Friday 9 June 2006
We've all heard of MMORPG's, surely, but Test Drive Unlimited is a new breed of hugely multiplayer game - the MOOR, or Massively Open Online Racing game. It spans over 1,000 miles of road on the real-world Hawaiian island of Oahu, meticulously replicated in-game, and enables thousands of players to tear around the gorgeous environment at the same time.
Test Drive Unlimited is massively ambitious, although the actual business of a structured race is limited to eight players. Players can meet up in clubs or coffee houses in the open-ended world and arrange races; setting start and finish points as well as possible handicaps to create a level playing field.
Even so, it's not simply the scale of Test Drive's gameplay that's impressive. Each of the achingly expensive, officially licensed supercars in the game is accurately detailed from the official tint of paint right down to the criss-cross pattern of leather on the dash.
While inside the car, you can pan your view around and even flick on the radio for some music or roll the windows down to get the full effect of your vehicle's engine growl. There's a whole line-up of real-world motorbikes to ride out on, too.
The visuals are exquisite; the cars really come to life in high definition, and being able to explore them from every angle before sitting inside an animated, feature-laden interior feels so exciting that it must be illegal somewhere. And all this is before you've even started the engine and got out on the road. Once you're racing the sensation of speed is fantastic, as is the gigantic draw distance.