Don't let the fast cars and flashy effects fool you - Test Drive Unlimited is more of a leisurely, luxury cruising game than a piston-pounding racing title. Rather than tossing you into a regimented series of racing circuits, TDU sets you free to roam through the island of Oahu unlocking new roads, accepting challenges (such as delivering passengers to destinations around the island) and entering competitions at your whim. Think of the open-ended driving as a sort of tropical Grand Theft Auto, without the naughty sex and violence.
Test Drive Unlimited offers players a huge, living world with thousands of miles of roads and hundreds of other real drivers. As a far as racing games go, TDU's online sandbox-style gameplay is a first (dubbed a Massively Open Online Racing game). At any point, drive to a location on the map and hook up with other live players. If you're not in the mood, drive on your merry way in single-player stuff. With a few technical exceptions, there isn't much you can't see or do on Oahu - from simple sightseeing to competitive races and buying and selling cars to other players, everything happens at your own pace.
TDU does a great job of creating a believable and immersive world. The island of Oahu and the individual cars are represented with amazing detail and accuracy, and make for some sweet eye candy (playing on an HDTV will make a difference). The ho-hum soundtrack leaves a something to be desired, but the screeching and roaring sound effects let you know the rubber's on the road.