by Brandon Waldenberg
previewed on PC
A Racing Game with a MMO Twist
Beaches, cars, and mansions, Test Drive Unlimited 2 is racing to consoles with new innovation for the racing genre. The original developers, Eden Games, have returned to fine tune their racing series, promising more features than ever before. Taking a note from the various massive multiplayer games that are dominating the market, Test Drive Unlimited 2 hopes to allow players the kind of customization that has yet to be seen in racing games. Stunning new features, exotic cars, and a fully realized new location show that Eden Games is pushing hard to compete in the already packed racing genre.
While Test Drive Unlimited was an ambitious take on the racing genre, the sequel strives to refine what Eden Games was pursuing. First and foremost they boast the most customizable racing experience on the market, no small feat considering Test Drive’s other, more entrenched, competitors. Not only will there be a wide selection of cars, but players will also have the opportunity to customize their avatar, clothing and even their luxurious homes. Eden wants players to make a completely unique racer and to bring the kind of persistent, progressive customization that the MMO genre has been enjoying for years. Not only will your car represent you in this massive online game, but your racer and house will as well. This extensive customization will also be an important part of the games story line.
An Island in the Sun
Another interesting part of Test Drive Unlimited 2 will be a “rags to riches” story, told from the player’s perspective. The publisher, Atari, has revealed that the game will feature character progression, an exciting narrative, and immersive cut scenes. In addition to a new story for players to enjoy, the game’s locale has moved to a new sunny location. Players will be able to explore the beautiful beaches of Ibiza, cruising at fast speeds through the islands many locations and roads. Just like Hawaii in Test Drive, Eden has really worked to bring the full location to the player. Using real topographical information Test Drive Unlimited 2 has a number of the island’s towns brought to life for players to race through and socialize in. The road networks throughout the game have been recreated faithfully too, so players will have plenty of pavement to tear up.
In addition to the exotic island of Ibiza, Eden has also retooled the original island of Hawaii to be included with this game. So not only has Eden tackled an entire new locale for players to cruise through, but also included the entire first games location, revved up for this new installment. An ambitious effort on their part, players will definitely benefit from the over two thousand miles of laid asphalt to explore. Not only that, but Eden Games wanted full exploration of the islands, so players will be able to get out of their cars to fully discover the games extensive interior environments. Locations that players run into can be great places to socialize and kick back with friends or just wait for the next race. You can even peruse dealerships with a friend online. The first person avatar view allows players to really see the game’s details up close.
Sunrises and Sunsets
At its core, Test Drive Unlimited 2 embraces its massive multiplayer aspect. Whether strolling through a friend’s luxurious mansion or meeting up before a race, Test Drive Unlimited 2 wants to make an immersive multiplayer experience. A second player can even jump in the car with you for joy riding around Ibiza. A new racing club feature allows players to become members of clubs and gain access to exclusive locations where players can meet to socialize or set up races. We have even seen a yacht that allows players to bring their cars onto the deck with cargo elevators, so you can truly take in the amazing graphics that are sure to come as you watch the sun set on the ocean. Eden games have added a variety of new features like this to fully bring Test Drive Unlimited 2 to fruition.
A day/night cycle allows players to watch the gorgeous sun set as they race through Ibiza or watch the sun rise from their luxurious mansions. Eden wants players to really feel like they are part of the island and the online community so they have put considerable effort into making the game as persistent and immersive as possible. They have even added weather effects, so racing on the same track could be a completely different experience than it was before. Cars will also reflect damage they have sustained during races, so watch out for that exotic new sports car you just bought! These are just a few of the features that Eden has introduced to really kick the Test Drive franchise into next gear.
Test Drive Unlimited 2 is shaping up to be a real contender in the racing genre. Eden is developing a game that will take racing into the massive multiplayer genre, allowing extensive customization and deep immersion. While opening up the game more for socialization and multiplayer, the game will also feature a better single player game with an exciting story to keep players coming back for more. With all of this and two giant islands to explore and race through, Test Drive Unlimited 2 will give players plenty of content to play through. Eden is taking chances with this new game, and hopefully it will pay off.