TweakTown
Tech content trusted by users in North America and around the world
5,670 Reviews & Articles | 36,048 News Posts

Test Drive Unlimited PC Review

The PC finally sees TDU after a few months of waiting, although Atari should have perhaps waited a little longer.

| Racing in Gaming | Posted: May 22, 2007 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 7.5%      Developer / Publisher: Eden Games

When you look at the progression of racing games over the past few years, particularly those in the more accessible 'arcade racer' genre, quite

 

a lot has improved - we've seen better graphics of course, some online enhancements here and there, and a very strong movement towards making the

 

gameplay open to user choice and customization in an almost 'sandbox' style. Despite the reasonable degree of competition out there, only one racer in

 

recent memory really managed to capture all three
of these focus points very well, and this was Test Drive Unlimited for the Xbox 360. Now finally seeing its release on the PC, TDU once again impresses,

 

although not without a few hiccups along the way.


For those who haven't played the XB360 version yet, TDU is all about choice - it's up to the gamer to decide which character to start with,

 

which activities to undertake, which cars to buy, which house/garage to [img]tdu_pc_1[/img]put them in and so on. To do all this, gamers must access car dealerships, races (and other competitions), real estate

 

agents etc in the actual environment, which means driving to locations. Once a location has been driven to, then it is instantly accessible via the game's

 

main map - this
includes any strip of road you have driven over as well. In effect, the world in TDU acts as the mode menu.


This system is not new to arcade racers, but the degree in which TDU delivers it is. This can be mainly attributed to the fact the "actual

 

environment" you're driving in just happens to be an entire Island - the "Big Isle" of Hawaii to be precise. We're not talking a small representation of a city's CBD

 

here, we're talking the entire big Island of Hawaii - and then some. The in game representation is a true 1:1 scale, meaning the distance from point A to B in

 

real life is the same in the game. Not only this, but
the entire Island is open for exploration from the moment the game's quick introductory period is over, and while the available competitions and services

 

will expand as you progress, there is never a point in the game when you feel restricted by the options available to you - hell, there's never really a point

 

in time in this game where you feel restricted at all, as you can even drive through the forest areas if your car/bike is up to it - there are no

 

invisible walls here folks.


To guide you in this awesome virtual version of Hawaii, TDU incorporates a powerful GPS system complete with a female voice for verbal directions, which

 

you utilize by setting points to go to on the map so it can calculate the shortest distance (following correct road lane ways). This is a pretty cool system

 

although somewhat annoying once you [img]tdu_pc_2[/img]start driving

 

the really fast cars as it is often too late in its directions, forcing you to keep an eye on the small mini-map down the bottom left for any up coming
sharp corners. As you can imagine, this becomes quite difficult to juggle when your blasting through heavy traffic at top speed, but you get the hang of it.

 

Speaking of traffic and top speed, should you ever run into a civilian car, a cop is never too far behind ready to issue you a fine, although naturally you

 

can try and out run them.


Like the world in which Hawaii itself resides, TDU revolves around the all mighty dollar for just about everything - you gain money for completing

 

most mission types (but not all), and you spend it to expand your car and bike collection, as well as your real estate portfolio. The amount of houses and

 

apartments you own means you have more garage space for your motor collection to occupy, which is extremely important to the point of necessity as TDU is not

 

a game where one car can do it all. This is thanks
to the game's "class" system.


The class system is basically a way to categorize the 90 officially licensed cars and bikes in the game based on performance. For example, the Enzo

 

Ferrari and McLaren F1 are considered to be "Class A" cars and as such, any race or competition can require only "Class A" cars be used.

 

The same can be said for any class, which goes from A to G for cars and mA to mB for bikes. Perhaps the coolest part about the classes in TDU is their depth

 

- even notable differences can be had between
cars in the same class let alone across classes, and further more, upgrade kits can be purchased to further refine your rides in each class providing

 

you've managed to locate the appropriate shop for any given car. It would have been nice to see a tad more customization options, but

 

this isn't really an underground street racer game - it's more about taking cars that are already high performance or at least highly desirable and racing

 

them.


The amount of competitions types on offer are not staggering but they do offer a varied experience. You naturally have your traditional races against

 

other cars and solo time trials against present gold, silver and bronze times, but also included in TDU are "top speed" races which require you to

 

hit a certain speed in a set period of time in a certain location, and "speed average" races which requires you to average a certain speed

 

measured across a handful of speed cameras in key
locations. On top of these, you will also find plenty of vehicle transport missions tasking you with safely driving a car from point A to B, courier missions

 

for delivering packages, hitchhiker missions requiring to do exactly what it sounds like, and "model" missions which tasks you with playing taxi

 

for an occasionally picky model fresh from her day shopping.


Unfortunately, while the types of racing do offer varied gameplay from an arcade racer standpoint, there are a few distinct problems. First of all,

 

some are very easy to exploit - for example, the races which require you to hit a certain speed often place you in an undesirable location to do it, such as

 

on the wrong side of a sectioned highway with hairpins up ahead. To get around this, all you have to do is turn your car around and find an easier strip in

 

the often ample time period given. Another issue
somewhat related is easily exploited missions like these are even sillier considering you can do them over and over again an unlimited amount of times,

 

collecting the top prize money each time. This isn't a huge issue but it can make the in-game currency seem somewhat pointless as you could technically rack

 

up enough money to buy everything before even touching the more advanced races.

However, the real problem with the racing modes on offer in TDU is simply

 

this - the CPU AI are just so damn easy to beat.
I thought maybe the game was being easy on me initially to get me going, but it became evident after I got far enough in the game to complete my first A to G car collection

 

that the CPU drivers are just slow arsed pussies, often braking at the sign of even the slightest corner, and often taking each other out after doing so

 

anyway. At times you may get a glimpse of a challenge from them, but a quick stop to the relevant tuning shop to obtain the next upgrade will almost always

 

take care of that. The races which have a time
limit can be challenging, but the races which require you to simply finish 1st against CPU driven cars are down right

 

easy.

 

[img]tdu_pc_3[/img][img]tdu_pc_4[/img]

Logitech G25 Wheel

 

Further Reading: Read and find more Gaming content at our Gaming reviews, guides and articles index page.

Do you get our RSS feed? Get It!

Post a Comment about this content

Latest Tech News Posts

View More News Posts

Latest Downloads

View More Latest Downloads

TweakTown Web Poll

Question: Did EA kill the Battlefield franchise with the terrible BF4 issues?

Yes, Battlefield is doomed

No, Battlefield will live on strong

I'm not sure, but I know EA needs to improve its game

or View the Results

View More Polls

Forum Activity

View More Forum Posts

Press Releases

View More Press Releases
Get TweakTown updates via Facebook!
Just click the "Like" button below