Test Drive Unlimited

TestDriveUnlimitedIf you’re looking for MOOR (Massively Open Online Racer) in a racing game, you’ll find Atari’s Test Drive Unlimited a satisfying experience even without some features present in the previous, initial XBox 360 release.

Set in the Hawaiian islands, Test Drive Unlimited features great cars including the Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Ducati, Mercedes, Saleen, Shelby, and Jaguar. The handy GPS system makes getting lost fun because players can easily find their way back to challenges and hot spots.

Drivers move up the ranks, ranging from rookie to master, by acquiring Master Points. It takes one million to become a master, but there’s still plenty of option even if status chasing isn’t part of your gameplay. Players have decent variety and upgrades, which can’t be changed once chosen, so choose wisely.

In this game, the police don’t exist online so you can get well acquainted with other drivers provided you have a broadband internet connection and create an account…you know, the normal stuff. You can even lock in certain players or create friends list (they must accept your invitation.)

Other players join in the challenge too, so you might want to plan/ask permission before you yank them out of their own experience. Sessions can have up to eight players. Create your own controlled session by taking players out before starting and controlling who comes in. Start challenges yourself by double tapping your headlights at them (L2, L2…if they don’t possibly move out of the way first).

The roleplaying elements enhance this strength more as players choose from 34 different driving clubs and drive in hubs for online players. The useful map mode allows pin point targeting by pressing the triangle button, then the always useful and rarely annoying GPS can guide you to the target spot. After a long day of driving players can relax (or regroup) at their house, which can hold as many as 10 cars at the top level. You also rent cars.

The driving aspect is strong especially for beginning and casual drivers. Stunts like drifting are easy…there’s no damage to your car no matter what you do (even head on collisions), but you get occasionally caught up in environmental objects that normally wouldn’t stop a speeding car. Players get a great sense of speed and control with a wide variety of authentic cars strengthened by realistic features. Utilize the various views, especially the cockpit view, for even more unique experiences.

Players can spend the time acquiring points and mastering all the options/game modes OR just experience whatever they want while learning bit and pieces. It’s pretty close to the best of both worlds. An ideal title for fun exploration thanks to the easy navigation, GPS assistance and wealth of racing choices. Low load times rev up the action even more. Rated E+10 for language and mild violence.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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