Test Drive Unlimited
In the past racing games have focused only on the actual race and upgrading or buying new cars. Now Test Drive Unlimited doesn't deviate from that formula but it does add an interesting twist to the pure racing games we've seen in the past. Test Drive Unlimited takes the basic format, adds a little of the Sims, sprinkles a little Grand Theft Auto, throws in a dash of Google Earth and we get' Well judge for yourself.
The premise for Test Drive Unlimited is set around flying to the Hawaiian island of Oahu to take advantage of the lifestyle, sun, and of course racing. When you arrive on the island a couple of things become clear. First, the Sims aspect comes into play as you select a house to buy and move in. As you win races around Oahu and your winnings increase, you can sell and purchase new homes and cars, but also make changes to your wardrobe and appearance. That leads to the next aspect which is the ability to roam around Oahu at will. We of course have seen this before but in this case the entire island of Oahu is accurately mapped in detail which adds an extra flare to roaming the island. As an extra bonus, the map view of the island is done with an approach similar to Google Earth. It gives an excellent feel for the size of the island and gives the game a strong sense of realism.
Test Drive Unlimited definitely sets this game up well, but the ultimate success of it depends of the gameplay. The good news is that the gameplay is solid with only a few bumps in the road. Most of the gameplay will meet your expectations. Aspects such as the control of the different cars which are rewarding to drive, the different cars handling noticeably, well different, and the AI reacting to your movements all gives the races some flare. Probably the most notable deficiency is it's hard to get a sense of the speed you're driving at. Whether you're going 40 mph or 90 mph, it was hard to really tell a prominent difference.
The video and audio aren't going to take you places you haven't been before. The video does justice for next-gen expectations with detailed cars and beautifully rendered environments on Oahu but the audio is slightly lacking as it misses the mark on realistic sound effects.
Overall, Test Drive Unlimited racing fans will more then get their money out of this game. It flows well, plays well, and has high replay value.
Download Test Drive Unlimited
Screw island fever get behind the wheel (or handlebars) of more than 125 customizable licensed vehicles and enjoy 1,000-plus miles of pavement in sunny Oahu, Hawaii. Keep your 360 online and you'll find competitors popping up all over this free-driving vacation destination.
In the world of Ridge Racer, Gran Turismo, and Need for Speed, the Test Drive series has always played fourth fiddle. Unlimited, set across an open-ended Hawaii, tries to change that hierarchy, but it still feels like we've been there and done that. It's possible that the online action could add some much-needed character.