Test Drive Unlimited 2
|Test Drive Unlimited 2|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
Test Drive Unlimited 2 includes a variety of roads on the island of Oahu, which returns from the first game, and the new island Ibiza. The game features three main vehicle categories, with each vehicle also belonging to a subcategory depending on quality - A for asphalt cars (A7 to A1), B for Off-road vehicles (B4 to B2), which is a new feature in TDU2, and C for classic cars (C4 to C1) with an additional M category for motorcycles. The vehicle subcategory is noted in the form of a number; the lower the number, the higher the quality. The plot revolves around an unknown racer, who is offered the chance to enter a series of tournaments and progresses through the game in order to eventually become the winner of the Solar Crown by defeating a number of NPCs (non-player characters) in various races.
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Whilst attending their birthday party in Cala de Sant Vicent, Ibiza, the Player encounters Tess Wintory, host of Solar Crown, an international racing championship. Tess takes the Player to her garage, where she allows them to drive her Ferrari California. Shortly after driving from the party, the Player awakes and it is revealed they are a poor valet driver for Wintory. Tess berates the Player for arriving late. She considers firing them, but has second thoughts, and asks them to escort her to the Sant Antoni de Portmany club, in exchange for entering them in the Solar Crown. On the way to the club, Tess explains one of the racers withdrew, leaving an open position for the Player.
At the club, Tess introduces the Player to the viewers of Solar Crown. She explains how they need to gain racing licenses in order to legally partake in the challenges. She introduces the Player to Todd Bishop, a driving instructor, who takes them to a used car dealership. There, the Player chooses a car, and Todd takes them to a run-down caravan, which becomes the Player's house.
Throughout the game, the Player can buy houses, cars and clothes from dealers around the island. After obtaining a licence, the Player can participate in all challenges for the given class. Once the player wins all the championships, they become the victor of Solar Crown.
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.
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.
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."
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."
Matthew Kato from Game Informer praised the game, awarding it 8.5 out of 10 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."
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."
Rory Manion from GameSpy gave the game a score of 2.5 out of 5 stars. 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."
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 did not like 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."
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."
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 PlayStation Network. 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 10 March 2011, Atari had announced that save corruption fixes for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 would go live on 11 March 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 8 October 2012, players across all platforms are still reporting problems. Atari also stated that additional patches for both consoles would be available 14 March 2011. After the 14 March 2011 update, Xbox 360 users began to have network and server issues. The PlayStation 3 patch was released on 17 March 2011, giving access to MyTDULife and Clubs.
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- Kato, Matthew (1 February 2011). "Drive Into a Virtual Paradise". Game Informer. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
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