP & PS2, although not proven; there are roads shown on the island, but no teleportational device has been found.)
- Content, visual and audio components were largely reduced due to hardware limitations.
Exclusive content on Sony platforms
- Master Points, a system where the player is awarded points for drifting, slipstreaming, airtime and generally driving around the island.
- Auto GPS, which automatically directs the player to the closest available race challenge.
- Car selection, as some cars that are only available in download packs for Xbox 360 and PC are available from the start in the PS2 and PSP versions.
- Radio stations in the PS2 and PSP versions feature several exclusive instrumental tracks in addition to the licensed music.
- Quick Race, a mode that allows players to create a limitless amount of races to compete in, with a random car.
Some of the exclusive features of the PS2 and PSP versions were later implemented in Test Drive Unlimited 2. (TDU2 was created for different platforms.)
The multiplayer component (branded as M.O.O.R. or Massively Open Online Racing) works as an extra layer on top of the single-player game: all activities available in single-player are also available in multiplayer. The following challenges are also available in multiplayer only:
- Race vs other players
- Challenge players to complete tasks
- Attempt other player challenges
Racing against other players works :
-For Freeride : by using a custom geolocalized matchmaking system, added using XboxLive Server Platform (XLSP).
-For Multiplayer Races spots : by using the player match/ranked match system employed by Xbox Live
The Microsoft Windows version uses the GameSpy network for authentication.
It is also possible to create an immediate, ad hoc race against another player by flashing headlights at their vehicle.
Players may create and join "clubs" which help organize player events. Vehicles may be traded between players through a central "clearing house"-style interface that lists the vehicles for sale along with class, mileage, specification, and price information.
It is also possible to play online with the addition of a network adapter to a PS2 and via Infrastructure Mode on the PSP.
The TDU server structure consisted of 11 individual machines working in a distributed, scalable way.
The PC and Xbox 360 servers were shut down on September 29, 2012. The PS2 and PSP servers were shut down on an earlier date.
On September 2, 2014 community members launched a private server  for the PC version of the game.
In the Xbox 360, new cars can be downloaded via Xbox Live, similar to Project Gotham Racing 3 and 4's Booster Packs and Midnight Club: Los Angeles "South Central Vehicle Packs". Some individual cars are available to download for free, while others must be purchased with Microsoft Points as part of a pack. All downloaded cars still need to be purchased with in-game money at their respective dealerships before they can be used in the game. There are currently 8 Car Packs and 8 Free cars.
There is also a downloadable mode called "hardcore mode" which makes the game experience more realistic. It was designed for players with an Xbox 360 Racing Wheel controller. The hardcore mode is free however in the PC-version, and can be unlocked by achieving a higher specific rank.
However all DLC have been removed as of today.
There has been one patch for the PC version of Test Drive Unlimited. As part of this patch the Nissan Skyline GTR R34 and Audi RS4 quattro Saloon (B7) cars were released for free. Windows Vista users who have the 32-bit platform installed will have fewer issues with freezing during saving points. The 64-bit platform invariably creates conflicts despite the 4GB system memory that most users have (as recommended by the Atari manufacturer of TDU), as the game tends to draw from the users RAM as opposed to dedicated video card memory. Moreover, there is a 'Megapack' DLC which PC users can purchase, featuring 45 cars, 1 bike and some fixes. These include the limited edition 'exclusive' cars available for the Xbox-360 version as well as the contents of the first 5 DLC packs previously released over Xbox Live. It is, however, incompatible with localized versions but as for today it is released in Russia as an add-on and also it is included in a TDU Gold Edition.
Special NPCs in PS2 version
The fastest car on the PS2 version is the Chrysler ME Four-Twelve, which can go over 445 kilometres per hour (277 mph). There were 1500 total beta testers in Atari's closed beta for Test Drive Unlimited PS2. At the end of the testing period, Atari awarded 30 of the most active testers with "immortality" in the PS2 version of Test Drive Unlimited. These 30 beta testers were allowed to name one of the non-playable characters (NPC) in the game. Some chose to use their first and last name; others chose to use their screen names. These 30 special NPCs can be found spread throughout the virtual island of only the PS2 version. Atari and Melbourne House ensured the Beta Testers were given prominent positions as NPCs. Among the play testers were also friends and family of staff at Melbourne House, including staff members themselves, who are included within the different motoring clubs featured within the game. Most were granted President or Vice President status in the car clubs and were put in highly desirable performance cars.
Test Drive Unlimited was met with positive reception. It currently has a score of 82% and 82 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version, 80% and 79 out of 100 for the PC version, 80% and 80 out of 100 for the PSP version, and 76% and 75 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version according to GameRankings and Metacritic.
411Mania gave the Xbox 360 version a score of 8.6 out of 10 and stated, "Even if you own a next-gen racing game, this is a title that you MUST try out. This is such an open ended game that never actually ends ala [sic] World of Warcraft and feeling like you’re a part of the Island with your homes, vehicles and club is too much of a cool thing to pass up." The Sydney Morning Herald gave the same version a score of four stars out of five and called it "a car aficionado's paradise and a novel concept in driving games. Unlimited's online world is certain to be mimicked." The Times also gave it four stars out of five and stated that it "comes closer than most games to re-creating the freedom of real life."
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