One genre that the original Xbox seemed to do pretty well on was racing games. For whatever reason the console had a great run of racing games that satisfied any racing fan. So it was no surprise with the Xbox 360 to start and see the same sort of results. Today we are checking out yet another racing game on the Xbox 360, this one from the long running Test Drive series. So how does the first outing for the popular Test Drive series end up turning out? Read our full review of Test Drive Unlimited for the Xbox 360 to find out!
The Test Drive series is one of those series that hasn’t been a front running in the racing category, but it has always been a game that people have been able to just sit back and enjoy. This is definitely not the same Test Drive experience that we have seen in the past, as this is what the developers have called a Massive Multiplayer Online Racing Game where you can seamlessly play online and offline. So how does this very ambitious racing game do?
Test Drive Unlimited uses the island of Oahu as its map, and let me tell you this is a very impressive interpretation of the island. The developers have spent a lot of their time mapping out the great island of Oahu, and for those who have been to the island I think you will instantly recognize a lot of the great scenery spots of the great island. The developers did a fantastic job of recreating this island, and although at first you will not be all that amazed with the island as you begin to drive around and take it all in, there is a lot to be satisfied with in terms of the design and usability of the island.
Like I mentioned this game is an online game with the ability to race both online and offline. Right when you get into the game, you will placed onto a server where you can drive around and see others driving around from all over the world. You can then choose to race in online or offline races, depending on what type of race you feel like doing. Also you can decide to race around and just challenge others to just race. Not only that but you can literally design your own races on the island, and this makes for literally an unlimited amount of courses.
The big draw in the past for the Test Drive series has been the amount of high class vehicles that you get to choose from. Test Drive Unlimited is no exception of this, as there are just tons of the premiere vehicles around the world are all placed into this game. Not that I did not say cars, because there are motorcycles in the game, which is a nice addition to have as well. The amount of cars is great, but the differences between them isn’t as significant. Most of the cars end up feeling extremely similar and don’t have as big of a gap as you would expect. Not only that, but the motorcycles have some of the worst handling I have seen, and you just get the feeling that the developers did not have the time to get the mechanics of the motorcycle to feel accurate.
In the end, Test Drive Unlimited makes some serious strides to improve the MMOR genre, and proves that it is quite possible to make it happen on the consoles. I have to say although mechanically Test Drive Unlimited is not perfect, the online element of the game literally makes up for its shortcomings. When you get into this game and start unlocking some of the nicer cars, you will find that racing online is smooth, fun, and just a real great experience. More than anything you have to hand it to the developers for going for a newer style experience that is just extremely enjoyable.
Visually the developers did an extremely great job of recreating the great island of Oahu, which just really helps the realistic flow of the game. It is however unfortunate that the rest of the game couldn’t keep up with the game’s fantastic environments. The car models don’t seem realistic enough, and just looks a little awkward. I also felt as though that the developers didn’t add a whole lot of detail to them either. I also should mention that although you don’t see a lot of character models, when you do they are just absolutely horrific. I would have liked to see more done in the visual category, but it still manages to be a good looking game.
One of the great things about Test Drive Unlimited is that it really is a different racing experience from what we are used to. The game manages to bring an online based racing game to the masses and makes it work really well. I have played this game for hours and for the most part no matter when I am on, I am finding good online races to compete in. And if not, the offline racing is still good enough to fill the void. This is one of those games that is not , and in my opinion makes it even more enjoyable.
I really do hope that the developers work on another Test Drive game as Test Drive Unlimited is just a great online racing experience. And to match this great experience you get a next generation "budget title" price of $39.99, which makes this game an even more enticing game to pick up. I would highly recommend anyone who enjoys racing games to think about picking this game up as it has just huge replay value. Although it’s not perfect, offers a great racing experience.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.