Test Drive Unlimited 2 Xbox 360 Review
It’s a shame that these problems detract from the experience of the game, which is based on the solid, if overused, premise of a rookie driver grinding his way up through the ranks of the racing world. You compete in the Solar Crown championship - a competition that seems to be so popular in Ibiza that it has free rein to close main motorways for the sake of a 60-second time trial run.
Progress in the Solar Crown is secured by competing in small mini-championships of about six or eight events, and it's here that the game’s strength lies, as there's a large amount of variation between the events. The game still seems to want to hide this strength, though, as every event is prefaced by excessively long glory shots of the car you’re driving, which makes restarting a frustrating affair if you make an error .
As you play on, you get the impression that Test Drive Unlimited 2 can’t quite decide what kind of game it wants to be. Some parts want you to take them seriously. For example, you need to earn licences to compete in certain events, and you’ll be penalised with time penalties for going off road in others.
It's difficult to know which is worse - the voice acting or the script
Other parts of the game, however, stray further towards the Burnout franchise, with cash rewards for buzzing past oncoming traffic and getting air off jumps. Indeed, it occasionally seems that the game tries to do too much; there's even a bunch of side-missions that revolve around baiting the police and getting chased by them.
In what seems like a completely superfluous addition to the game, you also have a house which you can drive to and walk around. Don’t count on this adding much, though, as all you can do is move around and change your character's clothes.
In fact, this ‘feature’ simply provides yet more frustration, as the number of cars you can own is limited by the size of your garage. At one point we were forced to buy a new car for an event, but were told our garage was full to buy it. As we didn’t want to sell any of the cars currently in our garage, we actually had to drive to an estate agent and purchase a home with a bigger garage just to have the room for the new car. Then, having blown all the money we’d been saving for the car on a new house, we had to go out and grind for another half hour to recoup the cash and purchase the car.
The car interiors are accurately modeled, you can even chose what type of leather you'd like to be sitting on
If any more evidence was needed to show that Test Drive Unlimited 2 is barely fit for launch, then you could simply point to the multiplayer aspect of the game. The idea is great in theory; there are no lobbies or menus, you simply drive around the island looking for other
players to race. In practice, however, this is as flawed as the singleplayer mode, with various connection issues plaguing online play.
Developer Eden Studios is said to be hard at work on a fix to the connection issues, but in all honesty we’d be surprised if anyone was still around to experience the ‘fixed’ version of the game.
Test Drive Unlimited 2 looks good on paper but what has been released feels like a beta due to its appalling lack of polish. Part gritty street racer, part racing simulator and part racing MMO, it fails to deliver a focused or compelling experience. Expect to see your local games store trade-in bin filled with copies of Test Drive Unlimited 2 over the coming months.