Thursday, April 29

Test Drive Unlimited 2 First Look

With a lovely Mediterranean locale and some extremely exotic cars to drive, Test Drive Unlimited 2 has the potential to be the next great multiplayer racer. Continue on for more!

Test Drive Unlimited 2 is set on the island of Ibiza. The developers at Eden Studios used actual topographic information to design the environment and recreated a number of the island's towns in detail. All the road networks are designed to be as true to life as possible, so players will feel like they're really racing on Ibiza itself. The island has a full day/night cycle (and weather effects!) which spans approximately two hours, so players will be driving their cars of choice through rainy nights and brilliant sunsets.

But like the first Test Drive Unlimited, this sequel isn't just about racing. Test Drive Unlimited 2 is designed to celebrate a luxury lifestyle in a number of ways, from expensive cars to lavish homes. The game tells a "rags to riches" story, so players will be earning money to purchase new items, be it clothing or new cars. It's great to see a racing game that pays attention to elements outside of traditional races, as a lot of care has gone into designing the game's interior environments. These environments are feasible because Test Drive Unlimited 2 allows players to walk around the game world with their avatar in first-person. More importantly, almost any location in-game is also a location where other players can meet up and socialize.

This multiplayer functionality is an absolutely crucial part of the Test Drive Unlimited 2 formula. Players can walk around each other's homes and even peruse car dealerships together. A full set of emotes has been built into Test Drive Unlimited 2 and the game will obviously support voice chat for those with headsets available. I was impressed that players shopping for new cars will even be able to climb inside a potential purchase with another player in the passenger seat. Friends can discuss the interior and admire the intricate detail Eden Studios put into rendering the leather stitching, dash boards, and the countless dials that come with cars of high class.

Although the obvious appeal of Test Drive Unlimited 2 will come from racing against the competition, you'll be able to invite other players into your car for joy rides, which sounds like a fantastic feature if you want someone to give you directions to a particularly charming spot or good road to race on. Little touches like these definitely enhance the game's multiplayer support.

If you're interested in plain ol' racing, there's also plenty of that to do in this game. Players can create their own challenges and put up personal funds as the reward for completion, or they can bet on races and instantly challenge another player in the area. Of course, this multiplayer support is made even more robust with the return of racing clubs, which was a feature in the previous game. Adrenaline junkies will be able to form clubs and purchase swank club houses to meet in which even come with their own exclusive club cars. Rival clubs will be able to participate in club challenges or clubs can compete internally to see who's the best and brightest driver of the group.

All these online mechanics would be great on their own, but there's a full suite of options for those more interested in their own car collection. Players will be able to tweak their rides with custom paint jobs, decals, rims and more, and they also have full creative control over their avatar's appearance. Remember, Test Drive Unlimited 2 is all about living the luxurious life, so don't be afraid to spend money on that vacation home in Hawaii.

Yes, Hawaii returns in Test Drive Unlimited 2. The entire island is fully traversable and has been modified to keep the locale fresh for players that sunk time into the original game. I was amazed that the developers would take the time to build a whole new island and then include a reworked version of the original game world as well. Talk about an ample supply of content...

Unfortunately, the demonstration of Test Drive Unlimited 2 was entirely hands-off, so I couldn't play. But from the looks of things, the game was already running smoothly (even in its early state) and the car models were slick. My only concern was the actual handling of the cars, because they looked to be a little stiff when the developers were playing. There's no way for me to know for sure, of course, so I'll just have to reserve my judgment for when I can play the game for myself.

It's worth noting that the demonstration ended with a hot tub party on a massive yacht. Amazingly, one of the homes players will be able to purchase is an actual yacht that cars can drive onto and take elevators up to the deck. As the camera pulled back to reveal the setting sun, the Eden Studios representative presenting the game concluded with my favorite sizzler line of all: "with Test Drive, the possibilities are Unlimited... 2." Epic win!

Test Drive Unlimited 2 is scheduled to launch this fall for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. And according to the developers, there's plenty more to come.


  1. Now this game looks badass. Deus knows how big I'm into this day to night stuff. And now with the all new Hot Tub Time Machine, the sky's the limit


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