Test Drive Unlimited 2
|Test Drive Unlimited 2|
European cover art
Test Drive Unlimited 2 is an open world racing video game developed by Eden Games and published by Atari. It is the tenth installment of the Test Drive series, and the second after Test Drive Unlimited to be marketed under the Unlimited franchise. It is the second game in the series to be based on open world-styled gameplay. It was the final game released by Eden Games before being shut down by Atari in 2013.
Test Drive Unlimited 2 includes a variety of roads, sports cars, and bikes based on models from a handful of manufacturers; it also includes four wheel drive SUVs, a new feature for the series. The plot revolves around an unknown racer, who is offered the chance to enter a series of tournaments and, progressing through the game, to eventually become the winner of the fictional "Solar Crown Cup", by defeating a number of NPCs (non-player characters) in various racing events.
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There is a storyline in Test Drive Unlimited 2 for the player to follow. To progress through the game, the player has to earn experience points to level up through the sixty levels. These points can be earned via four categories: Competition (racing, completing challenges), Social (making friends in the game, racing against other people, joining clubs), Discovery (discovering all roads, taking photographs of specific locations, finding all car wrecks), and Collection (buying cars, houses, furniture, clothing/and other needs).
A new meter is F.R.I.M in freeroam. The player can earn a small amount of money depending on how the player drives. If the player is to drive at medium to high speed near another vehicle, he or she will get a small amount of cash, usually 100 dollars per 'pass'. The player can try to chain passes, and hit the 'accept' button to accept his/her cash, then start a new chain.
Exploring the island lets the player find vehicle wrecks, which will unlock vehicles at the dealerships on the islands. The player can walk around in their houses, vehicle shops and clubs.
The player's avatar can be altered slightly by changing hair, clothes, and facial features. Players can also buy houses in the game. Co-op also features in this game, where friends can be a passenger in the player's car until they decide to leave or the player decides to kick him out.
The unnamed main character is a driving valet for famous Solar Crown host Tess Wintory. Tess has been informed that one of the contestants of Solar Crown has withdrawn, so she gives the player the chance to take his place. After being introduced to the media, Tess takes the player to a used car dealership, where they purchase their first car. The three cars that the player can choose from are: a Lancia Delta Integrale Evoluzione, a Ford Mustang Fastback and a Lotus Esprit S3. All of these cars are in the class C4, which is the first race series the player can compete in.
After winning six championship races in Ibiza, two for each vehicle category, the player moves to Hawaii to compete in more difficult competitions.
The game is set upon two islands: Ibiza (an island in the Balearic Islands which belongs to Spain) and Oahu (one of the Hawaiian islands). Both islands have been modeled mostly accurately by using satellite data. Each island has both asphalt roads and off-road routes, translated to roughly two-thirds of all roads being asphalt roads, and the total amount of road exceeds 3,000 kilometers, or 1,864 miles. The racing of the game is pretty similar with the standard race types and three cups in the game (one in Ibiza and two on Oahu). The game AI is easier than in the original.
The islands have new challenges and races to earn extra cash, and the roads on Hawaii have been modified to make the location interesting again for those who played the previous game. Hawaii has also been renewed graphically to stay up to date for the new game, and each island features a 24-hour cycle and dynamic weather. The player can travel between the two islands by driving to the airport on one island, where a cutscene shows the character taking off as a passenger on a plane, and then flying to the next location on the other island. This air-commuting ability needs to be unlocked by reaching level 10 in the game. The airports have modeled interiors which, like car dealerships and other locations, allows online players to interact with other online players in the same location. With the release of the second DLC, the player also has the option to instantly change islands instead of entering the airport. However, they can still choose to enter the airport if the player desires to do so.
There are 176 vehicles in the game, which includes popular European sports cars such as the Bugatti Veyron and a select few classic cars such as the Ford Mustang Fastback, as well as some non-road-going cars such as the Ferrari FXX Evoluzione. Lamborghini does not make an appearance in the game this time, unlike in the previous games of the series (this is made up for in the appearance of Pagani and Alfa Romeo vehicles). Motorbikes can not be tuned or upgraded in this game, unlike in the previous offering of the series. A DLC pack featuring some extra cars and motorcycles has been released. Each motorcycle costs 80 Atari tokens, which cost real money.
Cars are split into three main categories each with their own subcategories: Classic (C), Off-road (B) and Asphalt (A). Classics are split into C4 and C3, Off-roads are split into B4 and B3, and Asphalts are split into A7 through A1.
Test Drive Unlimited 2 has a similar online mode to the previous game; free roam driving. During free roaming, up to eight players can join a session at the same time. The ability to walk is also present in the new racing lobby, homes and shops. When waiting for every player to be ready to race, cars of the other players can be examined. Also, players can be in the seat of another player's car to show or be shown different shortcuts.
Development and marketing
Test Drive Unlimited 2 features dynamic weather effects, day and night cycles, and slight cosmetic vehicle damage. The game takes place on the islands of Ibiza and Oahu. After reaching level 10, players will be able to return to Oahu which featured in the previous game. 3D capability was included with the 'Exploration Pack' free DLC.
Test Drive Unlimited 2 received mixed critical response on release. Critics complimented the open world environment, and criticized the great amount of bugs on the game, the character models, voice acting, story elements and vehicle handling. On Metacritic, the PC version of the game received an aggregate score of 72/100, the PlayStation 3 version a score of 70/100, and the Xbox 360 version a score of 68/100. On GameRankings, the PC version was the highest ranked. The PlayStation 3 version scored 70.04%, and the Xbox 360 version scored 68.30%. According to an Eden Games employee, as of May 2011 studio internal estimated sales for Test Drive Unlimited 2 were put at roughly 900,000 units sold.
