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Test Drive Unlimited 2 Review

Test Drive Unlimited 2 Review

There have been plenty of driving games over the years, but none have probably been as ambitious as Eden Games' latest project, Test Drive Unlimited 2. Why is it ambitious? Because the entire premise is based around not just driving, but vast amounts of customisation and freedom - you can even undergo cosmetic surgery if you want. But too much freedom can be a deterrent if it isn't properly structured and that's where Test Drive Unlimited 2's ambition starts to be its downfall.

After starting off as nothing more than a rather bad valet, circumstance falls in your favour and you get recruited to be the eighth member in an elite racing tournament called Solar Crown. From here, you have to complete licences and compete in tournaments across Ibiza and Hawaii to try and win the Solar Crown. That's pretty much it. There are some cookie-cutter cutscenes along the way, which feature some small amounts of banter between your rivals, but they do little to make you actually care about your competitors or your own character.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 isn't about the story though, that's just an annoying part that needs to be there; much like the NPCs who constantly ring your mobile phone. They're either telling you that you really should get a make-over or that you shouldn't have wasted their time doing a licence if you weren't going to go and compete in the tournament. They also seem to call right when you're getting to an objective that you've set yourself, it's like they have some kind of sixth sense.

There are 22 different championships to compete in, but the type of driving differs greatly from tournament to tournament. And this is due to the game's real-time weather and day/night cycles, which means that even doing the same tournament again can feel like a vastly different experience - even when racing the same type of car.

Despite this, quite often the game limits itself and it ends up feeling like a bit of a chore - quite far from the "do anything, anytime" mantra. Early on, for example, you will have limited space in your garage, but you'll also have limited funds due to the restrictions on tournaments you can compete in. So, if you want to own more than two cars, you'll have to buy a new place, which, unless you're a shrewd investor, will leave you with little cash to buy the next car you actually need. Then there's the fact that if you want to just splash the cash to buy an Aston Martin before the game says you're supposed to, you end up with a car that's useful for speeding around the island, but has no practical purpose with regards to progression. You'll probably have to end up selling it so that you can afford the car you're supposed to have in order to compete in the next tournament you're supposed to undertake.

Either that or you do one of the various "event" missions, which task you with following an aggrieved lover, or getting someone from A to B quickly. Then there's also the very basic F.R.I.M.S system, which nets you small amounts of money for performing things like close over-taking, drifting or getting some air.

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