The Test Drive video game series has been known for its vast worlds and realistic handling of racing mechanics. The 10th game in the series, Test Drive Unlimited 2 (TDU2), takes all of the aspects that make the Test Drive series fun and expands upon it.
TDU2 is an excellent direct sequel to the 2006 game, Test Drive Unlimited. The game play of TDU2 is very similar and almost identical to the first one. The setting takes place on the island of Ibiza, off the coast of Valencia, Spain. The layout of the map is similar to the first game, which features many different cities to explore as well as new places to visit.
The main story starts out with you at your birthday party receiving a new Ferrari from your friends. Sadly, you wake up from this dream and remember your job as a valet working at a hotel. Through a series of events, the hotel manager fires you, and you get offered a spot in a racing championship. It all begins from there. You’ll meet all sorts of people who will let you acquire the proper licenses and cars in order to race against the popular racers on Ibiza.
Once you’ve progressed enough in the story, the player will then be able to travel to Hawaii, more specifically Maui, where the first TDU took place, in order to play in an updated version of the first game’s map. Here, you can re-explore the area of the first game but in a different, newer type of environment. There is a large number of cars to choose from. Many models such as mainstream Mercedes, classic Jaguars or newer Bugattis are all available for purchase at one of the many car dealerships on the island.
One of the biggest changes from the first TDU is that you can actually roam around inside of the shops as your own character, an in-game figure you can customize to look just like you at your house. You can talk to people inside the different shops you go into once you want to purchase something or obtain information.
Also implemented is a leveling system. There are a total of 60 levels for you to achieve which are separated into four categories that range from exploration tasks to racing completion. There are 15 levels in each of these categories. Another new feature is the Free Roam Instant Money system (FRIM). The FRIM system works by awarding you money whenever you pull stunts such as drifting or getting air off jumps.
Each level increments the amounts of money you receive. Once you reach the next level, you have a few seconds to press the A button to bank the money and start over, or you can try for the next level. However, once you hit something along the road, such as a car or a barrier, you’ll lose everything and will have to start over.
As with the first TDU, you can free-roam as much as you want. There are police around so watch out for how reckless you are or you’ll end up with traffic violations. The way the police work in the game is slightly different from the first TDU.
Instead of accumulating up to three badges indicating wanted level, you accumulate traffic violations.
The online element in the game allows you to race against friends, create challenges to lay around the map, or even see the online players free-roaming around you at the same time as you do.
There are some things about this game that might turn you off. The first problem is the game is a little easy. While the driving is realistic, the cars you get are just way too advanced for the types of races you participate in which makes winning a pretty simple challenge.
Another is the absolutely terrible voice acting in the game. During the story mode, you’ll meet a lot of people who engage in terrible dialogue that will turn you off to the cut scenes. Get past these and you’ll be fine.
This is a great driving sandbox racing game and for those who are fans of games like the first TDU as well as Need for Speed or Project Gotham.