Review by Phaserbank

Reviewed: 04/11/07

Grand Turismo meets Need for Speed: An offline review of Test Drive Unlimited

Test Drive Unlimited (TD:U) is a sim like racer set in a massive open world. I have always wanted to see a Grand Turismo game played out in an open world concept. Test Drive Unlimited is the closest thing to it.

I am not an online player, so I can only review the single player offline mode.

GAMEPLAY

The Burnout series and Midnight Club series are considered arcade racing games. The Need for Speed series on the PS2 are considered sim-cade. The Grand Turismo series are considered sim like. TD:U is between Grand Turismo series and Need for Speed series, but more on the sim like side of things. The cars feel quite heavy, and we have to slow down quite a bit to make proper turns. There are 60 + cars in the PS2 version of TD:U and they all handle differently.

What I love about TD:U is that each car has its own cockpit view. We can swivel the camera around to look at the interior of the car even while driving. We can roll down the window and change the music on the fly. It really makes for a fun and fast driving experience.

The Island of Oahu, Hawaii is a massive Island with thousands of miles/kilometers of roads to drive on. There are no closed of tracks, but ever event is an open point to point event. Cruising is made fun when the police chase you for making mischief (there are no police in the races).

The Island consists of Car rental places, Dealerships, Homes (to store your cars), Realtors places to help you buy a home, paint shops, and places to tune your car.

There are several events in TD:U that total over 300 events. The main events are racing against 3 to 5 other CPU racers and sometimes in traffic (there are short races up to very long ones). There is also racing in clubs which is racing one on one in traffic. In each Club you can make your way to being president in that club. There also are time trials and speed trap challenges.

So, when you add these things together: Sim-like racing with a cockpit view added, in a massive open world, with many events and things to do, you get a great and long lasting game.

The downside to TD:U is that there is no crash damage or manual shifting.

GRAPHICS

The graphics are great for such a massive open world. The surrounding are not bad at all when you consider that this is a PS2 game and the world takes a good long time to get from one side of the island to the other.

The cars look quite good as well and have a good shine to them. There is no crash damage in TD:U, but instead we have the interior cockpit view which adds more depth to the graphics. The dashboards are a bit blurry, but we can see the speed odometer and RPM meter needles move when the cars are going faster.

When we rent a car or buy one we can study the interior, open the doors, roll down the windows and study the cars close up. For such a large world, that cars do look pretty good inside and out.

SOUND

The cars have their own sounds and upgrades will change their sounds as well.

The crashes sound great.

The music is a matter of taste, but at least there is a variety of different types of songs in their own categories that we can change on the fly.

LENGTH OF PLAY

There is so much to do and it takes some time to drive from place to place. The good news is that once we visit a place we can transport there quickly the next time we visit there. I have spent 31 hours so far playing and completed only 38% so far. I find TD:U very addicting.

WORTH BUYING?

Yes, if you like the concept of sim like racing in a massive open world, then this game is for you.

I rented it first, and decided to buy it.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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