developer: Eden Games
publisher: Atari / Infogrames
Game mode: single / multiplayer
Multiplayer mode: local network / Internet
The Test Drive series, which was initiated back in 1987, has a myriad of installments that have been changing its image throughout the years. Test Drive Unlimited is the first one which was developed with Xbox 360 in mind, as well, and contains most changes in relation to its predecessors, making it much different from standard racing games.
The first change that players will encounter upon launching the game is the possibility of choosing a so-called avatar, which is the image of a driver. It happens on an airport where the fun starts. Moreover, in the game, we visit stores and buy clothes that make us different from other Test Drive Unlimited users in online gameplay. It is worth mentioning that clothes are bought for coupons won for giving rides to hitchhikers. Some apparels are branded by real designers’’ names, such as Mar Ecko, and some can be downloaded via an user-friendly service. Another significant change is conserved with race participation. Every player receives his own house with a garage that constitutes a base of operations for all activities. Our home lets us to, for example, receive external e-mail, browse a constantly-updated information bulletin on new cars and races, and using an eBay-like internet auction system where other users put their vehicles up for sale. The game’s publisher, Atari, also made sure that players have the possibility of downloading new cars from the Internet. Their number depends on the amount of licenses given to Atari by actual car manufacturers.
Once ready to head out in the streets, players are taken to the garage which serves not only decorative purposes but also allows them to mount expensive interior equipment into their vehicles. A player can also inspect cars and look at it at every angle, open doors, and admire the upholstery. If we take into account that the game features 90 luxury cars and motorcycles by default, Test Drive Unlimited for PC, PSP and etc. is not only an entertainment product but also an interactive car catalogue.
As far as racing tracks are concerned, the programmers at Atari decided to turn to the benefits of the nature. The competition takes place at a Hawaiian island of Oahu, where there is over a thousand miles of roads and highways, faithfully recreated on the basis of satellite pictures.
Thanks to the online gaming feature, thousands of players can participate in competition at the same time, which brings Test Drive Unlimited for PC, PSP and etc. closer to the MMO genre. The players can challenge other users and the money made in this way can be spent on car enhancements or buying a more spacious house. Another highlight of the product is the possibility of custom track generation within the island by setting the starting and ending points, as well as the checkpoints that have to be scored in every race. Creative and demanding users of Test Drive Unlimited will also be able to design races that can last for three hours of real time (over 50 rules and settings to choose from).
Awesome graphics, stunning audio, and brilliant physics model can be appreciated by every arcade racing games fan. Test Drive Unlimited for PC, PSP and etc. is a spectacular title in its every aspect, and the introduction of numerous revolutionary solutions guarantees an exciting experience.
Microsoft Xbox 360
Uses: steering wheel, Xbox Live
PC / Windows
Recommended: Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, 1 GB RAM, graphic card 256MB (GeForce 6600GT or better), 8 GB HDD, Windows 2000/XP
Sony PlayStation 2
Uses: memory card 8 MB, steering wheel, Network Adaptor
Uses: memory card 32 MB