Matthew Kato from Game Informer praised the game, awarding it 8.5 out of ten and complimenting the mixture of open-world and online interactions with the single-player competitions and the free roam, calling them a "cohesive experience". He finally stated that Test Drive Unlimited 2 "might be lacking in most critical areas, but this is one instance where the sheer quantity of features prevails since their structure is thoughtful enough to make this game more than just a lazy vacation."
Bryan Stratton from G4 praised the replacement of the motorbikes from the original game with four wheel drive SUVs, stating that it was "an excellent decision considering how broken the bike physics were." He also considered the game's plot to be "so insanely ridiculous that there’s no point in describing it." About the character models, he commented that they "seem like they stepped out of a first-generation PS2 game, and the words that come out of their poorly animated mouths make the barely localized games of the late 90’s sound like the complete works of Shakespeare." He gave the game a score of 4 out of 5, finally commenting that "for all of its hokey weirdness, there’s a strange charm about it that will keep you coming back for more."
Jane Douglas from GameSpot was less enthusiastic with the game, awarding it a score of 7 out of 10, complimenting the open world and online interactions as "attractive", but stating that, as a whole, the game "doesn't do any one thing better than a number of more specific, less expansive driving games." Oli Welsh from Eurogamer also gave the game a score of 7 out of 10. On his review, Welsh called Unlimited 2 a "fantastic escapism", complimenting the atmosphere and multi-player components. Otherwise, he criticized the theme, commenting that "for a game so obsessed with image and lifestyle, TDU2 is hilariously, if endearingly, uncool." He finally stated that "It's just a shame it sometimes needs to escape from itself."
Jon Denton from The Daily Telegraph gave the game a score of 7 out of 10, naming the game "another flawed gem" from Eden Games, and stating that "Test Drive Unlimited 2 teaches us that it’s not just the open world you create, but what you do within it that really forms its identity." William van Dijk Martín from Spanish website MeriStation gave the game a score of 7 out of 10. He concluded that Unlimited 2 can be called "virtual tourism", and commented that "don't expect anything better than the first TDU - It's the same, but with tons of meaningless social options."
Ryan Clements from IGN was disappointed with the game, awarding it a mixed 5.5 out of 10, and stating that "This open-world driving experience is riddled with problems and even the driving itself is far from perfect." He criticized the "ugly character models" and voice acting on the game, considering that it "will annoy at first and then grow to intolerable levels as they're repeated constantly." Rory Manion from GameSpy gave the game a score of 5 out of 10. She compared the title against other modern racers, stating that "Want exciting racing? Grab Need for Speed: Shift, or Burnout Paradise, or Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Want the best driving model? Gran Turismo. Best car customization? TDU2's piddly sticker shops don't hold a candle to Forza Motorsport 3."
Destin Legarie from Destructoid gave a negative review of the game, awarding it a score of 4 out of 10 and commented that Test Drive Unlimited 2 was "surrounded by a bug filled world, glitchy gameplay, and a core mechanic that doesn't function." Steve Butts from The Escapist also gave the game a 2 stars out of 5, calling the game "a wreck, burdened with a laughable economy, too much irrelevant content and weak multiplayer options." He also commented that the game "definitely has its moments", further concluding that he "can't deny the game's quirky charm."
At release, the game suffered from a series of bugs, particularly on PC, and the game still suffers from the same reoccurring bugs which rendered the game almost unplayable, and which prompted the studio to disable the multiplayer functionality due to connection and server issues. General issues included: server blackouts, repeatedly dropped connections, inability to add friends in-game, and many other advertised online features malfunctioning or not functioning at all. Several patches have been released to resolve the issues, as well as several free or fee-based downloadable content packages and individual items (i.e., new missions, cars). The initial download is free but the virtual vehicles carry a real-world cost in the form of in-game 'tokens' obtainable for real money. For the PC version of the game, the price was set at 80 Atari tokens each, and the smallest amount of 'Atari tokens' available for purchase is a bundle of 400 tokens for US$5.
There have been many bugs reported in the game, and across all gaming platforms for which the game was released. These include, but are not limited to: corrupted saved game files issue which ultimately forces the player to forfeit all accumulated in-game assets and current progress by having to start the game anew under a newly created profile. Also reported frequently are issues with the multiplayer functions, such as players being unable to connect to each other. These server issues also prevent anyone trying to start the game in "connected mode" or connected to Xbox Live or PSN. A patch has been released to fix some of these issues, including the activation of the Club feature, which was disabled to correct exploits in the system. On the same day the patch was released for the PC, Atari sent console patches to both Microsoft and Sony for approval.
On March 10, 2011, Atari had announced that save corruption fixes for the Xbox 360 and PS3 would go live on March 11, 2011. However, just as it was for the previous iteration of TDU, the patches never did seem to be fully successful in addressing the issues and fixing the glitches and bugs encountered by players.
As of October 8, 2012 players across all platforms are still reporting problems. Atari also stated that additional patches for both consoles would be available March 14, 2011. After the March 14, 2011 update, Xbox 360 users began to have network and server issues. The PlayStation 3 patch was released on March 17, 2011, giving access to MyTDULife and Clubs.
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