Flashy sports cars, thousands of miles of beautiful roadway, seamless online play - the preview version of Test Drive Unlimited seems to have everything we'd want in a racing game, with one exception: Where's the excitement?
Maybe it comes when you meet up with other people online. That's TDU 's true purpose - using the Internet to create car clubs and a dynamic racing environment where anybody can race anybody else at any given time. But with only about 60% of Xbox 360 owners jacked in to Live, nearly half the players will wind up driving solo. In our single-player game, the Hawaiian island of Oahu felt sterile and lifeless. The cars you drive don't take damage, which isn't unexpected but still makes things feel inconsequential. When we rammed a bunch of computer-controlled cars to rile the cops, they did next to nothing. We didn't see a cruiser anywhere near, but after about 10 "accidents," a message merely popped up on the screen to tell us that we'd been fined $11,000. We thought we'd at least buy a high-speed chase for that.
Roads seem oddly empty; maybe that's accurate to Oahu traffic patterns, but it's not stimulating as a game experience. The car's stereo is turned down by default, which makes for a creepy, quiet experience (hit left on the directional-pad - of course! - to activate it and crank the tunes). The female GPS announcer is supposed to be soothing, but sounds politely comatose to us. Isn't anybody excited to be shattering the speed limit?
Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.