Gamer Mania 2

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Test Drive Unlimited Review

So back in I dunno what month, I think June, I previewed a game called Test Drive Unlimited that looked uber sweet. Well then came the demo, which was uber crap. The second demo got me back interested.. and now I'm gonna tell you if the final game went crappy or went uber sweet!

So first is the good as usual, this game has a nice bit of it. The absolute coolest thing about this game isn't the online stuff, it's the gigantic 1,000 mile island of Hawaii you can cruise about. You can go up volcanoes, you can go along winding country roads, through cities, down awesome 10 lane highways, whatever you want is pretty much there. Also you can get something like 125 cars and motorcycles, which are all good and cool, but there are some odd missing ones like BMW and there are like 10 bikes, that's it. But aside from that the car selection is VERY pimpin.. even though there are no Hummers.

The other really big plus to this game is just the way it's built, how you drive around and unlock races as you advance in ranks, which go up as you get achievements. Seeing all of the on and off ramps in a game entwined and knowing you can go on any one you want is very cool for me at least, but that has to do with my liking of architecture I'm sure. The GPS system you use to get around is very cool, because when you open it it actually zooms out of your car and goes up into the air to a map, and then it zooms back down to your car from the air. The woman voice that tells you where to go is kind of annoying though, I would have much preferred Elmo's furry voice. There're also houses in this game, which are cool aside from the fact that each one holds certain cars so you have to go around and find the right one if you're looking for a certain car. So that's pretty good..

What else.. erm well, it has a very good amount of events at least offline. I think there are 120 races and over 100 mission things. While I'm on that subject.. there are only regular races, eliminators, and time trials, which kind of sucks but the track variety will keep you interested. There also be them missions I been talking about back when, there are basically transport where you take people around, car transport, where you have to bring a car from A to B without damaging it, and package transport, which is pretty much like car transport with a time limit. They're ok, but the races are much better.

The last thing to talk about on the good side of things would be audio and video. The graphics are incredible for the racing cars, at times it's hard to tell if it's a real car or not. But in everything else, it seems like they dropped the quality tenfold. The buildings are just blocks, the normal cars look like total and absolute crap, and the trees are just 2D. Meh! It seems like they worked on the cars and took the rest of the stuff out of Mario Kart 64 or something.. And the audio, well there are a couple of different radio stations that would be good if you could hear them. To even tell there's music playing you have to mod around with the sound options and turn the main TV volume up, and then when you go back to TV everything'll be super loud.

So that's about all I can say for the good/semi-good... Now it's time for the ZOMG that's horrible. First of the multiplayer, it's very hard to believe the game was based around this. The servers are down daily, some of the features don't work at all, and you can only see 16 people on the map at any given time. Sorry but this is an MMO? Nope, an MMO would have hundreds and hundreds at least on the map at a time, if not on screen. Also there are only certain races you can do online, and they're laggy too, which really does suck. There are certain things they did right though, like the instant challenge and the Drive-In (you can design time trials and put up rewards for people to do them).

The other bad thing that I haven't already mentioned over the course of the review is that the handling leaves a bit to be desired, the cars all handle pretty alike no matter what the make or model, just the class changes it. And the handling that's there isn't very smooth.. it feels funky. Lastish I just want to say the police are the most annoying thing ever, they always say the same thing on the radio and once you're in a pursuit they'll just start randomly popping up after you get away from the last one, so it's very hard to get away.

So TDU is a good game, but leaves a lot to hope for mostly in the multiplayer, but also the graphics and other departments. Even with all of that though, it gets 3.5 hula skirts out of 5. Buy it at $40 (you'll get quite a lot of time out of it before you're bored), then sell it back a month or two later for $20.


  • No real thread to tie together any of what you're doing on the island • Some ugly issues diminish the overall graphical quality..

    By Anonymous r4i card, at 11:55 PM  

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